2020 will forever be known as a sort of 'buffer' year - one in which not much really seemed to change for many people, as we were all stuck indoors waiting for a virus to burn itself out.
As people were on lockdown though, we continued to shower them with some top-notch content (with a few dubious choices too). Anyway, here's the most read articles on Manchester's Finest this year...
10 - Manchester Cheap Eats: Arndale Market
The first episode in our 'Cheap Eats' series was a visit to the outstanding Arndale Market, exploring just what you can get for under £7 from the wealth of excellent food vendors there. Matt White visits Viet Shack, Wholesome Junkies, Holy Crab, Pancho’s and everyone's favourite - Salt & Pepper. The array of delicious foods is enough to get you drooling onto your lap and will make you demand a visit - you've been warned.
9 - The Best Walks to Enjoy Around Manchester (While Still Social Distancing)
2020 can pretty much be designated 'The Year of the Walk' as millions of people used their chance to exercise while on lockdown to explore our stunning country on whatever walk they could. Being cooped up inside does nothing for your mental health, so walks became the de facto choice for many people looking for both physical and mental stimulus. Our list of the best walks in the region did some big numbers as people flocked to the most beautiful corners of the North West.
8 - What are Bars & Restaurants going to look like when they re-open?
Written in mid-June, with bars and restaurants set to open on the 4th July, there wasn't much that we knew at the time about how bars and restaurants would be able to operate in a post-lockdown, socially distanced world. Speaking to some of the city's industry insiders and examining what the 'big boys' were going to do, we examined just what it would be like to go for a pint when we were finally able to. Were we correct? Yes, mostly - although we were completely unprepared for the whole 'substantial meal' debacle.
7 - This Masked Man is Delivering Free Weed to NHS Staff & Key Workers
We heard about a masked vigilante driving around the streets of the city, delivering weed to NHS workers during the height of lockdown and we just had to speak to him. 'Outlaw' turned out to be a fantastic human being, someone who genuinely wants to help people, and uses the power of drug prohibition to vehemently make his point. He's now also offering help to people who feel that they've been persecuted by the police, while continuing his crusade for the decimalisation of cannabis.
6 - Meet the Guys Selling £10,000 Air Jordans & Rare Yeezys Signed by Kanye West from a Tiny Basement in Chinatown
Again, a video first, Danny Fahey 'kicked' off his series - The Grind - with a visit to Sneaker63; Manchester's very first trainer consignment store. Speaking to owners Jack Chen & Dominic Hespe, Danny explored their treasure trove of goodies, including a signed (by Kanye West) pair of Yeezy Turtle Doves, a Supreme House Brick and a pair of £10,000 Air Jordans.
5 - Myths of Manchester: The Canal Pusher
Easily one of the best things I've ever written, and certainly something that people want to know about, this exploration on the whole idea of 'The Canal Pusher' was one of the most read articles of 2020. The myth surrounding the 'pusher' is one that's become ingrained in the city's psyche for years now, but we look to dispel and question the idea of these tragic events being the result of one person, instead looking at the accidents (and subsequent family trauma) in their own light and hopefully - educating people to the fact that these incidents aren't the result of a crazed lunatic but instead easily preventable accidents which the city's council need to address better.
4 - How to make… The Perfect Espresso Martini at Home
It seems that most people absolutely bloody love an Espresso Martini, as our guide (and video) on how to make the best one during lockdown comes in as the 4th most read article of 2020. Consulting the city's biggest and best cocktail experts, we collated this wealth of knowledge into the PERFECT Espresso Martini - which is a synch to make at home in a couple of minutes. We even roped in the team at Alvarium to make a video for us - which is even easier to follow than the words. Give it a try!
3 - Lightopia Festival returns to Manchester this Winter
Perhaps a surprising one this one, but nonetheless it shows the city's appetite for getting out of the house this year and attending events. Published in August, Christmas may have seemed a long way off but we all hoped that there wouldn't be any COVID restrictions in December - how naive we were! Lightopia also looks absolutely fantastic and is a great little outing - especially if you've got kids. One of our most read, and most watched this year - you can still get tickets for the event at Heaton Park which is on until the 11th Jan.
2 - Explore the creepy long-abandoned Camelot Theme Park
A rather recent one here, as we took a look at the long-abandoned theme park in Charnock Richard - Camelot. A firm favourite among many a Mancunian growing up, Camelot featured some pretty sketchy rollercoasters, live jousting and plenty of blokes dressed up as either dragons or knights depending on what time of day it was. The whole park has recently been bulldozed to the ground, and these images stand as a reminder of what once was - and a window into our childhood.
1 - The Rise & Fall of Boddingtons: The Cream of Manchester
Here it is - the most read article on Manchester's Finest in 2020 - The Rise & Fall of Boddingtons. In what was originally just a piece exploring the Manchester bitter after watching an episode of Friends while on lockdown, it became a monster on social media - with every man, woman and child pretty much having an opinion or memory of 'The Cream of Manchester'. From Strangeways Brewery to poisoning to its eventual decline, Boddingtons is a riveting story and one which emphatically condemns the idea of big business destroying a cultural icon in the pursuit of profit.