Including bowling, axe throwing, kebabs, tapas, endless wings, lots of rum + more...
A Japanese Kurisumasu Christmas @ Cottonopolis
If you 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 you down, and the Christmas Menu is no different! For £37pp you can enjoy a festive menu with that signature Cottonopolis Japanese twist and if there’s one thing that makes the whole Christmas thing worth it – it’s their Roast Wagyu Beef Sirloin.
Cottonopolis, 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE
0161 236 5144
Bongo’s Bingo and The Beanstalk at Albert Hall
Probably the craziest Christmas Party you could ever have in the city, Bongo’s Bingo are going all out this festive season with their ‘Bongo & The Beanstalk’ shows – of which there are still a couple of dates still available (but probably not for long). As usual you should expect some pretty impressive prizes, cash monies, dancing, singing and of course – lots of Christmas decorations and songs.
Drunk-ish 5 a Side @ Goggle Football
Funny one this because the alternative is to actually get hammered, find a field and a ball and a few mates. But here, it’s all the fun of feeling drunk without the stomping headache the next day. And in actual fact you’re doing a heck of a lot of exercise. Get kitted out in the beer goggles, get your trainers on and try your hardest at a solid game of football. I can guarantee you’ll fall over 10 times.
Go Bowling @ Dog Bowl
Before you get visions of weird smelling Mega Bowl’s and soggy Wimpy 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.
Dog Bowl, Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5WW
0161 228 2888
Have A Taste of the Mediterranean @ La Bandera
Ship yourselves off to the Canary Islands 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.
La Bandera, 2 Ridgefield, Manchester M2 6EQ
0161 833 9019
Go wild with 10p Wings @ Bunny Jackson’s
If you want something better than the bog-standard turkey dinner then you need to get yourself down to Bunny Jackson’s 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 St, 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 of your inter-office relationships more than being locked in a high-stress environment with Kevin from IT for sixty-minutes- trust me!
Breakout, 51 Church St, Manchester M4 1PD
0161 839 8012
Go Meat Mad at Cane & Grain
Sure, the humble Turkey Dinner is a favourite amongst many, but if you want something truly different then get yourself down to Cane & Grain this Christmas and tuck into some proper BBQ dishes. There’s BBQ smothered Baby Back Ribs, there’s Beef Brisket Burnt Ends, there’s Pork Belly Squares, there’s Maple glazed Pigs in Blankets, there’s even Smoked Turkey and Cranberry Sliders. Perfect for anyone looking for a delicious and messy alternative to the usual Christmas dinner offerings.
Cane & Grain, 49 -51 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
0161 839 7033
Lightopia at Heaton Park
A quick look at the image above will tell you most of what you need to know about Lightopia in Heaton Park. It’s lights innit. Set to be Europe’s largest lantern and light festival, Lightopia will feature 6 interactive light installations – each one with its own theme. There’ll also be live entertainment from local musicians, acrobats and even rides – all to be enjoyed alongside food and drinks vendors.
Okay so this isn’t that ‘alternative’ but it’s still a lot different than a sit-down meal of Turkey and Christmas Pudding somewhere so it’s here in the list. You should all know what to expect by now from the city’s Christmas Markets; mulled wine, cheese samples, big sausages, ice cold beers, coconut macaroons, Yorkshire pudding wraps, cold hands, puppets for sale and plenty more. Give your party a £20 note each and let them run wild for a bit.
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 jumpers et al – but I am not into it one little bit. So, when it comes to a 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 is The Liars Club. Done.
The Liars Club, 19A Back Bridge St, Manchester M3 2PB
0161 834 5111
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 – but don’t get too competitive, spit your dummy out and run home. That’s very unbecoming.
The Range, New Ct St, Manchester M3 3AN
0161 989 7050
A Sushi Christmas at Dive NQ
Now you probably wouldn’t believe this but Dive in the Northern Quarter now have an Asian Street Food menu which features an impressive array of sushi, bao buns, nakitori and all sorts of Asian treats. And guess what – it’s actually really, really nice too. That’s because the kitchen is now headed up by Wilmslow favourites Zumu and this Christmas they’re offering up a wide range of sushi options for your Christmas party. It might sound a bit weird but don’t knock it – it’s perfect for anyone sick and tired of the same old Turkey dinners.
Dive NQ, 12 Tib St, Manchester M4 1SH
0161 826 3080
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 – great atmosphere, delicious drinks, and plenty of healthy competition!
Twenty Twenty Two, 20 Dale St, Manchester M1 1EZ
0161 237 9360
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!
Whistle Punks Urban Axe Throwing, Unit 20, Atrium level, Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN
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 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.
Junkyard Golf Club, 2 First St, Manchester M15 4RP
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.
Zouk, 5, The Quadrangle, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5QS
0161 233 1090
The Crazy Pedro’s Christmas Special – Pie Hard
Okay so this hasn’t been officially announced yet but as someone who has managed to sew themselves into the ‘powers that be’ over at Crazy Pedro’s – I have an insider knowledge of what their Christmas pizza is going to be. It’s called ‘Pie Hard’ and it’s a sweet, mince pie pizza – and it’s proper nice! Pedro’s is the perfect place for any big party – even more so for Christmas – with plenty of booze, loads of slices and some cracking tunes.
55-57 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BQ
Short St, Manchester M1 1JG
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.
The Crystal Maze Studios, Lower Byrom St, Manchester M3 4FP
0161 791 0727
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.
Flight Club, Ship Canal House, 98 King St, Manchester M2 4WU
0161 537 7250
Electrik None Deck with Vicky McClure & Jonny Owen
This is certainly an alternative choice for a Christmas Party. Heading down to Electrik in Chorlton to watch two BAFTA winning legends hit the decks for their regular One Deck Wednesday night. On December 4th both Vicky McClure & Jonny Owen will be hitting up the sound system, playing their personal collection of Northern Soul, Motown, New Wave, Indie and Britpop. What’s better is that it’s also FREE! Yay!
Bounce Around @ Zorb Football
Again, sometimes it’s just best to get competitive. Not only is this dead active meaning you’ll burn off all the calories you consume over the festive period (almost anyway), it’s also horrifically fun. You literally just have to play football, easy right? Wrong. You’re in a massive bubble with no spatial awareness and an added ability to bounce off everything you touch.
Zorb Football, 26 Garfield Ave, Manchester M19 3LF
Become a Cocktail Master @ Revolución de Cuba
One of the best bits about Christmas is all the booze that’s flying around. The only way to make it better is to ensure you can make your favourite cocktail at home, at any time of the day. That’s where Revolución de Cuba comes in. Their tongue and cheek cocktail making lessons are perfect for big groups, to keep everyone not only entertained but with a drink in hand at all times. You can even add on a 2-course Cuban feast too.
Revolución de Cuba, 11 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR
0161 826 8266
Get Speedy @ TeamSport Go Karting
The Christmas Do is the perfect opportunity to let all the frustrations of the year out in a friendly bit of competition. Think of it as a therapeutic way of kick starting the new year, one giant big team of friends. As best you can anyway, eh? Complete laps in as quick as 45 seconds and compete for pole position. What’s more, this is in Manchester Victoria Station, making it perfect for as many bevs as you want immediately after. Or a quick ride home with the kids.
TeamSport Go Karting, Manchester Victoria Station, Hunts Bank, Manchester M3 1AR
Christmas Kebabs at BAB
I don’t think it’s on many people’s lists to have a big, juicy kebab for Christmas dinner, but when it’s a gourmet one from BAB – things are much more interesting. You can guarantee it’s been a terrible Christmas party if you’re scoffing a sweaty Donner Kebab at the end of the night but when you’re tucking into one of BAB’s mega Christmas kebabs – you know it’s been a good one. It comes loaded with Turkey leg shawarma, pickled beetroot, cranberry sauce with a classic bab chilli twist to it, sprouts, pancetta, stuffing dukkah and is finished with an absolute Christmas classic – pigs in blankets!
BAB, 14 Little Lever St, Manchester M1 1HR
0161 806 0813
Beat the Frog @ Frog & Bucket
A remarkably fun evening for anyone with even just a mild sense of humour. Get a drink, get your feet up and get your judging hats on. If you’re lucky enough to be chosen to have the frog card, the fate of the comedian is in your hands. Be kind though – it’s Christmas after all.
Frog and Bucket, 102 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LJ
0161 236 9805
Arcade Games at NQ64
One here that’s completely left-field, why not buy a load of tokens for NQ64, distribute them amongst your team and all go absolutely bonkers playing the best retro arcades and pinball machines in the city? You can drink all manner of 80’s themed cocktails while you’re doing it and maybe even get a Mario Kart competition on the go. For a truly memorable (and different) Christmas Party – this is it!
NQ64, 2 Short St, Manchester M4 1PW