Friday, 24 June 2016

Travel | Best areas to Hang out in Manchester, England

As you know, Fikki and I have lived in Manchester since 2008. We arrived here in September of that year for university and have not left the city since then (With the exception of my current trip to Lagos). Our adopted city has undergone a huge transformation from a a standard northern city to one which can compete with London on a global scale. The Manchester we know in 2015 as it is was definitely not the Manchester we came to as young students. The explosion of several areas in the city with booming restaurants, thriving bars and a very young population has seen the city become an English paradise.

What drew us to the city was its vibrance even at a time when it was still in the early stages of boom. The city was growing and it was a honour to experience and be part of that growth. Being here for nearly 8 years, we both have experienced all. We know our favourite parts of the city, the best bars and restaurants, the cheapest dives, best places to shop and all the back streets when Market Street becomes a no go area. So, we thought it would be nice to put together a list of four areas that are essential to any visit to central Manchester.


The area was set up as a district for banks, retail and offices. At one point it was virtually a ghost town and not thriving but is now known for its abundance of nice bars and restaurants and very popular amongst locals. With about 30 restaurants and bars in the area alone, there is plenty to take a pick from. Although there are some stores like Armani and Mulberry, it is not the best district for shopping in Manchester.

On a nice sunny day, you will find the area packed full of people having dinner, drinks on the lawn or spilling out onto the large outdoor area at the Oast House. Start off your evening with dinner at Australasia, Tattu or Manchester House for a high end fine dining experience or at Artisan, Neighbourhood or the Alchemist for a fun and very lively dinner. Further down, the newly opened Kitchens Left Bank area of Spinningfields plays host to street food traders such as Chaat Cart, Dim Sum Su and the very funny, Hip Hop Chip Shop.

Beautiful setting at Tattu

Dinner with friends at Neighbourhood. Their glass tables are beautiful.

Stay on at the Alchemist to enjoy the mixologists put on a show as they make the many amazing cocktails on their menu or head to Neighbourhood for a dance to the chart hits. There are also a host of events on throughout the season such as the Manchester Duck Race in March every year and screenings of classic movies on the lawn throughout the summer. Back in 2013, Vogue's Fashion Night Out moved up to Manchester for a year with Spiningfields playing a major role in the proceedings.

Cocktails at the Alchemist 


An ever ready presence of Manchester, the Northern Quarter is your fun, quirky and hipster end with handle bar moustaches, artisan food, craft beer, street art and alcohol served in jars. It is very easy to spend a day wandering in and out of the many independent stores and finding some great treasures. There is an abundance of restaurants in the area, the most popular being Solita and Almost Famous, known for their large burgers and American style cuisine. 

Home Sweet Home

Sweet tooth at the Sugar Junction 

Close to that, try out Home Sweet Home, North Tea Power or Teacup Kitchen for the best brunch you will ever have. All those places have a long waiting list so turn up, reserve a table and go have a drink elsewhere while you wait. If American style cuisine is not your thing, check out the newly opened Evelyn's Cafe for the health conscious cuisine or the amazing Ning Restaurant, a Malaysian restaurant located on Oldham Street and a favourite with many.  

At night, the area comes to life as revellers pack themselves into the any clubs and bars located there. For pre drinks, check out Dry Bar which has decent prices and great for large groups. Twenty Twenty Two is an underground bar with ping pong tables for you to release your competitiveness whilst you drink and at Port Street Beer House you can try the astonishing amount of craft beer and real ale. Most places have space for a dance but if you are really up for it go to Soup Kitchen for house and alternative music,  or for pop/r&b head to Guilty By Association.  For an even crazier night, head down to El Capo and knock back the crazy variations of Tequila and Mexican beer they serve!


For years, this area of the town was a waste land of nothingness. It was always wondered what developers or the council would do with it and how to make it nice for the Mancunians. Located directly across from Deansgate Locks and the Hacienda apartments, it seems like it has been modelled on Spinningfields with the mix of office complex, shops and restaurants. The area is slowly deveoping and it is hoped that soon, it will be like Spinningfields. Visit HOME for an alternative theatre trip and have lunch/dinner at their restaurant which is modern and light with a simple menu. 

This is such a beautiful area of Manchester where you can take in the beauty of the Industrial age of Manchester with its canals, warehouses and bridges. Take a walk arond the canals and stop by the pubs on the banks for a drink. For a lovely dinner, take a visit to Albert's Shed, our favourite restaurant in Castlefield, which we have featured on our blog. The food is so yummy and extremely affordable, especially their Sunday lunch roast deal. Sharing a garden with Dukes 92 bar next door, it is usually gets so packed on a weekend as there is live music or whenever there is a match on so get down early.

For reviews of restaurants around Manchester, check out some of our previous posts
Evelyn's Cafe
Ning Restaurant
Albert's Shed
Bella Italia Manchester
Mr Cooper's House and Garden
Marriott Hotel and Country Club

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1 comment

  1. I love Manchester. Not been to Tattu yet but its on my list of places to visit in MCR.x


Thanks for all your lovely comments! - Fikki and Lola xx

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