Is everything better in miniature? For Whitefield-based creative Ric Faccin, it certainly seemsto be the case.
Something of a social media sensation, for those who don’t know his work, well, you’re in for a treat, especially if you have an affinity for grungy old Manchester pubs and shops.
Since lockdown struck in 2020, the Manchester local has been keeping busy recreating some of our most beloved institutions in miniature – and we honestly can’t get enough.
From boozers like The Briton’s Protection and The City to beloved hideyholes like the Shudehill Book Centre, Yadgar Cafe, and Cafe Marhaba, if it’s special to Manchester you can pretty much bet that Ric has made a model of it.
Having previously worked in recruitment, when Covid hit he found himself with more time on his hands than he knew what to do with.
And so, whilst the majority of the UK was binge-watching the Netflix documentary Tiger King, Ric developed an obsession with watching Youtube videos about building models.
As a result, what had first begun as a plan to decorate his apartment with photographs of old Manchester doors soon became something much bigger.
Beginning first as a hobby, it quickly turned into a business once Ric began posting his creations to social media under the username @manchester_builds: igniting a blaze of interest from would-be customers after one of his posts went viral on Twitter.
His very first attempt – the Arndale Book & Magazine Exchange on Shudehill – set the tone for things to come, with Ric paying homage to the “gritty grimey seedy Manchester gems” in the comments, writing: “need to build em all before they’re gone forever.”
Showing a side to Manchester that you won’t find on the tourist sites, it’s the tiny details – a cigarette end cast on the floor, an empty polystyrene chip shop container, a crumpled-up copy of The Manchester Evening News – that really makes his work feel like a love letter to the city. That, and the selection of subjects.
From the sex shops of Manchester to its rice and three cafes, record stores, pubs and book shops, each has been recreated in intricate detail.
These are not the spots you’ll find recommended at the top of TripAdvisor, but trust us when we say you want to pay a visit. (Yes, even the Tib Street sex shop Love Boutique, provided you’re of age anyway).
Whilst the city might be changing at pace, we love Manchester Builds because we can always rely on Ric to help us keep a grip on the past – and to remember the institutions that have made Manchester what it is today.
All the February Manchester restaurant deals, discounts and offers you need in 2023
This February, there are still plenty of great Manchester restaurant and dining deals to get stuck into.
Quite a few of the city’s bars and cafes have decided to extend their 50% off food deals from January into February, and we’re absolutely chuffed to see it.
Beyond that, there are some awesome set menus, lunch deals and general discounts going around – not to mention quite a lot of Valentine’s deals to take up if you’re looking to celebrate Cupid’s holiday with someone special this month.
Keep reading to discover the best Manchester restaurant deals, discounts and offers to try this February.
50% off food – Manchester February dining deals
What is it: Legendary burger bar serving the original ‘dirty burgers’ as well as loaded fries and wings.
The offer: 50% off burgers
T&Cs: Offer available Sunday to Friday all day ending 3 February.
Ducie Street Warehouse
What is it: A huge cultural hub serving small plates and disco brunches and good vibes.
The offer: 50% off food
T&Cs: Valid all day on Tuesdays only from the Something for Everyone menu between 1 and 28 February. Booking recommended.
What is it: A glitzy spot across the water from Spinningfields, serving small plates influenced by south east Asia.
The offer: 50% off food and drinks
T&Cs: 50% off food available Wednesday to Friday. 50% off entire bill Sundays ONLY from 5pm. Maximum 6 guests, book in advance using code SUN50.
What is it: A gorgeous wine bar where you can wash down your natural wine with Manchester-made charcuterie and cheese boards.
The offer: 50% off food
T&Cs: Discount applies to grazing boards when purchasing a bottle of wine between until 7 February. Cannot be used with any other deal or experience.
What is it: A cool Detroit-style restaurant and bar housed in a former MOT garage.
The offer: 50% off peri, plates and pitas.
T&Cs: Available until 10 February, Wednesday and Thursday between 4-9pm, Friday 12-9pm. Booking in advance is required.
Three Little Words
What is it: Sleek restaurant and bar in industrial railways arch with vaulted ceilings, with a neighbouring gin school and distillery attached.
The offer: 50% off food and selected drinks.
T&Cs: Available until 10 February, Wednesday and Thursday between 5pm-midnight, Friday 12-7pm. Anything ordered after these time periods will not be eligible for discount. Maximum party of six.
What is it: A proper institution offering a little taste of bistro culture in the heart of the trendy Northern Quarter.
The offer: 50% off food
T&Cs: Available until 10 February. Applies to the A la Carte only Monday to Friday between 12-10pm. Maximum booking of six. Quote ‘JanSale’ when making booking online to get the deal.
What is it: A wine and charcuterie bar tucked away on Deansgate Mews.
The offer: 50% off food
T&Cs: Offer runs until 12 February. Available every day except Saturday, offer excludes fondue.
What is it: MasterChef Simon Wood’s high-end restaurant down at First Street, perfect for a pre-theatre treat.
The offer: 50% off Taste of Homage menu (five cheeses and five wines for £25 per person)
T&Cs: 50% off cheese and wine at Homage throughout February. Bookings via [email protected]
Other Manchester February dining deals
What is it: Ultra-glitzy restaurant and bar set way up amongst the city’s skyline.
The offer: Three courses and a glass of wine for £30.
T&Cs: Available Monday to Wednesday between 630-10pm. Available for groups of six people max.
What is it: A Southern Spanish tapas kitchen serving up classic favourites alongside traditional dishes.
The offer: Three tapas plates for £15, add a bottle of sangria or wine for £15.
T&Cs: Available 5-9pm Wednesday and Thursday, until 5pm Friday and all day Sunday. Book a table in advance and ask for the February deal to get the saving.
The Black Friar
What is it: A classic pub reborn, with a huge new restaurant installed into a new glass extension.
The offer: £10 pie and mash.
T&Cs: Available all day Monday and 12-6pm Tuesday to Friday until the end of February.
The Blues Kitchen
What is it: Dedicated blues bar serving hickory-smoked comfort food, plus regular live music and DJs.
The offer: Bottomless chicken wings.
T&Cs: Available every Sunday throughout February between 12pm and 6pm. Available for £12 per person (£20 for two people), served with blue cheese dip and celery.
What is it: New Kampus wine bar with a sun-soaked terrace (probably not right now), sandwiches and small plates.
The offer: Meat or cheese board with bread and a carafe of wine for £25.
T&Cs: Available every Wednesday and Thursday between 4-9 pm.
What is it: A lovely Portuguese restaurant from the minds behind El Gato Negro.
The offer: Three courses for £18
T&Cs: Available Monday to Thursday evenings, 12-5pm Friday and all day Sunday throughout February.
Cane and Grain
What is it: New York-style style bar split of over three themed floors, serving ribs, burgers and cocktails.
The offer: Burger, fries and a drink for £10.
T&Cs: Offer available Monday to Friday between 12-4pm.
What is it: Modern Italian cafe, restaurant and prosecco bar serving Italian pizzas, grill dishes and sharing plates.
The offer: One course £7, two courses £12.
T&Cs: Available 12-230pm Monday to Friday, 12-3pm Saturday and Sunday.
Ducie Street Warehouse
What is it: A huge cultural hub serving small plates and disco brunches and good vibes.
The offer: Bottomless pancakes
T&Cs: Available on Pancake Day only from 10am until 5pm.. 30 minutes of unlimited pancakes priced at £13.50.
What is it: Modern Italian restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows, marble bar and a large selection of traditional dishes.
The offer: Two courses £23.95, three courses £28.95.
T&Cs: Available 12-2pm and 4-6pm every day for a maximum of six people.
What is it: Another classic pub reborn – cosy vibes and pies downstairs, fancy small plates upstairs.
The offer: Two courses with a drink £30, three for £35.
T&Cs: Available Wednesday to Friday between 5 – 6.30pm throughout February.
El Gato Negro
What is it: Widely considered one of Manchester’s best restaurants thanks to its world-leading tapas menus.
The offer: 3 dishes for £18.
T&Cs: Available Monday to Friday 12-4 and all day Sunday throughout February.
Evelyn’s / The Daisy
What is it: More great brunches and roasts, plus an all-day menu that’s just had an overhaul and a charming bar underneath.
The offer: Roasts followed by £12 carafes at The Daisy
T&Cs: Enjoy a carafe of red or white wine for £12 at Evelyn’s subterannean bar The Daisy before or after your Sunday roast.
What is it: The third restaurant from El Gato Negro’s Simon Shaw, this time celebrating the middle east.
The offer: Two courses for £20 or three for £24
T&Cs: Available between 5 and 10pm every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout February.
What is it: Premium British steakhouse serving the very best dry-aged beef, sustainable seafood and seasonal farm produce from the UK.
The offer: Two courses for £25, three for £28
T&Cs: Available for reservations made Monday-Saturday until 6.30pm and all day Sunday.
The Lawn Club
What is it: Airy cafe bar with wicker chairs, food served on wooden boards and an extensive cocktail menu.
The offer: Dine out for £50(for two)
T&Cs: Available Valentine’s Day only. Offer includes a bottle of prosecco, any 2 mains and 2 sides from the main menu, between two people for £50. Walk-ins welcome.
What is it: High end Japanese restaurant serving quality sashimi, sushi, fine wines and a special Omakase chef’s choice menu.
The offer: Four courses for £35
T&Cs: Available as part of the Subayai (meaning ‘quick’) lunch tasting menu. 12-2pm Monday to Friday.
What is it: A grab-and-go sandwich dealer selling focaccia slabs and Naples-inspired cuzzetiellos, currently operating out of a hatch next to The Sadler’s Cat pub.
The offer: 15% off sandwiches
T&Cs: Available throughout February. Just rock up to get the deal.
What is it: A new all-vegan pasta restaurant that has taken over the old Vertigo unit on Cross Street.
The offer: £10 mains
T&Cs: Offer available throughout February at lunchtime only. Further T&Cs may apply.
What is it: A relaxed, independent new wine bar serving quality cheese and charcuterie boards alongside low-intervention wines by the bottle and glass.
The offer: Free dessert boards and free prosecco.
T&Cs: Free dessert boards (chocolate brownies, blondies and cupcakes, all made by local baker ‘cupcakes by donna) offered with any bottle of wine purchased. Guests who pre-book will receive a complimentary glass of fizz. Available Valentine’s Day only.
Romantic bars and restaurants in Manchester that are perfect for Valentine’s Day 2023
With Valentine’s Day in Manchester fast approaching, the city’s restaurants and bars are gearing up to welcome couples wanting to celebrate the day.
With so many great restaurants in Manchester, if you’re looking to take your other half out to eat you are quite literally spoilt for choice.
For those lost in a sea of menus and wondering where to book, we thought we’d help make things a little bit easier by recommending some of our favourite romantic restaurants and a few other popular date night spots to help get you started.
Keep reading to discover our top picks for where to take your date in Manchester this Valentine’s Day.
If you’re looking to impress your date with sleek settings, flawless service and a touch of glamour, Bridge Street’s latest arrival should be just the ticket.
New Japanese restaurant Musu offers a contemporary interpretation of Japanese dishes currently not seen outside of London, serving specially created 7 and 11 course tasting menus with wine pairings, as well as a traditional ‘chef’s choice’ experience at its six-seat Omakase counter.
The menu is divided into three sections – Sentaku, Kaiseki and Omakase – and diners can also order dishes a la carte style.
Drinks-wise, look forward to a mixture of classic cocktails, Japanese sakes and whiskies, as well as a specially chosen list of wines handpicked by house sommelier Ivan Milchev.
Opened by the team behind the Michelin-recommended Corvena in Chester just before Christmas, it boasts a stunning wine list (the name nods to the importance of weather in creating incredible wines) as well as some reportedly ‘genius’ dishes on its menu.
Serving a mixture of small and large plates, it also has one of the best panoramic views of the city skyline – looking down across Manchester from its perch on Blackfriars.
A charming little 26-cover bistro clinging to an A road in the south Manchester neighbourhood of Sale, it’s not just the name that makes this spot a perfect choice for a romantic date.
Serving up some critically acclaimed British and European food with a beautiful hand-picked selection of wines, find rich and comforting dishes like lamb ragu gnocchi, baked bone marrow with truffle, and 32-day dry-aged red Hereford beef on its regularly-changing a la carte menu.
As for pudding? Tuck into the likes of popcorn and white chocolate posset with salted caramel, or enjoy a peanut butter pie with candied peanuts and a warming glass of Pedro Ximinez.
Not many London brands successfully make the move up to Manchester, but one that has done it with aplomb is premium British steakhouse Hawksmoor.
It’s pricey but worth it, with a stunning wood-paneled cocktail bar (and mouthwatering bar of burgers and pickles menu) available next to the restaurant to help you get your date off to a flying start.
Serving the very best dry-aged beef, sustainable seafood and seasonal farm produce from the UK, steaks come out beautifully blackened and charred thanks to its Josper grill whilst sides are indulgent (typically laden with rich cheese, nutmeg and cream).
The aforementioned cocktail list is excellent, as is the wine list. All around a 10/10 spot with friendly service to boot.
One of the best restaurants in Manchester by a long shot, it is run by a married couple – with Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock positioned out front and her chef-partner Franco Concli working away busily in the back.
Spatzle (pictured above) is the house specialty, said to mirror sparrows in flight – hence the restaurant’s name. It’s best eaten with a simple sauce of butter and sage, but there are numerous sauce options – plus countless European dumplings, a fine sake selection and an organic wine list.
The hushed, sleek interiors, meanwhile, will have you convinced you’re somewhere in New York – not on the back streets of the Green Quarter.
A visit to The Oystercatcher requires a trip out to Chorlton, but it’s well worth it to taste some of the best fish on offer in the city – often chargrilled in the josper oven for added flavour.
Getting a good seafood menu together is challenging in a city as landlocked as Manchester, and the lists change weekly at the restaurant in reflection of this.
Oysters dressed with shallot mignonette tend to be a mainstay, whilst a sample menu lists the likes of black sea bream, scallops, monkfish, seabass, sea trout, mussels and crab.
Sides are ordered separately, with choices like fennel gratin, chargrilled broccoli, hispi cabbage, triple cooked chips and more.
10 Tib Lane
With sultry low lighting, quality cocktails, £1 oysters and plenty of tucked-away seating spread over three floors, 10 Tib Lane could’ve been made for date night.
Serving a tantalising small plates menu alongside some beautiful low-intervention wines, its Cumbrae oysters with mignonette are a must-order to get your date night going.
Followed up with the likes of steak tartare, lamb sweetbreads, duck in port sauce, bone marrow and pommes anna, and charred hispi cabbage in shallot sauce, foodies should be in absolute heaven.
Another award-winning, Michelin-recommended eatery, this time from the team behind the Levenshulme (and now also Ancoats) bakeries, Trove.
Open Tuesday to Saturday, with its concrete floors and relatively sparse settings, it’s the food here more than the decor that makes Erst so romantic.
A love of fermentation and pickling has clearly passed from one sibling’s kitchen into another. Plates here are ordered to share, with a list of 10 to choose from.
Each designed simply to showcase the natural flavours of the produce, order as many as you can muster then tuck in with a good bottle of natural wine on the side.
Bar San Juan
This teeny tiny tapas bar in Chorlton is a treasured local gem, and for good reason.
Named Manchester’s Neighbourhood Venue of the Year at the 2022 Manchester Food and Drink Awards, this cosy little slice of Spain on Beech Road is as unassuming as it is full of European charm.
From the warmth of San Juan’s staff, for whom nothing is too much trouble, to its impeccable dishes, it’s easy to see how this cosy neighbourhood spot is so beloved. If you’re after an intimate date with top-notch food, you cannot go wrong here.
Home to some of the best pasta in Greater Manchester, you do have to schlep all the way out to Denton for it – but if incredible Italian food is part of your partner’s love language then trust us, it’ll be worth it.
By day, Ornella’s is very much a tiny deli cafe with room for just 12 diners at once. By night, the combination of the small space, low lighting and mouthwatering dishes make it a pasta lover’s paradise.
Dish-wise, think plump lobster ravioli, butter-drenched crispy sage and hazelnut spinach ricotta ravioli, and carbonara bucatini liberally doused in pepper and egg yolk, with crisp flecks of guanciale on top – all freshly made on-site by hand that day.
The Edinburgh Castle pub has stood in the heart of Ancoats since 1811 and is one of the area’s most popular hangouts.
Lovingly refurbished by the team behind Cottonopolis, it now has South African born chef Shaun Moffat at the helm overseeing some magic on its bar and restaurant menus.
Downstairs it’s all cosy pub vibes with a good pint of Guinness and outrageously tempting chip butties.
Head upstairs, though, and you’ll discover a beautiful modern restaurant with views across Ancoats and a gorgeous menu so committed to local produce that its chefs reportedly don’t even cook with pepper.
Sitting right on the waterside next to Ancoats Marina, if good wine and small plates is your love language then Flawd is an absolute must visit – even if you just pop in for a glass before heading on for a swanky dinner elsewhere.
With views across the water, you’ll find a knowledgeable team pouring gorgeous low intervention wines in a casual but romantic, laid-back setting.
Plates comes from acclaimed chef Joseph Otway, using their own organic produce grown on the team’s sustainable farm Cinderwood Market Garden in Cheshire.
Nestled in an old bank vault in the basement of Gary Neville’s Stock Exchange Hotel, this swanky new bar from the accomplished Schofield brothers oozes charm and seduction.
With dark wood panneled walls, low lighting, sensory cocktails and table service, plus small plates to keep you going through the drinks, it’s a great place to enjoy some romantic drinks on a date – and there are even hotel rooms upstairs.
It feels like this Spinningfields rooftop restaurant needs no introduction at this point, but we’re going to do it anyway.
A glamourous restaurant and bar with a huge, heated outdoor terrace, it sits right at the top of the No.1 Spinningfields building overlooking the swanky glass towers of the business district from its position on high.
Long favoured for date night thanks to its breathtaking views of the skyline, its menu is not to be sniffed at either with a selection of delicious modern British dishes on offer.
If you’re afterr more of a laid-back eatery with a casual setting, Evelyn’s is a great choice – offering a mixed menu of small plates that can be ordered to share or larger ones to enjoy alone.
A popular cafe by day, at night it comes alive in a whole new way – lit up romantically with plants trailing down from hangers above your head.
Evelyn’s also boasts a ‘secret’ bar below, The Daisy, where you can sneak off with your date afterward to enjoy a few cocktails (or wines) in a romantic setting.
El Gato Negro
This AA Rosette and Michelin-recommended restaurant on King Street is a fail-safe date option in our (humble) opinion.
Serving up a mix of tapas dishes split into sections like fish and shellfish, meat, charcuterie, vegetables and para picar, tuck into the likes of Catalan bread, Padron peppers, salt cod croquettas and Morcilla scotch eggs.
Alongside a great wine and cocktail list, El Gato is also known for its sherry and vermouth selection – and both make a great complement to this style of dining.
For an ultra-romantic twist, if you love the idea of having a bit of theatre whilst you eat you can opt to sit at the chef’s table which faces directly into the kitchen.
If you ask us, romance doesn’t have to be all white tablecloths and rose petals – sometimes it’s more fun to get stuck in and share a curry with your loved one.
Since it opened in Manchester with queues out the door, Dishoom has remained one of the city’s most popular curry houses whilst maintaining an elusive, sultry feel – thanks, in part, to its setting within the city’s stunning former Masonic Hall.
Nestle up in one of its many beautiful corners on Valentine’s Day, with walk-ins always welcome.