Manchester has a rep within the UK for being an incredibly cool, and dare I say it, ‘hip’ city. With a buzzing night life, a huge number of amazing restaurants and bars, and a thriving arts scene, Manchester is the ideal place to spend a weekend away. Seen as the embodiment of Northern hospitality and friendliness, with an incredibly laid-back, easy vibe, it is a relatively cheap city to visit compared with those down South, and it is possible to spend a few jam-packed days exploring and enjoying the city without breaking the bank. With a new easyHotel recently opened in Manchester and rooms going for as little as £19 a night, cheap accommodation is a given. With money left to spend, you’ll be able to experience all of the gems the city has to offer.
Here are just some of the things that make Manchester the perfect spot for a weekend break...
Simple, delicious food
While like most of the larger UK cities, Manchester boasts all of your typical ‘foodie’ spots – extremely fancy (and slightly pretentious, dare I say it) restaurants, where a starter costs £20 – it also plays hosts to a number of more relaxed joints that pride themselves on serving good food in a friendly, casual environment.
Here are just a few of our favourite places to check out:
Almost Famous (5 minutes walk from the easyHotel)
Quirky, edgy, eclectic, vibrant and young, Almost Famous serves a variety of sinfully delicious dishes. With a menu that is broken down in to ‘Burgers’, ‘Not Burgers’, ‘Crack Wings’ and ‘Fries’, you know exactly what to expect.
Simple classics are jazzed up, so ‘Fries’ are not just your simple fried potato, but waffle fries with pulled pork, jalapeno, red onion, redneck BBQ and a blue cheese sauce; while burgers such as the ‘Filthiest Show in Town’ (cheese, chorizo, pepperoni, fried mozzarella, shoestring onion, parmesan, Mumma’s red sauce, French’s mustard, and Dynamite) move well beyond your standard meat patty and cheese.
If you’re looking for something fun to do while enjoying a killer burger, Almost Famous also offers cocktail master classes for a minimum party of 6 people. With the motto ‘arrive hungry…leave drunk’, how can you resist?
Alabama's All American Eatery (ONE minute from easyHotel)
While this low-key restaurant has a great range of lunch options, it is their breakfast that is the absolute winner. Offering the usual classics such as eggs benedict, omelettes, and your Full English, it is their sweet dishes that really steal the show. With a wide rage of toppings available on either a base of buttermilk pancakes, vanilla waffles or French toast, we suggest either the caramelised bananas, candied pecans, toffee sauce and Chantilly cream, or the classic smoked streaky bacon and Canadian maple syrup.
With reasonable prices, and a relaxed vibe, Alabama’s is a must. Literally a minute’s walk from easyHotel Manchester, you can go from bed to sitting in front of a stack of pancakes in a few short minutes.
Yard & Coop (5 minutes walk from easyHotel)
This spot does booze and chicken, and they do booze and chicken WELL, living up to their motto ‘We don’t cluck about’. Alongside their ‘secret recipe’ buttermilk fried chicken, you’ll find your classic sides like wings, chips, slaw, onion rings, as well as larger plates including burgers, salads etc. With plenty of choice, fresh, deliciously cooked ingredients, and friendly service, Yard & Coop is the perfect place to head for a relaxed meal.
Unique, quirky bars
With a reputation as the best party city in the UK, Manchester is teeming with bars and clubs that cater to everyone’s taste. If you’re interested in heading out and seeing where the night leads you, head to the Northern Quarter, Deansgate, or The Gay Village, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a plethora of options. If you’re looking for a few specific suggestions, here are a few of our favourites:
The Alchemist (6 minutes walk from easyHotel)
Head to The Alchemist on New York Street to start your night off with a cocktail or two. Described as ‘a celebration of the unconventional, dark & controversial’, this is not your typical friendly local pub. The Alchemist is all about theatre and mystery. Their website reads:
‘At The Alchemist we’re masters in the dark arts of molecular mixology and demons in the kitchen. Our mixologists create every cocktail with an obsessive eye for detail, presented in vessels orchestrated to add a devilish dash of theatre, they bedazzle, bewitch and set the scene for everything we do.’
Located in Spinningfields, the bar plays off of the area’s history as a ‘den of iniquity’, as it used to be the area of town dedicated to drinking and debauchery, hosting gin and ale houses (as well as opium dens).
While drinks are not cheap, The Alchemist is an unusual and interesting spot, perfect if you want to try something different and get into the Manchester vibe.
Cloud 23 (20 minutes walk from easyHotel)
This cocktail bar boasts ridiculously good views of the city from the 23rd floor of the Beetham Tower. It’s not cheap though, so reserve this one for special occasions, or head here for just long enough to enjoy the spectacular view and soak up the vibe before heading to one of the cheaper surrounding bars.
Amazing shows & entertainment
With plenty of theatres and music venues, there is always something great (and cheap) to see in Manchester. Covering music, comedy and theatre, you’re guaranteed to find something that stirs your fancy.
Here are just a few options:
The Comedy Store (20 minutes walk, or a 10-minute tram from easyHotel)
This 500-seater comedy club has live comedy every weekend night for amazing prices. Showing some of the UK’s best comedians, enjoy a two-hour show with 5 different stand-ups on a Friday and Saturday.
If you fancy having dinner before the show, catch the second slot on a Saturday starting at 21:30. For £12 a ticket (£8 concession) this is a great way to start your evening off before heading for drinks.
The Apollo (20 minutes walk, or a 10-minute bus from easyHotel)
Easily accessible from easyHotel, the O2 Apollo hosts a number of great acts throughout the year. Check out whether any of your favourite artists are playing anytime soon and plan your trip around it. With The Maccabees in June, Jack Whitehall in July and The National in September, there is some music and comedy well worth visiting Manchester for.
Manchester Academy (30 minutes walk, 15-minute bus from easyHotel)
This smaller, more intimate venue is located around the university buildings, and is famous for the stellar musicians they host. In the last two months alone, the venue has seen Loyle Carner, The Naked and the Famous, and Izzy Bizu. Acts coming in the next couple of months include Dua Lipa and The Pigeon Detectives.
Manchester Arena (15-minute walk, 10-minute tram)
The next few months line up is looking alright, to be honest – The Kings of Leon, Radiohead, Linkin Park and John Legend just a few making an appearance.
Palace Theatre (15 minutes walk from easyHotel)
Book a show at this incredible old theatre and soak up its history. Built in 1891, it has been home to the famous full-length musicals, whimsical revues and extravagant pantomimes of the ‘30s, hosted the stars of opera, rock and roll, ballet and be-bop in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and put on world famous productions of Guys and Dolls, Hamlet, Look Back in Anger, and The Dancing Years.
Great galleries & museums
The National Football Museum (10-minute walk from easyHotel)
Whether or not you’re a die-hard football fan, this free museum is well worth a visit. It’s packed with forgotten gems and iconic football pieces such as the World Cup trophy. There are also plenty of interactive sections where you can see yourself lift up a virtual Premier League trophy, commentate on Match of the Day or take a penalty shoot. You can also test out your skills by trying out different tasks and exercises assessing your passing, target practice etc.
Bear in mind that people tend to underestimate just how much there is to do and how long they will want to stay, so be sure to allow yourself enough time.Manchester Art Gallery (10 minutes walk)
This iconic gallery is worth visiting just for its stunning architecture. With a collection spanning six centuries and including modern, contemporary pieces, there is a range of art covering every era and culture. Check out the website for information on the latest exhibitions and events.
If you have any spare time in between all of this, check out our previous post on ‘Unusual things to do in Manchester’.
So get planning your city mini-break to Manchester and book your room at easyHotel now.
October 2017 | Insider’s Guide
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