An uber-cool bar inspired by the Berlin cocktail scene is now open in Winckley Street.Advertisement
Lonely People is the new venture for Serena Baxter and Paul Harrison, who together own Room 32 in Guildhall Street.
The pair has teamed up with bartender Kevin Dunlop, who has spent the past 10 years perfecting his mixology skills. As well as working for Living Ventures – owner of leisure brands including The Alchemist – Kevin has worked in Berlin, a city known for its diverse and decadent cocktail scene.
The Lonely People team has capitalised on this experience to create the bar’s ethos of “taking you out of the ordinary and into a world of experimental cocktail making”.
I went along on Friday, the official launch date, to put this claim to the test.
The first impression on stepping out of the bright early evening sunshine into the dark interior of Lonely People is of an extremely stylish space. In the 45-cover bar there’s a variety of spaces designed to encourage people to put down their phones and mix with each other.
Everything is high-spec and finished to perfection, including the hand-picked artwork, subtle yet powerful sound system, beautiful frozen glassware, cleverly hidden bathrooms – and of course the carefully curated, quality spirits that line the bar.
I take a seat at the bar and peruse the cocktail menu while being poured a short glass of water. Designed by Kevin, the menu oozes thoughtfulness, passion and creativity. It’s divided into two parts, Originals and Classics. The Classics include forgotten cocktails that Kevin believes deserve to be revived: Between the Sheets, Bijou, Adonis, Old Cuban and Brandy Crusta.
The Originals section is full of not just original combinations, but also original homemade ingredients. A tomato, basil and apple cider vinegar mixture is used in the tequila-based Matteo Matíus, while mescal is infused with dried porcini mushrooms and served on the rocks to create the rich and smoky Earth to Earth. Kevin has even been experimenting with using locally-foraged ingredients, including daisies picked in Avenham Park.
When I struggle to decide what to try, Kevin suggests I start with the Old English from the Originals side of the menu. It’s a great choice – citrusy and refreshing with cucumber garnish; it tastes like summer in a glass.
Next Kevin makes another gin-based Original cocktail. Flavoured as it is with turmeric and garnished with a single kaffir lime leaf pegged to the side of the glass, the Odisha is not one I would have chosen for myself. I’m so pleased I get to try it, though, because this innovative drink is next-level delicious.
While the cocktail menu will change every few weeks to reflect the seasons, guests are encouraged to make their own requests. You can specify a particular cocktail or simply explain what sort of flavours you enjoy, if you want a long or short drink, etc. and the bartenders will oblige.
I try this out with a request for a cocktail using basil. As luck would have it, Kevin is friends with the very man who invented the Gin Basil Smash, and I’m soon revelling in waves of flavour packed into a small glass containing an impressive looking ice ball. Yes, even the ice – huge chunks straight from the freezer – is top quality at Lonely People.
The cocktails on the menu range from £8 to £11 in price. A little on the pricey side for Preston, but the quality and strength of the drinks mean they are designed to be savoured. Three or four drinks would be more than enough for even the most dedicated drinker. Add to this the excellent service and attention to detail in every aspect of Lonely People, and the cocktails look good value.
After a couple of hours enjoying the whole experience of Lonely People I definitely feel like I have been somewhere extraordinary. That would apply anywhere in the world but even more so here in Preston, where I believe this bar offers something totally unique.
Read more: What’s on in Preston
Lonely People is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6pm to 2am, and Fridays and Saturdays 5pm to 4am.
Will you be trying Lonely People? Let us know in the comments below.