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Travel guides

Manchester

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Claire Turner
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Dave Draws
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Kit McAvoy
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Niall Harley

I’m Mancunian, born and bred. Apart from short stays in London and NYC, I’ve called this city home for my whole life. In the past, Manchester has felt like a grey city, with not much going on. But in the past year, the city has experienced a renaissance, and hasn’t looked back. I own two businesses here - Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club in the Northern Quarter, and Comme Ca Art Dealers in Ancoats. I work, live, sleep, and eat between the two, and love being able to jump on my bike or walk to and from work - the city is so interconnected and easy to explore.

From it’s world-renowned music scene, to a wealth of sporting heroes, there’s so much to be excited about in Manchester. I’ve picked out my favourite spots in the city, for a jam-packed day of exploration, eating, and entertainment.

‘The City has experienced a renaissance, and hasn’t looked back’

Start the day with the best brunch in the city at Federal Cafe Bar on Nicholas Croft - the perfect way to fuel your wanders. The city centre is quite small, so you can hop from one neighbourhood to another with ease. And everywhere you step, elegant architecture lines the streets. Princess Street is packed with faded grandeur, and the Central Library and Town Hall are breath-stealing.

Long lunches are best enjoyed at Mackie Mayor on Eagle Street, before catching a matinee at The Royal Exchange or the Palace Theatre. From mind-bending ballet, to forward-thinking theatre, there’s always something on to enjoy.

‘...you can hop from one neighbourhood to another with ease’

Cicchetti off King Street is my favourite haunt for meeting friends, and sharing Italian tapas over a bottle of wine. The Hawksmoor on Deansgate is also worth a mention. Although best-known for steaks, they can cook fish to perfection too - and don’t leave without trying their mac and cheese!

For post-dinner dancing, and some of the best jazz around, I (obviously) love Matt & Phred’s Jazz Club - I can plug my own Jazz Club, right?! A neighbourhood favourite, we have live music six nights a week and visitors from around the globe - expect an audience from the Northern Quarter, Norway, and even New Zealand. Then, end your evening savouring the Salford sunset from the Comme Ca Art Gallery balcony.

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Although I’ve only lived in Manchester since 2014, the city has been through a whirlwind of changes in those years. From shiny new cafes and pop-up art galleries, to the booming brew taps on the outskirts of the city, it seems like there’s always something new on every corner. There’s a proud community spirit that runs through the spirit, supporting both the old classics that put Manchester on the map - music and football - but also these inspiring initiatives that are bringing an artistic edge to the city.

‘...it seems like there’s always something new on every corner’

It’s so easy to dive in and discover the city, so I’ve found my go-to spots, that show off Manchester as the up-and-coming cultural destination it is.

Federal Cafe Bar serves up everything from banana bread to benedicts, and is a tasty breakfast spot for pre-sightseeing wanders. On sunny days, there’s no better spot than the Fletcher MossBotanical Gardens, or while away rainy days at Junkyard Golf.

For lunch, I love Home Sweet Home, which is only a stone’s throw from the famous Afflecks Arcade. Then spend an afternoon spent wandering, soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of the city. Every way you look, there is architecture to inspire - from the Town Hall, to the Midland Hotel, to cosy hidden side streets. Or, linger and lounge at Ancoats General Store. Sip on perfectly crafted coffee, get stuck in to a board game, and savour the creativity & culture of the city.

‘Then spend an afternoon spent wandering, soaking up the sights, sounds, and smells of the city’

Dine fine at Australasia, or go under the radar at Umesuzhi on Mirabel street - only a stone’s throw from my studio. The plethora of bars and pubs in the Northern Quarter guarantee a good time, then finish your night with more drinks and dancing, at Hidden.

As seven brothers, we’ve been in Manchester a long time - some of us for 48 years! The city is full of cosmopolitan flavour, with so much to do, see, and smell at your toe tips. And with nothing more than a hop, skip, and a step away, it’s easy to get a taste for the city, and all the friendly faces that call it home.

‘And with nothing more than a hop, skip, and a step away, it’s easy to get a taste for the city…’

Our Manchester morning begins at the Teacup Kitchen, or with breakfast bites at Seven Bro7hers Beerhouse - followed by a brewery tour, sampling some of the best ales in Ancoats.

Then step out and explore, soaking up the rock ‘n’ roll history that keeps people flocking to our rainy city. Fuel up at Changos Burrito Bar on Church Street, before catching a show at one Manchester’s many theatres, or watching the city idle by in a Northern Quarter cafe.

‘...or for something a little closer to home, First Street is fast becoming a brilliant night out’

We love the sophisticated Spinningfields for pre-dinner drinks, and Bosu Body Bar for on-the-go grub, before visiting every bar in the bohemian Northern Quarter. End your night at Matt and Phred’s Jazz Bar, or for something a little closer to home, First Street is fast becoming a brilliant night out.

I was born and raised in Manchester (bar a hop over to Sydney) and I’ve seen it transform in to a cultural powerhouse, with both the BBC and Media City finding their place in the city. Despite this growth, it’s always remained a hub of community and collaboration, full of people doing, making, and creating. Places like Ancoats General Store, where I work, are integral to this - helping young, talented people realise their visions every day.

‘Despite this growth, it’s always remained a hub of community and collaboration, full of people doing, making, and creating’

Whether you’re here for work or play, you won’t be alone for long in Manchester - the city is full of friendly faces and we always have time to party. I’ve found my favourite spots to really discover the city and its one-of-a-kind culture, from hole in the wall joints to the places that put Manchester on the map.

Start with breakfast at Ancoats Coffee or Koffee Pot, both brewing some of the best beans in the city. Then soak up the architectural excellence on every corner. I love the London Road Fire Station, and the grand buildings from the Industrial Revolution.

‘Whether you’re here for work or play, you won’t be alone for long in Manchester - the city is full of friendly faces and we always have time to party’

The city is full of authentic eats, so let your taste buds do the hard work and fill up on world class cuisine, before a day spent exploring. I love Rads in Ancoats, for home-cooked Carribbean delights. For football fans, head to Old Trafford for an afternoon of unparalleled atmosphere. Or, linger and lounge at the Ancoats marina, the perfect spot for a summertime barbeque. Watch the barges ebb and flow, and savour the peace and quiet in the heart of this non-stop city.

My favourite dining spots are Bar San Juan, Sanskruti, and El Gato Negro, each serving up eclectic cuisine & even better atmosphere. Keep your evening kicking at The Castle, a cornerstone of Manchester’s musical history, then head to Night&Day to shimmy the night away.