There aren’t many places in Greater Manchester that sum up the city’s rapid growth quite like Deansgate and Castlefield.
The southern side of the city centre is simultaneously home to our oldest relics as well as our newest developments, with ancient Roman forts rubbing shoulders with our tallest, most luxurious buildings.
It’s faced rapid redevelopment over the years, leading to some incredible new cultural institutions, restaurants and bars, and residential developments.
From strolls along the cobbled canals to nights out with 20p chicken wings to high-brow theatre to phenomenal meals, there’s a lot going on here.
Here’s our guide to Deansgate and Castlefield, a vibrant corner of Manchester city centre.
Food and drink
The Wharf Pub – This purpose-built Castlefield pub offers an oasis in the heart of the city centre. A hop, skip and a jump from the bustle of Deansgate, head down for proper ales, a great gin selection and some of the finest roasts in the city.
Hawksmoor – Not just home to one of the best steakhouses in the city, Hawksmoor also boasts an amazing New York-inspired cocktail bar serving its own food menu alongside perfect martinis, gimlets, mudslides and more.
Federal Cafe Bar – This antipodean coffee shop is known for serving some of the best brunch dishes in the city and regularly has a queue out of the door. It also has a no laptop rule, so be warned – this is not the place to turn up to do a spot of work. Dine and dash only.
Platzki – This brilliant Polish eatery serves an ever-changing menu of authentic dishes ranging from traditional breakfasts to handmade dumplings, pork neck and meatballs.
Siam Smiles – For seriously good Thai food, look no further than Siam Smiles. Having first begun life as a little cafe inside a Chinatown supermarket, it now sits up on Deansgate Mews serving popular dishes like stir-fried chicken Pad Ka Paow and KuiiTiwe Moo Nam Tok. Trust us, you can’t go wrong here.
City Road Inn – This charming turreted boozer sits at the end of Deansgate Locks and dates back to 1898. Whilst it looks big from the outside, in fact, there are just two rooms inside and the decor is rustic throughout, with bare wooden beams, and large murals on the walls.
Katsouri’s Deli – A lunchtime go-to for any office workers within a mile radius of Deansgate, Katsouri’s Deli can be relied on for delicious ciabatta sandwiches, a hot carvery, paella, breakfast and more. It also has a great sandwich bar and deli counter, just to make your decision even harder.
El Rincon De Rafa – This backstreet tapas bar can be found just off the beaten path of Deansgate serving popular Spanish plates like boquerones, chorizo in red wine, patatas bravas, deep-fried olives and more. Tucked underground, it has a rustic charm all of its own.
Rosa’s Thai Cafe – This bright and airy Thai cafe is part of a chain that first began life in London’s bustling Spitalfields district. Opened in Manchester in 2020, dig into a host of flavourful dishes served on colourful plates in a welcoming, stylish space.
Go Falafel – Another great lunchtime spot, Go Falafel basically just serves falafels – as the name suggests. Enjoy yours in a wrap with optional hummus, pickled cabbage, tahini, chilli oil and salad, or on top of a salad bowl. It makes its own juices too, also delicious in their own right.
Gaucho – Whilst Hawksmoor is the undisputed king of dry-aged steaks, if you prefer yours wet-aged then Argentinian steakhouse Gaucho is the place to be. So soft you can cut through it with a butter knife, it also has its own vineyards and offers some unparalleled wines.
Deansgate Square – A new development of glass towers sitting on the edge of Deansgate and Castlefield, here you’ll find a collection of swanky spots to eat and drink, including sushi restaurant Kitten, Southern Italian eatery and deli Salvi’s and high-end cocktail bar Atomeca.
Jimmy’s Killer Prawns – Bringing trap kitchen-style dining to Castlefield, if you’re a fan of shellfish then you need to give Jimmy’s Killer Prawns a visit. Think a mountain of fifty grilled and marinated prawns, seafood platters of king crab, fish, calamari, rice and chips, and so much more. We’re obsessed.
Dimitri’s – A fixture in Manchester for over thirty years, this family-run Greek restaurant serves up all the classics: from mains like moussaka and stifado to grilled halloumi, vine leaves and minted lamb kebabs. If you like a bit of traditional Greek food, it’s definitely one for the list.
Don Marco – A charming old-school Italian restaurant in the very best sense, Don Marco also boasts a gorgeous outdoor terrace that makes it a wonderful spot for al fresco dining.
Sapporo Tepanyaki – Offering diners a bit of theatre with their dinner, meals are cooked in the traditional tepanyaki style – over a hot grill in the centre of your table, with plenty of fire thrown in for good measure.
The Oxnoble – A snug Castlefield pub just a stone’s throw from the Science and Industry Museum, it was first established in 1804 and pub derives its name from a Georgian variety of potato. A great place to watch the football, it also has bedrooms upstairs for those looking for a place to crash at the end of the night.
The Fish Hut – For lovers of fish and chips, The Fish Hut is definitely one to visit. Serving all the classics (think good fried fish, fish & chips and battered sausages) it’s pretty much always busy – a testament to its quality.
The Banyan Tree – This independent familyrun neighbourhood restaurant and bar offers an all-day menu and funky settings with booth seats and contemporary decor.
Dukes 92 – Set in a former stable block, this grill restaurant and bar is a go-to in the summer for drinks thanks to its suntrap balcony and outdoor terrace.
Albert’s Shed – Housed on the site of a former tool shed, this modern bar and restaurant boasts a huge canopied glass terrace overlooking the water in Castlefield. It is a popular spot for drinks in the summer.
Evuna – This Spanish wine bar and tapas restaurant has a cosy feel with high tables, low lighting and exposed bricks, and is known for its speciality salt-baked sea bass.
Nightlife and hotels
Of course, when many people think of Deansgate their minds will conjur up one image in particular – that of Beetham Tower looming over the city.
The iconic skyscraper is home to the 23-story Hilton Manchester Hotel, with floor-to-ceiling windows, and a health centre with a pool and sauna.
There’s also the newer Innside by Melia on First Street, and just a stone’s throw away is the legendary Midland Hotel, one of Manchester’s finest pieces of architecture and accommodation offerings.
When it comes to nightlife, there is of course the strip of canal-side bars along Deansgate Locks, where the likes of Lola Lo, Revolution and El Diablo serve up cheap drinks and party vibes until dawn.
It’s got such a reputation that even global rising star Olivia Rodrigo popped down after her gig in Manchester and hopped up on stage to sing with the house band.
Newly-reopened is The Deansgate, an iconic pub (especially at this time of year when it’s draped in festive fairy lights) that many feared had shut for good during lockdown.
But lo, it’s back open now, with bars and cosy snugs spreading across three floors, plus TWO rooftop terraces, and a programme of events to come.
Those who enjoy a bit of competitive gaming can’t go wrong with Junkyard Golf, where glowing neon graffiti illuminate mini golf courses that weave over scrap metal, emptied-out cars, and even slides carrying you between holes.
Another local gem in this part of town is Lock 91, a former lock-keeper’s cottage turned into a bar and event space, with a canal-side terrace.
And Atlas Bar just across the road has one of the largest gin collections in the city, a variety so large it has to list its gin menu online (we’re talking 500+ bottles).
With a suntrap outdoor terrace perfect for the warmer months, plus other drinks for those who don’t care for gin, this is a great boozer.
In the Deansgate Castlefield area, you’ll find some of the city’s top cultural and tourist attractions, from theatres to museums to historic sites.
There’s the newly-redeveloped Castlefield Viaduct, which the National Trust has taken from abandoned industrial landmark to urban sky park, much like New York City’s Skyline.
Just beneath that are the remains of the roman fort Mamucium, much of which was flattened to make way for development during the Industrial Revolution.
What’s left is now part of the Castlefield Urban Heritage Park, and visitors can see a section of the fort’s wall along with its gatehouse, granaries, and other ancillary buildings.
Just down the road from here you’ll find the Science and Industry Museum, one of Manchester’s best-loved cultural institutions where you can learn about our city’s industrial past as well as scientific breakthroughs and get a glimpse into the future of technology.
It will soon have a new cultural neighbour in the shape of Factory International too, an enormous, world-first arts venue from the team behind Manchester International Festival.
The massive, spaceship-like structure is set to open in June 2023, but revealed details of its first major event this week.
In the super-shiny skyscraper village that is Deansgate Square sits a surprising urban jungle, where vines crawl down the windows and palms tickle your face as you walk through.
This is Flourish’s biggest site yet (most of us will know their hole-in-the-wall florist on the side of the old Debenhams building) and it’s beautiful.
You can buy house plants, pots, flowers and everything else you need to turn your home into a lush paradise.
Deansgate Square is also hone to the most futuristic branch of the General Stores family, described as Manchester’s coolest cornershops.
Up on Deansgate, Futon is a gem for buying furniture at rock-bottom prices, and you can’t walk past the Great Northern without nipping in to buy some homemade chocolate from Dormouse or a pile of cake from Alex’s Bakery.
Yeah, this is an expensive corner of Greater Manchester, no two ways about it – that’s hardly surprising when you factor in all the good stuff going on here outlined above.
The average property price around Deansgate and Castlefield this year was £320,173 (ouch), the majority of which were, predictably, flats.
Three-bedroom apartments in the Deansgate Square towers sell for around £855,000, and rents go up to £8,125 a month for a penthouse as lavish as this.
Rental prices drop down closer to £1000 when you look along City Road East’s smaller blocks, and the red-bricked Castle Quay development is one of Manchester’s most sought-after apartment blocks – check out this two-bed beauty for £2,100.
Deansgate and Castlefield are among the most well-connected locations in the entire region.
There are tram stops at both Deansgate-Castlefield itself (directly above Deansgate Locks) and at Cornbrook, which both connect the area to the rest of the region along the Metrolink network.
There’s also Deansgate train station here, with regular services to the airport, Liverpool, Blackpool and parts of Cheshire.
It’s right off the ring road too, so if you drive you’re never too far from the quickest route around town.
Featured image: The Manc Group
The best things to do in Greater Manchester this week | 6 – 12 February 2023
February is already off to a great start in Greater Manchester, and it’s set to get even better this week.
As a new month gets underway, the events calendar soon becomes filled with all sorts of different activities to be getting up to this week, so once again, we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide.
As always, some of the events we’re going to mention are completely free, while others will set you back a few pounds, and many will need to be booked in advance.
Here’s our top picks.
Fancy catching all the February deals, discounts, and offers in Manchester’s cafes, bars, and restaurants?
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.
If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite this week, we’ve rounded up some of the best Manchester February restaurant deals to take advantage of in 2023.
Never-before-seen portraits of local Holocaust survivors have gone on display at the Imperial War Museum (IWM) North in Manchester.
The new photography exhibition has opened to mark Holocaust Memorial Day 2023.
Following its successful inaugural run at IWM London back in 2021, the exhibition – which is titled Generations: Portraits of Holocaust Survivors – features 60 contemporary portraits of Holocaust survivors and their families, alongside four new photographs taken by The Royal Photographic Society (RPS) President and Chair of Trustees, Simon Hill.
Mamma Mia! has taken over the Opera House Manchester until this Saturday 11 February.
Fancy grabbing tickets to see the world’s sunniest and most exhilarating smash-hit musical? Making a much-anticipated return to our city, fans of the popular films will know Mamma Mia! is set on a Greek island paradise, and cleverly tells a story of love, friendship, and identity through the timeless songs of Swedish pop group ABBA.
Sophie’s quest to discover the father she’s never known brings her mother face to face with three men from her distant romantic past on the eve of a wedding they’ll never forget.
Exhibitions that explore the power of music, and give you the chance to try out an interactive “hands on” gaming experience are just some of the activities on offer at the Science and Industry Museum this winter.
The award-winning museum is invites people to discover 250 years of innovations and ideas that started life in Manchester and went on to change the world. Standout exhibition, Turn It Up: The power of music, is a world-first event giving those curious the chance to explore the science of music’s mysterious hold over us through a series of “immersive musical experiences and interactive activities” at a specially-commissioned ‘musical playground’.
There’s also still time to head on down and check out the stand-out interactive gaming experience, Power UP, and so much more.
Find out more about what’s on at the Science and Industry Museum here.
PUSH Festival 2023
Monday 6 – Saturday 18 February
PUSH Festival has returned for HOME MCR’s annual celebration of North West creative talent.
HOME’s stages, screens, and spaces are being dedicated to showcasing fantastic works from around the region, as well as offering opportunities for creatives to meet industry professionals, share ideas and inspiration, and develop their skills.
This year’s festival is showcasing newly-commissioned works across a range of art forms, including theatre, digital work, visual arts, and cinema.
The festival also includes a series of workshops and other artist development opportunities.
From Moss Side to Marseille: The Art of Michael Browne and Eric Cantona
National Football Museum
Monday 6 February – onwards
Manchester United legend Eric Cantona has set up a special sport-based art exhibition in the National Football Museum.
Spotlighting work by fine artist Michael Browne, who created a series of pieces exploring the relationship between sport, art and modern society, the new exhibition titled ‘From Moss Side to Marseille’ covers everything from “human rights, equality, injustice, the impact of power and elevations to a godlike status.”
The exhibition was commissioned by the Frenchman with the aim of celebrating influenced sporting heroes who used their positions to advocate for social change, even in the face of great personal cost.
RuPaul’s Drag Race UK star Cheddar Gorgeous’ iconic Pink Triangle outfit is on show at Refuge throughout LGBTQIA+ History Month.
Cheddar Gorgeous was applauded for the powerful HIV conversation in the werkroom of Drag Race UK and used the runway to showcase their activism with the bodysuit embellished with pink triangles.
Kimpton Clocktower Hotel and Refuge is also raising funds for its charity partner George House Trust throughout February with an outfit-inspired special cocktail called the ‘Pink Triangle’ – with a donation of 50% from each drink purchased going to the charity.
Cocktails ‘n’ Canvas is hosting a painting party at Vapiano in the Corn Exchange Manchester this week.
Don’t worry if you aren’t too artistic, as the artist will guide you step-by-step through painting your very own Oscar the Ostrich.
An ideal event for beginners and artists alike, and led by the amazing Cocktails ‘n’ Canvas team who will give you as much or as little guidance as needed, he aim is to have fun and leave with your very own piece of art to gift or keep for yourself.
It’s National Pizza Day this Thursday, so the amazing Gatto Pizza will be leading an informative workshop to show you how to make a beautiful authentic Neapolitan pizza in a relaxed and fun environment down at GRUB.
In this session, Gatto Pizza will guide groups through their ingredients and processes for making the perfect Neapolitan pizza, and you’ll learn to stretch and top your own pizza, and will be given a recipe card to take home.
Each ticket includes all the ingredients to make a pizza to stay and eat at GRUB.
Manchester 360º: The Shapeshifters, Kirollus & Supernature Disco
Friday 10 February
Ever wondered what it’s like to dance the night away inside one of Manchester city centre’s most historic buildings?
Well, there’s no need to wonder any longer, as the latest event in JBM Music – the team behind popular city centre venue, Joshua Brooks – and Fever’s newly-launched Manchester 360º series sees the “epic electronic disco” return to Manchester Cathedral once again by popular demand for one night only this Friday.
Top global DJs The Shapeshifters are headlining the event, with both Kirollus and Supernature Disco also gracing the decks on the night as support.
The Hip Hop Orchestra will serve up a mouth-watering combination of hip hop nostalgia, chart-topping R&B goodness, badass BBQ, and luscious liquor at the ultimate bottomless brunch party.
Running every Saturday at The Blues Kitchen in Manchester, you can expect live versions of your favourite tracks.
A range of tasty dishes will be served up, including burgers, fried chicken, and a handful of veggie and vegan options, and then for those really looking to get the party started, there’s an option to add bottomless booze to your ticket – with rum and prosecco for 90-minutes.
One of the biggest Guinness Fan Zones in the UK has arrived in Manchester city centre for the Six Nations, and the best part of all is, it’s absolutely free.
With the beloved rugby union tournament having kicked off on Saturday 4 February and running up until Saturday 18 March, Guinness have brought their popular fan zone to our lovely city – which is the biggest one outside of London – and have popped up at Escape to Freight Island just round the corner from Piccadilly Station.
The space has been transformed into a dedicated area for rugby lovers to watch the match, enjoy a fresh pint of ice-cold Guinness, and get involved with a whole host of other festivities.
You can also read our round-up of all the best places to watch the Six Nations in Manchester here.
Featured Image – Supplied | Cane and Grain | ATG Tickets
The new bars and restaurants opening in Manchester this month | February 2023
We’ve said goodbye to so many brilliant Manchester bars and restaurants already this year – so it’s nice to have some new openings to get excited about.
As the saying goes: when God closes a door he opens a window, and whilst we’ve found it really sad to say goodbye these past few months, there’s hope in seeing new businesses open their doors across the city centre (and beyond).
From the opening of the first Gail’s Bakery site to grace the north west, to the return of the Flawd team’s critically-acclaimed pre-Covid restaurant venture Higher Ground, there is a lot to look forward to this month.
Add in an exciting new kitchen pop-up at Cloudwater pub The Sadler’s Cat, a new Japanese izakaya-inspired bar in the Northern Quarter and a brand new pie and mash cafe, and we think you’ll agree there’s plenty to start feeling chipper about again this month.
Keep reading to discover the new Manchester bars and restaurants to put on your list this February.
Mira, aka as the original home of Manchester’s saucy sandwich, relocates to Cloudwater-owned pub Sadler’s Cat this month with its mouthwatering Neapolitan butties.
Owners Mike and Rhea first fell in love with the rich flavours, culture and history behind the sandwich whilst travelling and felt compelled to bring it home to Manchester, quickly building up loyal fanbase during the pandemic for their saucy ‘Cuzzetiello’ sandwiches.
Popular fillings at Mira include slow-cooked Genovese beef brisket with onions, parmesan and salami; Italian meatballs in a slow-cooked ragu with fresh basil and mozzarella and a vegan-friendly juicy aubergine parmigiana sandwich with rich tomato sauce, cashew cheese and basil.
They’ve also branched out into breakfast sandwiches, focaccia slabs and sides, and serve a regularly-changing Cuzzetiello ‘Wild card’ special.
Gail’s Bakery will open three cafes in the north this year, kicking things off with a new site in Wilmslow, Cheshire this February. Here, Mancs will be able to get their hands on all manner of treats: from its range of sourdough breads (including a ‘wasteless’ loaf made with breadcrumb leftovers), to cakes, pastries, sandwiches and more.
The bakery group already has strong ties with Manchester, having run its sister wholesale bakery The Bread Factory – which supplies bread to some of Manchester’s premium restaurants, cafes and bars – in Openshaw since 2017.
Already well known and loved by its customers in the south of England, Gail’s recently confirmed it would be opening more neighbourhood craft bakeries in Manchester city centre and Altrincham later this year.
The team behind gorgeous Ancoats wine and small plates bar Flawd will relaunch their Higher Ground concept as a permanent restaurant in Manchester’s Chinatown this February.
First launched as a four-week pop-up back in February 2020, it was closed when Covid struck but now the bistro is making a permanent return.
The brainchild of Joseph Otway, Richard Cossins and Daniel Craig Martin, dishes will change on a daily basis depending on the season and showcase organic produce from their very own market garden, Cinderwood, as well as other local producers.
Promising a focus on North West ingredients, dishes will put a focus on small-scale agriculture and small herd, whole carcass cookery, whilst its wine list will center around small-scale, low intervention winemakers from around the European continent.
Set to open in the Northern Quarter this month, Disorder is a new restaurant and bar that takes its inspiration from izakaya bars in Japan.
With a laid-back Asian-inspired menu featuring Japanese sandos with a Mancunian twist and a selection of small plates on offer, Executive Chef Bryan Barber will be cooking a number of dishes on a traditional Japanese konro grill (using a ceramic pot over charcoal) and making all gyoza on the menu by hand.
Watch out for The KFPB sando (made with fried chicken, lemongrass peanut satay sauce, and spiced berry jam) and Buldak fries (loaded fries topped with home made fire sauce, oyster mushrooms, crispy noodles and nori seaweed).
Two thirds of the dishes on the menu will be vegetarian and vegan friendly, with plenty of craft beers on offer and a dive bar-style music venue underground.
The latest arrival to take over the kitchen at Ancoats General Store, as the name suggests Waffle Kart specialise in all things waffles.
From signature waffle sandwiches stuffed with crispy fried chicken to waffle prawn toast and even spam-loaded waffles, plus crinkle cut fries, waffle fries, loaded fries and a host of homemade dips, this is definitely worth a look in this month.
Be fast though, food traders are in and out of here before you can say sesame slaw.
Great North Pie Co
After a lot of anticipation, Great North Pie Co will finally open its pie and mash cafe in Manchester city centre cafe this month.
Moving into garden neighbourhood Kampus just across the water from Manchester’s famous Gay Village, Great North Pie will serve up all the traditional favourites like classic Lancashire cheese and onion, roast chicken and mushroom, and 14 hour braised beef and ale alongside a regularly-changing selection of seasonal specials.
Set to arrive on the cobbles of Little David Street later this month, the cafe will be the first to move into the long-forgotten avenue as it is brought back to life by Kampus developers this year.
End of February, TBC
Founded by former Britain’s Next Top Model contestant Chloe Peers, Crumbled reopens at Hatch on Oxford Road this month – leaving behind its previous home at secret Northern Quarter garden Mala.
A haven for sweet tooths, as the name suggests its menu is almost entirely dedicated to crumble and custard puddings – with a few tasty hot drinks thrown in for good measue.
Making us nostalgic for school lunchtime puddings, find classics like apple and rhubarb crumbled served with a Insta-friendly additions like toasted pink marshmallow toppings, Lotus Biscoff and Rolo chocolates.
Stock Market Grill
This month sees the Schofield brothers, who run the award-winning Schofield’s Bar (among others), take over the former Bull & Bear restaurant space inside Gary Neville’s Stock Exchange Hotel.
Operated by Joe and Daniel Schofield and wine expert James Brandwood, the kitchen will be led by head chef Joshua Reed Cooper, whose CV includes stints at The French, Where The Light Gets In, and Mana.
The Stock Market Grill promises ‘traditional British dishes executed with technique’, with a bespoke menu that will include dishes like whipped black pudding on toast, tartare of rib-eye with caper jam and smoked dripping, steamed cod with caramelised mash, and a sticky toffee tart with honey custard.