The best things to do in Manchester this week (20 - 26 March)

Including 40% off at Burgerism, new work by Tony Walsh at 53two and ethical wine tasting at Open Kitchen.

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated March 20th '23

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Image: Manchester Union Lager / 53two

It’s hard to believe that we’re about to jump through March’s final hoop. This month has flown by, probably because we’ve had absolutely loads to look forward to, from an absolute ton of gigs at our favourite venues to supper clubs, St Patrick's Day and more, and the final couple of weeks are equally as exciting. 

This week, Burgerism are back with their dangerous 40% off deals, there’s theatre in a black box at Media City and a chance to get green fingered with a local expert. As well as this, Manchester Union Lager will celebrate their fourth birthday with a massive bash at their brewery, complete with free beer, discounted merchandise and huge Bratwurst sausages that were made to be paired with a perfectly poured pint of Manchester lager.

Read on for our round-up of the best things to do in Manchester this week.  

The turbulent life and career of showbiz's biggest starts come to Bolton tonight. Image: Octagon Theatre

The life of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli at Octagon Theatre

Monday 20 March
The heartbreaking story of showbiz legend Judy Garland and her daughter, Liza Minnelli comes to Bolton tonight. Set in 1964 at their famous London Palladium concert, the theatre performance explores their one-of-a-kind relationship and features famous hits including Maybe This Time and The Trolley Song. The pair took to the stage together for the majority of Liza’s childhood before the passing of Judy in 1969, and theatre-goers can expect singalong hits and a glimpse into the lives of one of the stage's most famous duos.

Unapologetic comedy from The Dirty Immigrant

Monday 20 March
Immigration is a hot topic at the moment and it’s not very funny. It’s also not very polite to laugh at an immigrant but Romanian comedian Victor Patrascan is inviting you to do just that. With jokes about poverty, xenophobia and garlic bread, Victor brings his “honest, thought provoking and unapologetic” solo comedy show to 53two, the much loved theatre and bar in a former railway arch on Watson Street - just round the back of the Great Northern. Tickets are £10.

There are more unmissable deals from Burgerism this week. Image: Burgerism

40% off at Burgerism

Monday 20 - Thursday 23 March
If you haven’t already had enough of Burgerism after taking full advantage of its weekly burger deals, don’t worry - there’s more. This week, the restaurant is offering 40% off its double cheesed burger and BBQ wings when you order via Uber Eats. It’s redeemable Monday - Thursday and might never happen again, so we won’t judge you if you're ordering it for your dinner four days in a row. 

California Suite at The Empty Space

Monday 20 - Thursday 23 March
A hidden black box style theatre located close to Media City, The Empty Space is a gem that regularly hosts a range of performances including comedy, musicals and more. This week, the space welcomes an on-stage adaptation of the 1978 film California Suite, a four-part comedic journey written by Neil Simon. The show follows the dilemmas faced by guests staying at a luxury hotel, with the original film featuring some huge names including Maggie Smith and Michael Caine.

Grow Your Greens at 422 Arts Space

Tuesday 21 March
If you live in a flat without a balcony, it can sometimes be difficult to try and find enough windowsill space to get green fingered, but Mark Frith is here to help. Hailing from Manchester’s Growing Togetherness community, he's hosting a free event at 422 Arts Space this week that’ll teach you to propagate, compost and grow your own micro-greens indoors in a cost-effective way. The event is free to attend and is suitable for all levels.

A film about the early 2000s NYC music scene at HOME

Tuesday 21 and Thursday 23 March
Inspired by Lizzie Goodman’s 2017 book Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011, this documentary by award-winning filmmakers Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace lifts the lid on the early 2000s music scene of New York. Meet Me In The Bathroom follows bands like The Strokes, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Soundsystem, Interpol and The Moldy Peaches from their very early days through to their explosive rise to worldwide fame on the backdrop of a post-9/11 world. The Wednesday evening showing is sold out but there are still some daytime slots available on Tuesday and Thursday.

Open Kitchen is pouring ethical wine for European makers this week. Image: Open Kitchen

A sustainable wine club at Open Kitchen

Wednesday 22 March
There’s something about drinking wine in tiny glasses after spending ages sniffing it and shouting out things like ‘apple pie’, ‘Haribo Tangfastics’ and ‘petrol’ that just makes it all the more enjoyable, don’t you think? If that’s a hard yes, then you’ll want to stick this one on your to do list for the week. Hosted by Open Kitchen, the sustainable cafe at the People’s History Museum, this wine tasting focuses on independent, sustainable and ethical wine and fizz from European winemakers. You will taste six wines alongside a large grazing board and tickets are £30.

A whole stuffed lamb feast at Zouk

Thursday 23 March - 21 April
It’s that time of year again and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan is due to commence this Thursday 23 March with its fasting period ending around 21 April. Luckily, Manchester has a lot to offer on the Iftar front, not least from the ever-brilliant Zouk. The Indian and Pakistani restaurant will be bringing back its popular Iftar buffet with a whole stuffed lamb raan as the centrepiece at weekends and a smaller stuffed leg during the week. Accompanying the lamb will be all kinds of curries, starters, sides and salads. There are two sittings every evening and though walk ins are welcome, booking is advised. In keeping with the meaning of Ramadan, Zouk will be working to support local charities by donating meals to people experiencing homelessness in Manchester with £1 from every buffet purchased also donated to charity.

Jeshi spends the final leg of his tour in Manchester. Image: Jeshi

Jeshi at The Deaf Institute

Friday 24 March
London-based Jeshi is an artist baring it all through bass heavy hip-hop beats and the modern-day grime scene. His lyrics are gritty and honest, covering themes of austerity in working class Britain, and his openness has landed him in the esteemed supporting slots of DIY greats such as Slowthai. His gig at Deaf Institute definitely isn’t one to miss this week.

Kamaal Williams at Canvas

Saturday 25 March
Henry Wu, better known as Kamaal Williams, is a multi-instrumentalist that made his name as a pioneer of London’s underground jazz scene. Coming to Canvas this week, one of the city’s newest and most popular gig hotspots, he’ll be armed with his jaw-dropping jazz that combines undertones of funk and contemporary hip-hop. 

Free coffee and live music is a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon. Image: Band On The Wall

Free live music and coffee at Band On The Wall

Saturday 25 March
Marsden-born coffee company Dark Woods Coffee is teaming up with Band on the Wall to put together a free afternoon of music with a free coffee thrown into the mix too. Live music comes from Hebble who play an eclectic mix of traditional Irish, English and Scottish songs with a smattering of Appalachian and Americana. Also on the bill are 6Music favourite Songs For Walter with his hazy indie-pop/folk, and Poppy Holmes who takes inspo from theatre and literature for her Kate Nash meets Randy Newman vintage sounding pop. There will be a pop up shop from Dark Woods so you can take home a a bag of coffee beans and a band tee.

Manchester Union Lager’s fourth birthday party

Saturday 25 March
Celebrating four years of frothy pints, Manchester Union Lager is throwing open the doors of its brewery this weekend for a big birthday knees up. Expect music from DJ Chris Massey, free schooners of beer, stalls serving proper German bratwurst sausages and tours of the brewery with the brand's head brewer. Manchester Union is also slashing the price of its merchandise and takeaway beers in half for the event, too.

A market for dogs hits Ancoats this Sunday. Image: Crown and Kettle

BRICKS at 53two

Saturday 25 March - Saturday 1 April
Manchester spoken word performer Tony Walsh, who penned the emotive This Is The Place poem after the devastating terror attack at Manchester Arena, has written new work in support of 53two’s arts charity. The new poem will debut this Saturday before a new show called BRICKS, that brings together writers, directors and actors from across Greater Manchester. BRICKS will run until 1 April, with its recognised format of six short plays aiming to showcase a raft of the city's creatives.

Ancoats Dog Social at Crown & Kettle

Sunday 26 March
They’re not called man’s best friend for no reason. Dogs are just as sociable as us humans, and the Crown and Kettle is welcoming in furry friends and their owners to browse a range of pet-focused stalls this weekend. If it’s doggy gifts you’re after, or a chance to get a pawlaroid snapped, Crown and Kettle will be offering all of this and more, alongside some extra special ales on Sunday.

A comedy show in a synagogue

Sunday 26 March
From award-winning Mancunian comedian Ellie Silver comes Beth’s Din, the story of "the world’s most unlikely rabbi”. The play tells the story of a clumsy and disorganised woman called Bethaney whose mid-life epiphany leads her away from a career in finance and onto the path of becoming Manchester’s first female rabbi. This ‘love letter to Manchester’ explores Silver’s own intersectional identity and encourages the audience to have a little more faith in themselves. The show has been developed as a pilot for a TV series but will be performed live, ‘script-in-hand’ in the synagogue at Manchester Jewish Museum as part of its Synagogue Scratch series. Tickets are £10 and include the show, a post-performance conversation with the artist and a drink from the museum's cafe.