The Northern Quarter bars that locals don't want you to know about...

Keep these places hush-hush or I'll have a mob of angry NQ locals knocking on my door!

By Ben Brown | 23 August 2019

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The Daisy
An elegant subterranean cocktail bar underneath Evelyn’s, The Daisy is one of the Northern Quarter’s best-kept secrets and is certainly one of its best cocktail bars. There’s a huge Parisian influence here, not just in the understated interior but also the drinks, with an outstanding cocktail list that specialises in martinis and something a little bit more lethal – absinthe. During the day it’s a members only co-working space but as soon as the sun goes down this place turns into one of the NQ’s most desirable joints.

The Daisy, G18, 44 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LA


The Castle Hotel
A quintessential pub experience in the heart of the Northern Quarter, you’ll find a whole host of locals sitting in The Castle, drinking a pint over a couple of packets of Pork Scratchings and putting the world to rights. They’ve always got a good programme of live music in here and it can get pretty rowdy in the evenings – even better for a night out or some lively after-work drinks.

Castle, 66 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE


Science & Industry
Another hidden gem, Science & Industry is located behind a sneaky little door in Cane & Grain. Ascend the stairs and you’ll find yourself in a classy bar with quite possibly the best cocktails in the city – lovingly prepared by a team of dedicated cocktail experts. They use all manner of scientific wizardry to create some of the most unusual (and delicious) cocktails you’re ever going to see. A feta cheese cocktail? Check. One that’s inspired by a tree? Check. A Vegan Irish Coffee? You better believe it!

Science & Industry, Cane & Grain, 49 -51 Thomas Street, Manchester M4 1NA


The Whiskey Jar
You’ll most likely have heard about The Whiskey Jar primarily because they have over 300 different whiskies available, but any NQ local will tell you that there’s SO much more to this place. First of all there’s the basement, which plays host to a whole host of events, many of them organised by up-and-coming music acts and club night promoters. Each week sees a highly varied selection of events for all tastes – from dedicated pop nights to deep-electro space themed extravaganzas. Oh, and it must be said – their Open Mic night has achieved legendary status among those in the know. Well worth a visit on a Tuesday night.

The Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff St, Manchester M1 2FF


The Smithfield Tavern
Winner of the Manchester Food & Drink Festival Pub of the Year award in 2016, the high praise certainly didn’t go to the heads of the owners of The Smithfield Tavern; there’s no resting on any laurels over here that’s for sure. It’s essentially the Taphouse for local brewery Blackjack, so you can expect fresh, fantastic beers on offer pretty much all the time, alongside a selection of bar snacks in the shape of pies and sausage rolls. This is place is the quintessential local for anyone who lives in the Northern Quarter and still one of its best-kept secrets.

The Smithfield Tavern, 37 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ
0161 425 6831


The Peer Hat
This place doesn’t look like much from the outside, but hidden within is one of the city’s best live music venues and one of its best bars. There’s a great energy to The Peer Hat and it’s the one place where you’ll find a good mix of locals and visitors, all likely clamouring to see ‘the next big thing’ on stage. It’s these small venues that make the Northern Quarter the centre of arts and music that it’s famous for – and The Peer Hat is definitely up there with the best.

The Peer Hat, 14-16 Faraday St, Manchester M1 1BE


Port Street Beer House
Home to quite possibly the Northern Quarter’s biggest beer and ale list, the Port Street Beer House has been a local favourite for a few years now and it doesn’t look like they’re going to slow down any time soon. The booze on offer is forever changing so there’s no point in me even beginning to list them on here – so you’ve got two options. Number one; go on their website and look what’s in stock or Number Two; get off your arse and go down there and chat to the friendly staff over a few frosty ones.

Port Street Beer House, 39-41 Port St, Manchester M1 2EQ


Soup Kitchen
A restaurant by day and bar/club by night, Soup Kitchen is a huge favourite among ‘that Northern Quarter lot’ primarily down to the fantastic atmosphere and long list of events and gigs in the basement downstairs. Whoever runs the events for this place is doing a sterling job because there’s always something going on and it’s invariably dead good. I’d even go as far to say that Soup is what many of the places in the Northern Quarter used to be – when everything was still a bit rough around the edges and underground. Before the big bucks basically.

Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear St, Manchester M1 1DF


What was once a pretty manky old fella’s boozer, complete with saloon-style stares when a non-local walked in, Gullivers has had a spruce up and re-invented itself as a pretty serious gig venue. You’ll find a lot of guitar wielding, long haired indie kids in here – playing songs alongside a rowdy crowd of ‘in-the-know’ locals and super fans, one of which was flat-faces Hollywood star Michael Cera a few years back. I can’t guarantee you’ll see any celebrities when you next visit but I can guarantee a bloody good time.

Gullivers, 109 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LW


The Bay Horse Tavern
Probably the NQ’s worst kept secret, the Bay Horse Tavern on Thomas Street successfully straddles the line between a boozer for locals and a real destination spot for visitors. This is achieved primarily through their friendly staff, long list of bevvies, top food and a proper relaxed atmosphere – meaning you can spend a full day in here and never get bored. It’s our local here in the Finest office due to all of these reasons, but also because they have a dead good quiz on Tuesdays too.

The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA