Monday, 11 November 2013

TGI Friday's: Cocktails, Tapas & Art ♥ @TGIFridaysUK

On Wednesday night, I had a text from one of my now best friends Rachael (who I actually met through blogging) asking if I wanted to be her plus one to a bloggers 'Live Art & Cocktails' event the next day at @TGIFridaysUK in Manchester. It was a night to celebrate their new range of cocktails - '100 cocktails as 100 unique works of art' as well as their tapas menu and of course I'm not one to turn down free tasters and, most importantly, free cocktails so I jumped at the chance!

I've only ever been to TGI Friday's once before and although the food was great, I have experienced the place it in a whole different way! We were firstly led upstairs to a bar where we were introduced to the event and were told how "they wanted their attendees to represent the cocktails as pieces of art."

Right from the start, Rachael and I could tell that these bartenders weren't just there to serve people their drinks and that be it.. they all had their own cheeky, fun sides yet were hugely knowledgeable about the drinks they were serving and it was a night that they could share their passion. We learnt very quickly that the bartenders know how to mix around 700 different cocktails.. amazing!

TGI's motto // Complimentary Cocktails Card // Popping Candy Strawberry Margarita

The evening was especially to showcase their newer cocktails inspired by American sweets and desserts: Popping Candy Strawberry Margarita, Passionate Rose and Lemon Meringue Pie. We were each allowed three complimentary cocktails and were also told to challenge the bartenders in our choices.. no mojitos! The first drink we both had was the Popping Candy Strawberry Margarita.. who in their right mind would refuse a drink like a strawberry margarita that included popping candy?! It was delicious and I suggest you all try it! - A winner right from the start! We were then told by people walking round to challenge the bartenders as much as we could and this made me realise how much they really know their stuff. The second and third time we were served drinks, I just mentioned some spirits I liked, and got given the most amazing cocktails! Rachael even saw some chocolate flakes behind the bar and her words were "I want something frozen, fruity, with tequila and a chocolate flake!" Amazingly, our barman @fastraksteve managed to come up with something! 

Popping Candy Strawberry Margarita // Fruity Frozen Cocktails (Can't remember the names!!) // Peach Crush

Throughout the evening, we were being served samples from TGI's new tapas menu alongside the cocktails. I would never have thought to go there for tapas but how wrong I was... the food was amazing and I can't wait to go back! - (It's a shame we had to share the food with other bloggers at the event as I'm sure we could easily have filled ourselves up all evening!!)

In between trying to keep myself from eating all the food, we wandered round the event to visit the artists that were there, each producing their own style of art to represent the three newer drinks on the menu. There was Caroline Dowsett, who painted a portrait inspired by the Passionate Rose drink, Millie Connors who made a lemon meringue pie from felt (of which we could take away packs to make a slice!) Lastly, there was Erin Echo who created illustrated Polaroid portraits for the guests based on their Twitter photos! 

Erin Echo // Caroline Dowsett // Millie Connors

As if that wasn't enough, the hugely talented bartenders from TGI's were also demonstrating their talents to the bloggers. A couple of them spent most of their evening showing off their flair bartending skills, of which Rachael had a go and was actually pretty good! Another of the barmen / waiters, Ron, was a magician.. you can find him on twitter @Ronismagic and he completely and utterly stunned us with his magic! I have never been more amazed by a close up magician before and will be telling everyone I'm photographing weddings for to get in touch with him... I just can't even explain how good he is! - You need to see it for yourselves!! (We even got his autograph for when he becomes famous!)
@RonisMagic magician // Rachael & I being wowed by Ron

I just want to say a huge thanks to all the TGI staff & guests for such an enjoyable evening, but also to everyone who organised it. Most of all thanks to Rachael for asking me to be her plus one! I had such a good evening and what I loved most was the genuine care the bartenders had for their guests, that they just wanted us all to have a good time and I loved that their passion for the cocktail menu utterly shone through!

Rachael & I with our first cocktails

I will certainly be visiting TGI's very soon for some more yummy food and cocktails, what a great place!!

(All photos are my own apart from photo of magician - some photos can be found on my instagram - search georgina_balmer_photography)


  1. Look like you had an amazing evening!Holly x

  2. Ah I love this post! I'm just writing mine up now. Love those photos of me trying the flare - I totally forgot about that (though, I don't know how - I was so embarassed!). I don't think I can top your write up of this event!! X


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