NEW OPENING: Manchester's newest outdoor urban market, Escape to Freight Island

A brand new urban landscape with food markets, art space, terrace style seating sprawling on one tract of Mayfield.

By Alex Watson | 30 June 2020

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If you’ve not been into the city centre in the past few weeks you might have missed all the mysterious ‘Escape to Freight Island’ posters that have popped up.

They’ve been sending us a bit west with how cryptic they are and even us lot have been scratching our heads at what the heck it could possibly be.

Well, I’m here to put you out of your misery, FINALLY.

Escape to Freight Island will be a new one-stop destination at the Depot, Mayfield that is set to launch in Manchester mid-July as part of the £1.4 billion regeneration of Mayfield.

Aiming to become one of the most forward-thinking and disruptive markets in the world, Escape to Freight Island will be an international destination akin to the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, Coney Island in New York and Grand Central Market in Los Angeles.

Escape to Freight Island will be a place we can all go to be together again, an urban landscape with outdoor food markets, art space and terrace-style seating all in one long-forgotten freight depot.

To begin, there will be a limited capacity of 600 people in the first phase of launch before expanding to welcome 2,500 people later in the year.

Along with bars, restaurants and food trucks, the space will also be home to retail shops and even a bike park.

You can expect a 70s New York-inspired roller disco which will transform into a karaoke venue called Queen Samantha’s, and a retro arcade games corridor.

Among the first of the traders announced is Madre, non-traditional, upscaled, ingredient-driven tacos.

There’s also Voodoo Ray’s Pizza and even a new venture from Manchester favourite, Baratxuri.

Outside of London, Escape to Freight Island will be Camden Town Brewery’s biggest collaboration and they will even be launching a boutique craft ale bar in partnership with Salford’s inimitable Pomona Island brewery. 

Ancoats ever-so-popular neighbourhood bar, The Jane Eyre, will also be hosting opening a cocktail and wine bar space.

There will also be exclusive collaborations with Homoelectric, We Out Here festival, Festival No6, Love International and other iconic musical curators.

Bookings will be open next week and to be given a 24-hour advance notice for tables, join the community on the Escape to Freight Island website. Table slots of three hours will be pre-booked from Thursday to Sunday, running from midday to midnight.

Escape to Freight Island is a collaboration of individuals that have built a formidable reputation around the alchemy of food and culture, including Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey of Volta, Electrik Bar and The Refuge, Gareth Cooper of Festival N°6, event production veteran Jon Drape of Engine No. 4 and Managing Director Dan Morris, who launched leading Manchester music venues Gorilla and the Albert Hall.

Electriks’ Luke Cowdrey, co-curator, said: “Escape to Freight Island isn’t your average food market. It’s a new and unique destination in Manchester, it is the next evolution in the food market sector that will fill a hole in the life of our city. Escape to Freight Island will take its place as one of the most exciting, forward-thinking and disruptive markets in the world. Escape to Freight Island is a game changer and most importantly to me, Escape to Freight Island has soul.

“Platform 15 will give a flavour of what is to come when we launch the full Escape to Freight Island experience, so let’s all meet at Platform 15 to begin our escape to freedom.”

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