Inspired equally by the carnival shenanigans of Coney Island as it is by Copenhagen’s famous Tivoli Gardens, Freight Island has led the ongoing transformation of this previously neglected end of the city, along with its not inconsiderable next door neighbour – the mighty Warehouse Project.
Transforming the waste ground that sat neglected next to the old Mayfield train depot across the road from Piccadilly Station, Freight has made itself its own destination – a place to eat, drink, dance, sunbathe, eat again, drink (again) and then wend your way home from its twinkling lights as envious motorists observe from the Mancunian Way.
Outside, it’s a sprawling biergarten, in the best European sense, with stepped seating to bask on, secluded booths and shared benches, with the greenhouse-like ‘plant room’ playing host to diners and cocktail sippers when it’s inclement, and ravers when they’re hosting an all-dayer.
Meanwhile, in the vast post-industrial hangar, there’s a corner for everyone, with open kitchens, a sports bar for the footy, rugby and cricket, and a vast array of independent food traders, turning out everything from pizza to burgers to a full Sunday roast.
Hidden in plain sight, you can turn up for lunch and end up staying for dinner, taking in everything from world class DJs and live music to top flight stand-up comedians, with family or friends.
And if you need a breather, you can slip next door to the beautifully landscaped Mayfield Park, the first new city park in Manchester in 100 years, heaving with life in the summer and lit up like a Christmas tree in the winter.