What happens if you don't like turkey dinners and Love Actually? How are we supposed to get through the festive party season at all?
Thing is, we aren’t alone. Manchester is chucked full of Christmas-phobes, so here are a few ideas on how you can enjoy the festive season without a Christmas cracker in sight.
Go Bowling @ Dog Bowl
Before you get visions of weird smelling Mega Bowl’s and soggy Whimpy burgers – let me tell you that Dog Bowl is bowling done right. As soon as you pick up that ball, you will be flooded with childhood nostalgia which reminds you how bloody fun it is to bowl – especially against your colleagues. Throw in some booze and maybe a bit of their very naughty grub (which is fantastically Xmas themed right now too) and you have everything you need for a perfect Christmas do right there.
Have A Taste of the Mediterranean @ La Bandera
Ship yourselves off to the Canary Island this Christmas, and head down to La Bandera for some authentic Spanish flavours and enough tapas to sink The Nina, The Pinta and The Santa Maria. This festive season La Bandera has crafted a selection of beautiful menus to suit every occasion. Whether it is their simple set lunch for £25, the £29 evening tapas menu or the set dinner menu for £35 – they really have all your needs covered, so get yourselves booked in for a night of Christmas celebrations! Oh and we know how stressful it is organising your Christmas party, so bear in mind, that if you book in a large group (let’s say… more than six people), La Bandera will give the organiser a £60 voucher to spend in January!
Go wild with 10p Wings @ Bunny Jackson’s
I’m not really allowed to say this as my job is 75% made up of talking about how good Christmas menus are in December, but the truth is I’m totally bored of them. I want something more than a turkey dinner and paying through the nose for drinks which is why we are heading to Bunny Jacksons this Christmas to enjoy a few tins of Hooch and their delicious 10p wings. I imagine there will be a little beer pong, a bit of pool and maybe some headbanging to their playlist of epic rock tunes- which sounds perfectly un-festive to me.
Bunny Jacksons, 1 Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester M15 4RA
Get Locked in @ Breakout
Breakout Manchester is a fun experience that certainly fits in the category of ‘something a bit different.’ We have two sites here in Manchester which are full of themed escape rooms fitted with various clues and puzzles for you and 2-5 friends to get to the bottom off in just an hour so you can escape. Nothing is going to test the limits if you inter-office relationships more than being locked in a high-stress environment with Kevin from IT for sixty-minutes- trust me!
WIN a Henry Hoover @ Bongo’s Bingo
If the main aim for your work Christmas party is to get absolutely obliterated and potentially go home with a cardboard cut-out of Phillip Schofield, a Henry Hoover and Coco Pops in every one of your orifices – then Bongos Bingo is the place for you. They have a few dates for their ‘winter wonderland’ special on 18th, 19th or 20th December so get yourself some tickets booked and prepare for the utter bingo madness and the headache in the morning.
Tiki and Fire @ The Liars Club
I know that many of you out there are big into the whole Christmas thing. You know, snowy mornings, mulled wine, cosy jumper’s et al – but I am not into it one little bit. So when it comes to my Christmas do I am not disinclined to the idea of shipping myself somewhere hot and sandy, drinking a few rum cocktails, listening to reggae and acting rather un-Christmassy altogether. The best place for this, in my opinion, is The Liars club- hands down who can boast all of the above and more.
The Liars Club, 19A Back Bridge Street, Manchester M3 2PB
Have a Unique Party @ The Imperial War Museum
If you are part of a big company, doing something chilled and quaint isn’t really an option. Sometimes the answer is renting an entire space for your Xmas do – but what if you don’t want to settle for a sweaty upstairs of a pub or depressing event room? Well, that’s where the Imperial War Museum can save the day. Located in Media City, the ultra-modern space can be used to house numerous functions of numerous sizes in the heart of the collection and displays. Certainly edgy and a little bit different, your Christmas do at the Imperial War Museum will be like nothing you’ve ever experienced before.
Indoor Golfing @ The Range
If you are into your golf but live far away from a local course (plus you don’t enjoy the utterly revolting weather we’ve been having) a couple rounds of golf on one of the best courses in the world at The Range might be just the thing for you. Enjoy a swing or two in the stylish comfort of The Range over a few drinks and follow it with the 7-course tasting menu at neighbouring Albatross & Arnold too.
Share & Share Alike @ The Refuge
Are you a big group trying to find somewhere to celebrate this Christmas and you all have different dietary needs? Head to Refuge! Groups of 11+ can dine from their Christmas feasting menu, served in sharing style so get your sleeves up and dig in! It’s no secret that The Refuge is one of the most stunning aesthetically pleasing places to dine in Manchester, and this year they’re catering for everybody. Their Christmas Feast For the Table this year includes many vegan and non-vegan options such as The Christmas ‘Ve’llington, served with Vimto braised red cabbage, and orange glazed carrots, hand-carved Cheshire roast turkey, roast beef, and roast suckling pig. Get yourselves down!
Ping Pong & Arcades @ Twenty Twenty Two
For those of us who are just into something a little more low-key, I highly recommend a visit to Twenty Twenty-Two this Christmas for a fun, relaxed, Christmas party experience. Tucked away in a quiet corner of the NQ you will find this ping-pong hall and bar which is everything you need for a chilled one. Great atmosphere, delicious drinks, and plenty of healthy competition!
Throw some Axes @ Whistle Punks
Throwing an axe against the wall, you say? Well, it doesn’t get more alternative than that. Whistle Punks axe throwing is located in the heart of the Great Northern and is certainly one of those experiences you have to try at least once in your lifetime. The experience will unleash your inner lumberjack and is also a great way to work off any excess resentment or anger before you start the New Year!
Carol Singing Karaoke @ Bar Hutte
Christmas and karaoke go together like New Year and resolutions you aren’t going to stick to. With that in mind, this year you could book yourself a little cabin at Bar Hutte in Spinningfields and join them for one of the many karaoke nights this December. Wrap up warm in your Après-Ski gear, grab yourself a mulled wine and get prepared to murder Whitney Huston’s So Emotional while everyone else laughs. You can always sit back and just leave it to the professions if you like too, but where is the fun in that?
Crazy Golf & Cocktails @ Junkyard Golf Club
Enjoy a bit of crazy golf and booze this Christmas, get excited on three mashed up 9 hole courses, created from pre loved and reclaimed random shizzle. You, your mates, family or colleagues can putt your way through all sorts of bizarre holes; think UV garage, scrapyard slides, circus freaks and jungle bathtubs! Standing in your way throughout are the weirdest and most challenging obstacles you could ever think of. While doing this, you’ll also have access to a wide range of fantastic party cocktails (which you can take on the courses with you), as well as a nice little menu of snacks to keep your energy levels up while navigating a particularly difficult bathtub or 3-wheeled van.
Urban Narnia @ Hatch
Hatch has doubled in size this Christmas, as it transforms into Urban Narnia. Manchester’s award winning pop up retail, food and drink destination on Oxford Road, is all about creative independent businesses who put their heart and soul into their products. Whether its food, drink or retail, the traders at Hatch will give you a unique experience this festive season! Take part in wreath making, enjoy live music, shop till you drop in retailers such as Nordic Muse, grab some unreal grub from traders such as Japanese Junk and Cayuco, and finish it off with a pint from Öl, enjoy their own brews alongside a selection of beers from some of the world’s best breweries.
A Festive Menu with a Twist @ Eat New York
Most places will be knocking out their usual bog standard Christmas offerings, so we wanted to find somewhere that was doing things a little differently – Eat New York’s Bagel Shop has launched a Christmas menu of epic proportions which manages to satisfy our festive cravings in the most creative, modern and trendy way we think we’ve ever seen. They’re doing a starter, a main with a side, a dessert and a drink for £30. In true Eat New York style, the main options are all festive twists on their famous bagels and sandwiches.
Japanese Christmas @ Cottonopolis
Anyone else not understand the big rave about British traditional turkey dinner on Christmas Day, its dry, tasteless and just a worse version of chicken, If you’re like me and fancy something a little different this year, get yourself to Cottonopolis and enjoy Christmas with a Japanese twist! I’ve said this many times before, Cottonopolis is the place to be, It doesn’t matter if it is for after work beers on Friday, Saturday cocktails or their epic bottomless brunch – Cottonopolis never lets me down, so you can imagine my excitement when I found out they were going to launch a Christmas Menu! To start you can enjoy duck bacon with sprout kimchi and plum, for main roasted wagyu topside with Yorkshire pudding, beef gravy and all the trimmings, and to finish it off yuzu and mandarine trifle with chocolate custard. Partnered with of their award-winning cocktails, its the perfect combination to an alternative Christmas.
Fly to Miami @ Rock and Rye
As lovely as getting wrapped up for the Christmas markets, or curling up in front of the fire, sometimes we just want a break from the cold and we have found the perfect spot. Independent King Street cocktail bar, Roc and Rye transforms into an ultra-glam Miami inspired bar this Christmas. The bar is now fully equipped with a nightclub sound system, an interior in multiple shades of HOT pink, neon ceiling lights and Miami themed artwork which will just keep coming until the walls are full. With the refurb just in time for Christmas, Roc and Rye is the place to come and warm up and get your party going into the early hours as if you were partying on Miami Beach, the venue is up for hire this festive season too – so it will make the perfect place for your Christmas do.
Have an Indian Christmas @ Zouk
Zouk love the festive season, their aim is to make Christmas feel fun and festive with minimum effort required from you! Their Christmas decorations are up, and they’re already in the festive spirit. Whatever you’re looking for this Christmas, Zouk has got you covered, whether it is serving up lavish lunches, throwing Christmas parties or hosting their unforgettable Christmas Day banquet, if you love Indian food then you’ll 100% love Christmas at Zouk.
Get Your Game On @ The Crystal Maze
Think you and your family are a strong team that can face any puzzles challenges or mind games, head to Crystal Maze this Christmas where you’ll be put to the test! Everyone’s favourite TV show growing up, located at the old Granada Studios, the Crystal Maze Live Experience offers you the chance to re-live the classic TV show with 4 amazingly designed zones offering 4 types of challenge in which to collect crystals. All of this culminates in the Crystal Dome; your chance to grab and collect little plastic strips of shiny gold – the more strips you get – the higher up the leader board you will be. Simples.
Throw Some Darts @ Flight Club
Fancy getting your game on this Christmas, head to Flight Club, a bar where you can get involved in overweight pub games, social darts. The concept is simple, they’ve taken darts and sexed it up – much like when they put a dress on that Gremlin and made it into a sexy girl one. They have installed a whole host of technology into the game, importantly meaning that you don’t have to do loads of maths anymore. It’s a lot of fun – especially with a big gang of your mates, loads of bevvies and the obligatory massive pizza.