One of the best places in the UK, in my opinion, for day drinking with great food, is Manchester. After living in the very centre for so many years, I really never took advantage of doing it enough. I jumped at the chance to collaborate with hotels.com and just enjoy some time in the city for a Saturday. The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views and recommendations in this post are my own. Curt and I wanted a relaxed day of drinking and eating in Manchester so I looked for a few places online.
We’ll often head into Manchester for the day before a gig and will get some grub in the Northern Quarter. We’ve got a few favourite taprooms and pubs in the centre that we go to as well. We’re normally rushed for time and just head to where we know. Before going, I had a look for some new places to try considering we had no agenda and nowhere to be. Often, we’ll stay over in a hotel or a serviced apartment in Manchester but because we weren’t watching a band, we decided to catch the last trains back to Wrexham.
Instead of heading straight to our usuals, we tried out Brewski Bar on Mosley Street. I’d looked at the food a fair bit online and it serves North American cusine. Think Canadian poutine, burgers and tacos. The restaurant itself was bright with a big bear at the entrance and some branches/trees towards the ceiling giving it that ‘outside-in’ feeling.
The food was delicious and pretty reasonably priced for the portions. I had the Texas burger – a double patty, pulled pork, chorizo and lashings of bbq sauce. It was topped with some salt and vinegar crisps too which added a nice crunch. I had a side of the standard poutine which is similar to cheesy chips with gravy but so much better. Curt had a Buffalo Chicken burger which also looked delicious.
The Northern Quarter
Our number one pre-gig venue in Manchester absolutely has to be Jimmy’s on the edge of the Northern Quarter. If you’re looking for a bar with a rock vibe, Vegas aesthetic, great drinks and bar staff that are well and truly passionate, then head here. One of the best pints I’ve ever had was in here. The Honeycomb Pale Ale that’s a collab between Jimmy’s and Seven Bro7hers Brewery is my favourite. I could literally drink this stuff all day and is a perfect blend of flavours for me. It’s on the sweet side so when you switch to a normal beer, you can really taste the malt more! Cocktails always look amazing in here too and they have previously done specials themed on gigs in the area. There were a lot of Steel Panther-inspired names when we’ve visited before.
For the next part of our day, we decided to wing it a little before heading off for dinner. There’s an unbelievable amount of choice in the Northern Quarter for a relaxed day of drinking and eating. For the rest of our pints, we headed to Port Street Beer House, Gullivers and finished up in Night and Day Cafe.
Port Street Beer House was incredibly hipster with a massive range of ales, lagers, stouts, cider and more on tap. They also had a price to match which we realised when paying; two pints cost us a whopping £13.80! Great beer, nice atmosphere and outside area, but Jesus it was pricey and busy.
Next up was a little pub called Gullivers on Oldham Street. It was incredibly quiet and only has three or four booths and a couple of tables in the front area. The back was being set up for a band which must be bigger. It was also refreshing to only pay just over £7 for two pints in the heart of the city centre.
Finally, before moving on for food, we went to a must-visit bar in Manchester called Night and Day Cafe. I’d been maybe once or twice for gigs but never really considered it as somewhere to go with Curt. There’s a lot of live music events there which is great and they also do some decent food.
When I lived in Manchester, there was only a small portion of this area open. Now there has been a big development with loads of bars and eateries. We were initially going to head to Bunny Jacksons as it had wings and looked similar to Jimmy’s. When we got there, it was a lot bigger than we thought and full of students rather than rockers. We weren’t really in the mood for that kind of atmosphere so headed out and looked nearby.
We came across The Gas Works Brew Bar which was really casual and filled with a mixture of people. There were lots of booths and good music playing so we grabbed a menu and sat down. Starving, we ordered about three side plates to share and some chicken wings with chips each. Our eyes we definitely bigger than our bellies and we left quite a bit. The beer was great in here too. There was such a massive selection and they also have their own brewery so you know it’s going to be good. Out of all the new places we tried, this was the best for both a relaxed day of drinking and eating in Manchester. I only wish Jimmy’s sold food!
This wasn’t an intensive guide but it was more to show you that the new places Curt and I tried. The city is huge so there are lots of places to spend a relaxed day of drinking and eating in Manchester. Jimmy’s is definitely my favourite bar for before a gig. I loved the Brewski Bar and The Gas Works food though. If only they could merge!