Cherry Jam, arguably the coolest cocktail bar concept to hit the North West region for a long time, has FINALLY opened its doors after launching during the pandemic – and it’s bigger and better than anyone imagined.
Created by Neil Garner, former Britain’s Got Talent “Bar Wizards” performer and professional bartender to the stars, the new cocktail bar isn’t located in central Manchester, it’s in Garner’s hometown of Stockport.
Cherry Jam is set to add a cool vibe to the town’s burgeoning food and drink scene and is a true labour of love for Garner as he returns home to Stockport after years spent living all over the world and setting up various successful venues in London.
Cherry Jam started off as a cool, boutique cocktail bar concept but, due to the venue next door becoming vacant during lockdown, the bar has extended massively since its original planned launch date and now boasts 1200 square foot of eccentric, eye-popping décor aimed to create a forget-the-world-outside vibe.
Cherry Jam – which has created an army of social media followers and fans over the last six months due to its make-at-home cocktail kits – offers a fully stocked bar specialising in killer cocktails. The menu includes a selection of signature serves which all give a nod to the great town of Stockport itself. The 192 combines four rums, tropical flavours and is set alight before serving to hit you like a bus! The menu also includes Blossoms – named after the Stockport indie band – a tall drink comprising local Tarsier Gin, lychee liquor and citrus, garnished with cherry blossom – Town Called Malice – The Jam signature serve of gold rum, fresh raspberries, raspberry liquor and topped with fizz, Bees Knees – let me Bee your fantasy with Stockport gin, citrus, honey liquor and local honey syrup, and Queens of Cale Green – a cocktail dedicated to our Queens – Mums and Grans – with Green Chartreuse and citrus with a bramble topping.
Other key serves will include frozen margaritas, tiki tropical cocktails, summer punches and incredible craft beers in pretty cans; a collection of drinks and flavours from Neil’s travels around the world. The bar back is also stocked with home-grown and home-foraged gin infusions created by the talented team at Cherry Jam – with the rhubarb and ginger variety a must-try.
Excitingly, the venue will also be offering a bottomless brunch at weekends. Guests will receive a Breakfast Bramble welcome cocktail, amazing food and bottomless prosecco for 90 minutes for £25 per head.
Of course, Cherry Jam is all about the vibe and the music, with pop, disco, soul, funk and everything in-between playing, awesome vibes and a big heart for the 90s. With graffiti art walls, disco balls, street art and neons, there are plenty of Insta-opps for the social crowd. Split into two key areas, Bar Cherry is open to the public while The Jam is also available for private hire parties of up to 30 guests.
Stockport born and bred, Neil Garner started his started his career collecting glasses in Grand Central bar in 1996. Throughout his colourful a career, Garner has competed in competitions as a professional flair bartender, was once crowned World Bartending Champion, has been a performer in Las Vegas and has worked in over 100 countries worldwide, training thousands of bartenders.
Garner then started his very own cocktail company – the Bar Wizards – who were runners-up on the first series of Britain’s Got Talent. The Bar Wizards have performed for and served HRH Her Majesty the Queen and A-list celebrity clients, including the Beckhams, Simon Cowell and Sting.
Neil says: “I’ve been coming to Stockport market for as long as I can remember. I used to love coming down every Saturday with my Mum, who sadly isn’t with us anymore. In fact, Cherry Jam’s venue itself was once a software superstore, where I spent many a Saturday afternoonwith my brother looking through video games for my Amiga! I loved the hustle and bustle and always thought it was a special place with loads of personality. There’s so much positive change afoot, and real energy in the air. It’s great to be a part of it.
“Cherry Jam was born out of lockdown and was pretty much paid for from the money made on our lockdown cocktail delivery service, which we introduced quickly when we had to pivot to survive. As time has drawn on in lockdown, we have had some further investments into the venue, but we have – incredibly – managed to fit both venues out for around £60k. We have used brains over budget and upcycled whatever was left behind from the previous tenants. We poured our heart and soul into the build – with our partners, family and the wider community all working so hard to get the bar launched. I am so thankful to all of them and I am hoping that the blood, sweat and tears shows.
“Stockport has always been in Manchester’s shadow, however with Manchester getting bigger and rents going up, it makes Stockport a natural place for independent bars and restaurants to come and set up. It’s only ten minutes from Manchester, and it has a real personality and vibe of its own. It’s an icon in its own right, and without the constraints of big rents and overheads, it genuinely gives independents a platform to set up and follow their dream and passions. I want to take the very best of what I’ve learnt in over 100 countries around the world, and bring it home in Cherry Jam.”
Cherry Jam’s team of highly trained bar staff – including bar manager Chris Baines, who has created the “Stockport’s Own” section of the cocktail menu – plus highly skilled bartenders and apprentice cocktail wizards will be headed up by Neil and his partner, who met while working at Grand Central Bar in the late 90s.