Living and working in the city centre, it’s easy to overlook the outskirts and suburbs of Manchester, which is a shame, because there has been an explosion in recent years of some fantastic shops, bars, restaurants and even clubs that have popped up which many people miss out on.
Sure there’s Chorlton, Didsbury and Altrincham to think about, but edge closer to the centre and you’ve got Hulme, still within walking distance of the city, and packed with some cracking independent businesses and destinations for you to try out.
New development The Aaben has therefore decided to show exactly what you may find on your doorstep in Hulme, an underrated neighbourhood where community spirit and creativity rule.
This cracking independent cafe has been making waves in the area since opening a couple of years ago and keeps going from strength to strength with a basic premise – good quality organic tea and coffee with a side of freshly prepared food and snacks. Located at the MMU Birley campus, their sandwiches are fantastic, and it also doubles up as a rather brilliant bar. With nightly happy hours, live music and events – Grano is a great place to have chill while reading some Jackie Collins or enjoying some banter with your mates.
I’ve walked through Hulme Park a few times, but writing this, there’s plenty I’ve missed. The park was apparently the first major park built in Manchester in over 50 years, so it’s pretty modern and well decked out. There’s a skate park so you can do your grinding, a footy pitch so you can do your dribbling and plenty of room to do some running. As you can see in the video, the park is also littered with art and murals depicting the history of the area, as well as providing some fantastic views of Beetham Tower – perfect for Instagram.
Z Arts Centre
The Zion Arts Centre has been open for absolutely ages and when you check it out it’s clear to see why. The centre acts as a cultural, artistic and welfare hub for most of Hulme, giving residents a place to get involved in the community further. There’s always a packed calendar of things going on, with plenty to keep children and families happy. They also host many theatre productions as well as film clubs and even dance classes.
Hulme Community Garden Centre
Opened in 1999, Hulme Community Garden Centre is a community led inner-city horticultural project aimed at bringing people in the area together through gardening. It’s a fantastic green space, providing people with a place to relax, have a cup of tea and even borrow a book from the book shed. Growing everything using organic methods, the centre is also a great place to pick up some local produce, be it some veggies for dinner or a big flower for your girlfriend because you ran over her mum with your car.
Kim by the Sea
As you can probably see from the video, Kim by the Sea is a rather unusual looking place, located right in the centre of Hulme. With its unassuming interior, once you enter you would be mad not to be impressed with this cafe/bar/venue. Not only do they do a fantastic breakfast – perfect for hangover Saturdays – but they can help that hangover further by serving you with some more booze later on. There’s weekly specials on food, some cracking cakes and it’s generally a great place to just hang around and soak up the Hulme vibes.
Unless you’re a film, cinema or architecture buff, the name ‘The Aaben’ probably won’t mean a lot, if anything, to you. But, from when it opened in 1928 as The York until it closed its doors in 1991, to the residents of Hulme it came to be more than just a cinema, it became a key focus of community life. It stood for the community. Originally, it gave people a reason to get up, go out and meet up with others, to sit down and enjoy the latest Hollywood talkie. The cinema was eventually knocked down in 1993 to make way for new housing as part of Hulme’s ‘City Challenge’ regeneration programme. Just around the corner is One Manchester housing association’s, £23 million ‘Hulme Living’ development project, The Aaben. Properties are now available in The Aaben and all tenancies starting from November will get their first months rent half price!
Visit www.townhouse-lettings.co.uk/aaben/ for more information.