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14th May 2024

Another tequila bar lands in Manchester, as Casa Pomelo opens its doors in Freight Island

Casa Pomelo delivers an array of tequila-based cocktails, with George Clooney’s ‘Casamigos’ as the main ingredient
Another tequila bar lands in Manchester, as Casa Pomelo opens its doors in Freight Island
Photo: Jasminder Philora @The Mancunion

It’s no question that tequila has become a bit of a trend over the past few years, and with bars across Manchester cashing in on its popularity, Casa Pomelo is Freight Island’s newest addition. Spotlighting George Clooney’s tequila brand ‘Casamigos’, Casa Pomelo boasts a sizable selection of cocktails, and an opportunity to sample the brand’s range of tequila and mezcal, with a unique focus on the paloma. 

Entering Freight Island, you’re met with an abundance of street food style vendors that have really harnessed that gentrified industrial vibe, so walking into the fairy light-encrusted, dimly lit Casa Pomelo felt like stepping into quite a different atmosphere. Its aquamarine neon lights and carefully displayed ‘Casamigos’ bottles certainly made for Instagrammable goodness, if that’s what you’re after, bringing the worry of ‘style over substance’ to mind. 

Photo: Jasminder Philora @The Mancunion

Of course, a bar’s look is not the main event, and its cocktail menu did serve up a great variety of options. Naturally, we were presented with a host of tequila-based cocktails to try, with the ‘raspberry paloma’ and ‘mezcal paloma’ both proving to be innovative takes on the grapefruit-centred classic. As a big fan of a regular paloma myself, I was thrilled to try these iterations of a fresh and fruity favourite, and admittedly, it is a bold move to open a tequila bar that doesn’t spend all its time on the much-loved margarita. 

Photo: Jasminder Philora @The Mancunion

The two Palomas were both crafted beautifully, with both cocktails inviting uncommon but very welcome flavour combinations. The ‘raspberry paloma’ felt like the punchier cousin of a raspberry mojito, with grapefruit providing a familiar citric base, and a careful mint garnish topping it off. The use of reposado tequila provided sweetness, so this was overall a light, refreshing cocktail, perfect for summer nights or for those who prefer a subtle flavour.

The ‘mezcal paloma’ was also a hit. The smokiness of Casamigos’ mezcal paired perfectly with Aperol, grapefruit and lemon’s acidity, with agave giving the cocktail a needed touch of sweetness, to calm the intensity of flavours going on. This cocktail felt the furthest from the quintessential Paloma, with the mezcal’s smoky undertones cutting through and stealing the show, certainly unlike cocktails I’ve tried in other tequila bars.

Photo: Jasminder Philora @The Mancunion

Here, the bartenders’ knowledge really shone through. They were able to explain to us how the different tequilas were prepared and how that influenced their tastes. We definitely felt that our drinks were in good hands and that there was some exciting creativity going on behind the bar.  

Of course, I couldn’t visit a tequila bar without sampling the margarita, of which frozen was the only option, but a brilliant one at that. Paired with the frozen strawberry and watermelon paloma, both were again twists on classics, but worked really well, and made for the perfect summer cocktail. These cocktails, in particular, felt like the best example of the paloma outshining a classic, with complementary fruity flavours making for a drink that almost tasted non-alcoholic – dangerous! 

Photo: Jasminder Philora @The Mancunion

Before we left, we decided to make the most of our evening at Casa Pomelo, and order two tequila-free tipples to see whether they were just as good. In this endeavour, we chose the French martini and (my favourite) the espresso martini. The French martini was fruity and smooth, with hints of vanilla, while the espresso martini balanced the coffee’s bitterness with sweetness really well, with both being perfect ends to a night, proving the versatility that every bar needs. 

Photo: Jasminder Philora @The Mancunion

With the option to try a huge range of cocktails, along with wine and beers, you’ll definitely find something for everyone on Casa Pomelo’s menu, yet I couldn’t shake the feeling that this perhaps wasn’t yet to become a student favourite unless some changes were made. The bar’s location in Freight Island means there needs to be an incentive for all of us ‘brokies’ to venture out for an evening, and with cocktails being the main attraction, yet starting at £10, it doesn’t feel like somewhere that I would return without the safety net of someone else paying.

Speaking to the bartender about this, we got the impression that the bar hopes to introduce some student-budget-friendly deals in the future, so this is definitely a bar to keep an eye on. If you do have the cash, then I would certainly recommend giving it a try!  

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