CordAh, Cord. A Northern Quarter institution, one of the first and most well-loved of all the NQ bars, and a place we should all be thankful for having done its bit in putting the area on the map.

Unfortunately, for “institution” you should now read “tired” as no matter how many refurbs they have, Cord simply don’t have an answer to some of the newer kids on the block. Tree trunk tables from the most recent revamp are a nice touch but the whole place is cold, damp (the smell is slightly masked but still hits you, especially in the basement) and crying out for a major overhaul.

The toilets quite frankly are terrible and as you search them out downstairs it feels more like going to an outdoor Victorian latrine than a modern pub convenience.

It’s a shame, because the cocktails, especially the Espresso Martini are very good indeed. For beer drinker though, the reliance on bottles unless you want anything other than Moretti, Brooklyn and Amstel on tap is frustrating.

It’s a pretty relaxed place with a mix of people swinging by, whether it’s a few blokes after a match at the Etihad or a bunch of students hitting happy hour, and the basement if you want to risk it can be hired out for nothing (although surely free hire is something of a standard these days).

Just like Centro before it though, it may take something major to turn Cord back into a force to be reckoned with. For now, it’s reputation as a forefather of the NQ scene is the only thing holding it above water.


Classification: Bar

Food: Bar snacks

Drinks: Cocktails, wine, lager & spirits

Price: ££

Related City Centre establishments: Simple, Wood Wine & Deli

Bongo rating: 4/10