15 Hidden Gems in Manchester

If a bear craps in the woods with nobody around, did it happen? If the pope cuts down a tree on his balcony, is he a Catholic? If you tell everyone about a hidden ‘gem’ is it still even hidden anymore? I dunno, let’s see…

 

17 Below
This fantastic 80’s themed cocktail bar features genuine (and free) arcade machines and a couple of brilliant pool tables. Not only are the cocktails fantastic, but the tunes are brilliant too. To say that it is hidden can be a bit of an understatement – Indiana Jones himself would probably have trouble finding the place – even with an annoying little Chinese lad to help him. Located almost 6 stories underground, 17 Below is accessed through the similarly hidden Dogs n Dough, on Bow Lane just off Cross Street.

17 Below, 17 Bow Ln, Manchester M2 4FW
www.17below.com

 

Umezushi
This tiny little charming restaurant located near the Manchester Arena manages to serve quite possibly the best sushi in the city, as well as provide a true Japanese experience. Part of this experience is down to the fact that the place is so small – seating only around 15 people – making it reminiscent of the tiny noodle places you encounter in Tokyo; a place struggling to fit 38 million people into an area the size of the Midlands. With a daily-changing menu of stunning dishes, Umezushi has gained a reputation as one of the best places to eat in the city and once there – you’ll understand why.

Umezushi, 4 Mirabel St, Manchester M3 1PJ
www.umezushi.co.uk

 

Red Bank Co
Living in the Green Quarter can feel like a very isolated experience at times. Sure there are a shit-load of flats there, but as you’re walking under that dodgy bridge in the pitch black, surrounded by dark running water and rats, you certainly do not feel like you’re 2 minutes’ walk from one of the biggest cities in the country. So like a shining oasis of hope, Red Bank Co has set up shop in one of the railway arches offering a cosy space crammed with a cafe, bar and studio as well as a great selection of craft beers, cocktails and wonderful grub.

Red Bank Co, 22 Red Bank, Manchester M4 4HF
www.redbank.co

 

Corbieres
Pretty much a Manchester institution, with what many would consider to be the best jukebox in the city. Always rammed with blokes with long side burns, parka jackets and a pair of pristine gazelles, you’ll be hard pressed not to find a more clichéd image of what it means to be a Manc on a Saturday afternoon. Located in a manky alleyway just off St. Anne’s Square – if you don’t know where it is just ask the first bloke you see walking like Liam Gallagher after 6 lines and he’ll tell you.

Corbieres, 2 Half Moon Street, Deansgate, Manchester, M2 7PS

 

Twenty Twenty Two
I was once lucky enough to be invited to a fantastic wedding here at Twenty Twenty Two which typically encapsulated everything I love about Manchester, and everything that this unique venue has to offer. It’s an underground den of ping pong, music, beers and creativity – all packaged up within some seriously cool white tiles, industrial pillars and brilliant wall art. There’s ping pong tournaments, Prosecco Wednesdays and fully fledged club nights at the weekends for you to get involved in, oh and you can hire it out for special events and weddings. Just like @manchesterbeeco did.

Twenty Twenty Two, 20 Dale St, Manchester M1 1EZ
www.twentytwentytwo.co.uk

 

This & That
You want rice and curry? Piss off mate. You want rice and two curries? Go home little boy. You want rice and three curries? Come on down to This & That on Soap Street. This fantastic little family run restaurant has managed to resist the pull of the glitz and glamour of the NQ while everyone else around it has crumbled (I’m looking at you Hunters). They’ve been serving authentic, stunning curries here since before Michael Jackson turned white, and with a wide selection each day – it’s still one of the best places to grab a quick, cheap lunch in Manchester.

This & That, 3 Soap St, Manchester M4 1EW
www.thisandthatcafe.co.uk

 

3 Minute Theatre
Affleck’s Palace has always been a hot bed of weird stuff mixed with moth-sodden vintage clothes, and with the introduction of the 3 Minute Theatre Company, things are not going to change very soon. Working closely with Manchester Shakespeare Co and Square Circle Community Theatre, the 3MT gang offer an absolutely mental programme of theatre, magic, improv and poetry which will satisfy even the most dedicated culture-vultures out there. Check out their Twitter for more details on what’s coming up, and good luck in finding them!

3 Minute Theatre, Afflecks Arcade, 35-39 Oldham Street, Manchester, M1 1JG
www.threeminutetheatre.co.uk

 

The White Hotel
Just near Strangeways, someone has gone all Champagne Steam Rooms and opened up a club in an old warehouse unit in a dirty little industrial estate. Luckily for us though, it’s brilliant – offering a wide range of club nights that your mam and dad would tut loudly at as they walked past with the dog at 6am. There’s a massive calendar of nights coming up – most of which I don’t understand a word of – but if you’re cool, wear bright baseball caps and like the sound of robots having frantic sex – then you’ll know what the vibe is. Check out Skiddle for listings.

The White Hotel, Unit 3 Dickinson Street Salford M3 7LW


Siam Smiles
I’ve never understood why people would eat in a supermarket cafe. Are people so ravenous and fat that they have to stop actually buying food in order to eat it? They always seem to me to be just like school canteens too – with those horrible plastic trays and a tattooed woman called Shirley slopping mash onto your plate. Happily this is definitely not the case with Siam Smiles in China Town. Located within the Siam Supermarket, this cafe-cum-kiosk offers a selection of truly delicious and authentic Thai dishes at very reasonable Thai prices. My mate Steven swears by this place, and considering he is fussier than a lactose intolerant 7 year old – it’s undeniably a winner.

Siam Smiles, 48A George St, City Centre, Manchester M1 4HF
www.facebook.com/SiamSmilesCafe/

 

The Temple
Walking down Oxford Road it’s easy to miss The Temple amongst all of the supermarkets and chain restaurants. It’s there though, right opposite the 23rd Tesco Express to open in Manchester this year, and it’s a brilliant little boozer with an atmosphere unmatched anywhere else in the city. Located in a tiny public toilet, The Temple forces you to actually converse with other human beings while enjoying the brilliant jukebox and massive range of beers they have. It’s an excellent place to booze away these cold winter nights and quite frankly, a Manchester institution.

The Temple, 100 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JW

 

Alif Grill
There’s so many stories in the news nowadays that paint the Middle East in a negative light that I have just stopped watching it altogether. If I never see Huw Edwards or Zeinab Badawi again in my life it will be too soon. The thing everyone seems to be forgetting is that the Middle East has provided the world with so many good things, one of which is obviously food. Alif Grill on Cheetham Hill Road offers a truly staggering menu of amazing Middle East and Mediterranean dishes including Falafel naans, shish kebabs and enough Halloumi to make your bones squeak. All freshly prepared, it’s probably the best take away joint in Manchester in my humble opinion, and if you don’t believe me – I don’t care – means there will be less of a queue for me.

Alif Grill, Cheetham Hill Rd, Manchester M8 8PY
www.alifgrill.com/

 

Pollen Bakery
There’s been a lot of buzz recently over Pollen Bakery, and it’s all because of a little thing called a Cruffin. Jumping on the bandwagon of combining foods (see Cronut and Duffins), the cruffin is obviously a croissant that’s had sex with a a muffin to create what is described as “delicious” by some and “dangerous” by diabetes sufferers. Expect queues outside Pollen, which is hidden on Sheffield St round the back of Piccadilly train station. I’m off to think of my own hybrid food now – let me see…how about the Sausage Poll (succulent sausage meat wrapped in a lovely pizza)? Could work.

Pollen Bakery, 2 Sheffield St, Manchester M1 2ND
http://pollenbakery.com

 

Rudy’s Pizza
It seems that the whole world is trying to proclaim Ancoats as the new Northern Quarter. Although this may seem like an exaggeration perpetrated by the people who own flats there, it does appear to have had a major boost in recent years with some fantastic additions to its food and drink establishments. One such place is Rudy’s Pizza. Tucked away amongst the brown sites and apartment blocks is this ace pizza joint offering authentic Neapolitan pizzas topped with quality ingredients (mostly from Italy). Basically it does fit pizzas and plenty of booze – there’s nothing else to say on the matter.

Rudy’s Pizza, 9 Cotton Street, Ancoats, M4 5BF
www.rudyspizza.co.uk

 

The Eagle Inn
Not to be confused with Eagle Bar in the village, the Eagle Inn on Collier Street, is a proper boozer with a great atmosphere, friendly smiles and a ton of booze. Owned by the same folk who run Gulliver’s and the Castle on Oldham Street, the Eagle has a wide range of live music on their books too. It’s proper in the middle of nowhere this one but once you’ve found it and you’re in – there’s not many reasons to leave.

The Eagle Inn, 19 Collier St, Greengate, Salford M3 7DW
www.eagleinn.info

 

Wood & Company
Ever since the Yanks decided that booze was bad for you people have been hiding their bars. More recently there was a massive trend of bringing these ‘speakeasies’ back with places designing themselves as laundrettes, barbers and even abattoirs (I may have made that last one up). Never far from a fad, Manchester has had its fair share of speakeasies in the past, with Washhouse and Cain & Grain’s upstairs bar coming to mind. Well there’s now another one. Wood & Company has decided to hide behind a goods entrance – but once you’re in you’ll find yourself in a tile and wood decked bar offering a wide range of beers, wines and cocktails. Check it out, and try to make sure you get the right place; nobody wants to be walking around the back of a Greggs loading bay while trying to buy a gin and tonic.

Wood & Company, 39 S King St, Manchester M2 6DE

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