Manchester: Food & Drink
It’s official, us Mancunians are the best when it comes to food and drink. Don’t believe us? It’s a proven fact that we make the best cups of tea, and we’re pretty confident that our excellent brewing ability translates across the board. When you’re heading out for food and drink in Manchester City Centre, you’re guaranteed a winner – whether it’s chicken dinner, a Michelin star experience, or a round down the pub. We promise, it’s not just chat, Manchester City Centre is where it’s at.
What makes the Manchester City Centre Drinks scene so great?
Good food and drink is part of our city’s history. Ever been to The Peveril of the Peak? (or ‘The Pev’ as it’s affectionately known by regulars).
The Pev has been a registered public house since 1830, and it’s got a history longer than your arm.
Rumour has it that it was a drinking hole for Manchester City Centre factory workers in its early years, a place they could drink a few pints, sink a pie, and be off. In the Second World War it was used as a brothel by young soldiers, but luckily the seedy past didn’t put off Nancy Swanick who has celebrated 50 years at the helm of The Pev, and is one of the UK’s longest serving landlords. She’s kind of an icon. Nancy has kept The Pev feeding and watering it’s patrons for five decades and her legacy is set in the Grade II Listed stone of Manchester City Centre’s drinking scene.
The Pev is just one special drinking venue in Manchester City Centre, but we promise you there are so many more. We’ve put together our top 5 places to drink in the city centre, anywhere you pick the drinks will be just right, but here’s some venues with a special Mancunian touch.
Top 5 places to drink in Manchester City Centre: #1 Schofield’s Bar
Feeling fancy? You deserve award-winning drinks, and at Schofield’s Bar that’s what you’ll get. Brothers Joe and Daniel Schofield have the titles ‘Bartender of the Year’, ‘International Bartender of the Year’, ‘Bartender’s Bartender’ and ‘Best International Bartender’ between them. They’ve opened Schofield’s at the iconic Sunlight House following their lifelong ambition to open a bar in Manchester City Centre, their hometown, where people can get the best drinks in town. You’ll be served cocktails refined over a combined 25 years of industry experience, alongside locally sourced cheese and charcuterie boards, or during the day you can choose from fresh pastries from Manchester’s infamous Pollen Bakery.
Top 5 places to drink in Manchester City Centre: #2 Bundobust
This one’s for those with adventurous taste buds. Bundobust is the Oxford Road venue that’s been secretly brewing their own house beers over lockdown and have now unveiled their unique pints. Head Brewer, Dan Hocking, has used lockdown to experiment with tastes that complement the Indian dishes served at the restaurant. The bespoke beers include a coriander lager, masala chai porter and tropical pale ale – all available to drink in the Manchester City Centre venue when you feel like taking your taste buds on a trip.
Top 5 places to drink in Manchester City Centre: #3 Feel Good Club
For a drink and a mood boost you should try Feel Good Club. This Manchester-based mental health collective is guaranteed to put a smile on your face with their Insta-worthy venue and mental health trained servers. Founders Kiera and Aimie made screen printed clothing with uplifting quotes on from their bedroom before opening Feel Good’s doors in Manchester’s City Centre in 2020, offering a range of drinks and vegan-friendly food. They’re passionate about offering a space where the servers are equipped to identify and support those in need. Whether it’s coffee and a pasty or brunch and a cocktail their bar is stocked with locally sourced spirits, which will be sure to lift yours too.
Top 5 places to drink in Manchester City Centre: #4 Haunt MCR
Stop right there. Manchester City Centre has just the place for you to drink from sun up to sundown. Haunt MCR has got plush booths for you to park yourself on from early morning to late at night, and they’ve got all of the drinks you need to accompany you through the day. Having secured funding during lockdown for their one-of-a-kind concept, they’ve opened their doors so you can sit at a shiny quartz-topped table and stay all day if you like. They’ve got exceptional North Star coffee, an extensive list of cocktails to quench your post-work thirst and a selection of wines from Italy.
Top 5 places to drink in Manchester City Centre: #5 Escape to Freight Island
You can always count on Manchester City Centre to provide the most exciting and unique drinking venues, and Escape to Freight Island is possibly one of the most unique in the city.
Manchester City Centre’s Award Winning Food Scene
Some people think the North is just chippy tea and lots of gravy (which, fair play, we love) but a true northerner knows the Manchester City Centre food scene is one of the best in the world, especially when it comes to eating out (and yes, that experience often includes a lot of the above too).
In fact, at 2021’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival they served mammoth sized chippy teas alongside wine and fizz, an Oktoberfest takeover, and pub grub from the only UK chef to ever win TWO Michelin stars, Tom Kerridge. The four day Food and Drink Festival is different every year but it always envelops Manchester City Centre and serves dishes so good it lives up to its national attraction status. There’s all the food you could wish for, live music and finally an app that brings the food festival to your fingertips like never before.
Don’t forget, when you come to eat in Manchester City Centre you’ll be eating in a city with a Michelin star, and we’re absolutely buzzin’ about it. The city’s first Michelin star in 40 years was quite a journey, and in many peoples opinion that was absolutely ‘criminal’ because Manchester City Centre is home to food institutions that’re more than worthy of note. But when restaurant Mana was finally awarded one it was an incredible moment for Manchester’s food scene. The Michelin star just proves that from chippy teas to delicate sea foam we serve an unrivalled food experience. We’ve put together just a sprinkling of where to go for an ‘only in Manchester City Centre’ food adventure.
Top 5 places to eat in Manchester City Centre: #1 Rudy’s
Take your taste buds on holiday because Manchester City Centre is home to the pizzeria that’s been named the fifth best pizzeria in Europe, yep you heard us. Rudy’s is serving better pizza than you could find in good old Italia except this way you don’t have to pay for flights. They’ve been praised for taking pizza to new levels for the last six years, and they’ve been doing so well they’re expanding across the UK, but there’s only ever one home for Rudy’s and that’s right in the heart of Manchester. Their dough is a labour of love, letting it double ferment for 24 hours, topped with the highest quality San Marzano tomatoes grown next to Mount Vesuvius and Fior di Latte mozzarella with a banging small cocktails menu to compliment your feast. There’s a reason locals know it’s the best pizza in Manchester City Centre, give it a try yourself and head to the Ancoats pizzeria.
Top 5 places to eat in Manchester City Centre: #2 Ducie Street Warehouse
The centre of Manchester serves you great food and amazing venues with Ducie Street Warehouse is no exception. It’s a restaurant tucked away in a very cool warehouse where professionals sit tapping away at keys with iced coffees. But when you get to the terrace, perfectly situated to soak up as much sun as Manchester City Centre has to offer, you strike gold. Chef Andrew Green and his team are a bit legendary on the Manchester food scene, many of his chefs have worked with him since their youth and Andrew cares about their future as pros.
You can get delicate calamari or lobster mac and cheese. Or if you’re like us you’ll choose to devour an 800g Porterhouse steak and a 1kg wheel of baked camembert. We won’t ever forget the ox cheek croquettes, served with a pot of dipping gravy. The restaurant is constantly switching up the menu with in season ingredients, meaning it’s always fresh. Anywhere that sells giant wheels of melted cheese, and anything with gravy will always have a special place in our hearts.
Top 5 places to eat in Manchester City Centre: #3 53Two
It can be hard to choose the 5 top places to eat in Manchester City Centre because everywhere is special but 53Two is bringing a whole new level of community care to diners. The new bar is tucked under the arches by Great Northern Warehouse delivering a swanky vibe with upcycled furniture, a vintage baby piano and it’s very own ‘artists members club’ meaning after 11pm those in the cultural sector will be able to enter via a secret member’s only door for a post work drink.
Food you can get anywhere but 53Two has been designed with accessibility at its heart. All of the bar staff are trained in basic sign language skills and can take orders and explain the menu to hearing-impaired guests. The card readers have tactile pads installed for partially sighted customers, and all of the bar tables are designed at a level that fits wheelchairs comfortably with the rest of the venue also wheelchair accessible. It also has what is going to be the city’s first artist only accessible theatre space. Oh, and it’s dog friendly so it really is a venue with everyone in mind.
Top 5 places to eat in Manchester City Centre: #4 Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar, People’s History Museum
Culture and lunch! What more could you want? There’s a gem tucked away inside of the People’s History Museum which is sustainable, ethical and delicious. The Open Kitchen Cafe & Bar isn’t your average Manchester City Centre food experience, but it probably should be. Founder and Director Corin Bell offers a truly ethical experience, where there’s no menu. The reason for no menus is not a gimmick, it’s because the cafe works with a huge range of food businesses up and down the supply chain and intercepts food that would have ended up in the bin turning it into hearty, delicious meals. From wholesalers to farmers to factories and supermarkets, they’re touching every point of the food chain to make sure nothing goes to waste. Apparently it’s not easy being green but this place makes it easier for us. Go and tuck into a thick cut bacon sandwich at breakfast or a hearty and delicious daal for lunch. Take a chance and tuck in to whatever’s on the ethical menu!
Top 5 places to eat in Manchester City Centre: #5 Bada Bing and Lazy Tony’s
Okay so this is technically two places you can eat in Manchester’s City Centre BUT it’s because they’re both run by the same Italian/American, Sopranos loving couple from Manchester. Tucked away in Ancoats, Bada Bing and Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria, are serving you food you could only dream of.
Bada Bing is providing the people of Manchester City Centre with sandwiches SO big you need two hands at all times. They’ve even got a sandwich that’s served with its own pot of, you guessed it, gravy. Lazy Tony’s has a daily queue down the street filled with people waiting to get their hands on giant slabs of gooey, cheesy and tomatoey lasagne as well as mozzarella sticks so big you’d think you’d gone to heaven. Basically it’s great food, independent and incredibly popular. You’ve simply got to try it for yourself.
There’s a lot going on in the Manchester City Centre food and drink scene and you can keep up with all of it over at The Manc Eats!
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