A Guide To Manchester's Northern Quarter


I've written a lot of articles about Manchester, from the best places to brunch to my ultimate city guide, but have never really drilled down to the neighbourhoods. Over the coming weeks and months I'll be bringing, well writing, more detailed guides and tips of the different areas of the city, starting with one of my favourite and most visited - The Northern Quarter, or as locals call it, the NQ.

The NQ is known for its old architecture, independent stores, cute coffee houses, hipster vibes and one hell of a good night out. And unbeatable food. These are the places I know, love and can't stop visiting.


Stevenson Square

A small square in the heart of the Northern Quarter - it's a hub for everything the district has to offer - street art, outside beer gardens, independent shops and pizza slices.


Probably the most colourful shop in Manchester selling the quirkiest gifts, interesting books, home interiors and everything in-between. Even if you're not in the market to buy anything, it's a feast for the eyes to browse alone.

Edge Street

When the sun comes out, this little road is such a sun trap. It's also jam packed with cute tearooms serving great cake, independent stores and some of the best breakfasts in town.

Dale Street

Google Dale Street and you'll see it's been featured in many a famous film and TV show. Why? This particular street looks like it wouldn't be out of place in Manhattan with its fire escapes, red brick and old architecture. The most recent famous face seen around these parts was Jared Leto in the upcoming Spiderman movie.

Afflecks Palace

A treasure trove of independent retailers, cafes, clothing and art over several floors in an iconic building. It's got the famous Manchester quote tiled on the outside, so check that out too.


Form Lifestyle Store

Off the beaten track is this quaint, gorgeous lifestyle store selling tote bags, prints, home pieces and beauty buys.

What to do

Play ping pong at 2022

2022 has DJs, great music, a huge underground space and a ping pong hall. On Mondays it's usually free to play and it gets hugely popular so be prepared to wait. It's around a fiver a game and some nights you have to pay entry to get in after 9 or 10pm so bear that in mind. It's a lot of fun and a rare find to have a venue this size in the Northern Quarter.

Play games at NQ64

One of the latest additions to the NQ, the aptly named NQ64 is an underground haven for gamers. Blink and you'll miss this place as it's hidden away between other bars. From Crazy Taxi to Tekken and the Dance Mat, there's all the old school games you know and love to get your hands on. You buy tokens once you're there to play and there's a small bar to grab a drink or three from. It gets rammed at peak weekend times so if you want your say on which game to play next, head there midweek ideally.

Take in the street art

The Northern Quarter is bursting with talent and amazing street art. It's around every corner, literally and you can google your favourites to seek them out or take it easy and naturally stumble across them. Artists frequently update what's on offer so it's ever changing.


Where to grab a coffee


This quaint coffee house and brunch spot is that popular, they now have two branches in the city centre. You can't book a table but it's the perfect place for people watching and grabbing a coffee. The customer service here is second to none.


Ezra & Gil

Also opening a second branch this year, Ezra & Gil has become a big deal in Manchester. With plenty of window seats and great coffee, it's a great spot to lose a couple of hours.


A beautiful and minimal interior meets good coffee and cute events including movie nights and yoga sessions.

Where to get work done


Takk is a hidden haven to get some peace and quiet. They serve food, cakes and coffee and is a great place to buckle down and get that to-do list ticked off.

Idle Hands

A relatively new venue, Idle Hands is a spacious find serving food, coffee and so much natural light to motivate you to crack on. They sell some art and plants so you could come away with some new bits for your home too...

Fig & Sparrow

A popular lunch place come coffee house and alternatively somewhere to bring your work, laptop or a book.


Where to brunch

Ezra & Gil

Forever top of my list - what can I say, I'm an unofficial Ezra & Girl ambassador. They serve everything from porridge to a full english and the simple eggs on toast. It's fantastic value for money and is so delicious. There's no-where else I'd describe as my go-to. You can't make bookings here which is the only downside, but hopefully the expansion of the second branch will mean walk ins become easier. It gets especially busy at the weekends, as you'd expect.


A mouth-watering brunch menu, a quirky open space and a fully stocked bar make for one heck of a brunch. Great place if you've got a big group.



A two floor intimate bar come restaurant serving up a cracking Eggs Benedict - the ham hock is delicious. Staff here are super friendly and they do quiz nights once a week.

Where to eat

Tariff & Dale

Each week Tariff & Dale run Giro pizza for two hours on a Friday. From £9 you get unlimited pizza and a soft drink and if you pay a little more you get a beer, wine, gin copa or cocktail included. It's one of my favourite lunch deals in the city mainly because I love pizza, and theirs is pretty good. I recommend the air-dried ham and cheddar pizza since you're asking...



If you're into your burgers, your hot dogs and your halloumi fries - check out Solita for moreish food and naughty treats.


Another pizza shout out - this time to Ply - a sizeable restaurant and bar just off Stevenson Square. They do happy hours and plenty of great pizza - what more could you want?


Mackie Mayor

A beautiful converted hall with various food vendors, perfect for large groups. It's not a cheap eat but the food is good quality.


If you're a fan of tapas, head here. There's two branches across the city and aside from their lunch deals, their tapas is reasonably priced and extremely tasty. Plus anywhere you can get sangria is a bonus for me.


Hip Hop Chip Shop

If you're after some seriously naughty food, head to The Hip Hop Chip Shop which is a cool take on your usual chippy tea. From the standard fish'n'chips to battered halloumi fingers - go with stretchy pants and an empty stomach. It's a great idea, cool venue and tasty food.


Where to drink

Northern Monk Refectory

Formerly Kosmonaut where I spent a good three years of my life pretty much every Friday night. It's a huge space with delicious wines, ale and a photobooth. It's a lovely, laidback vibe in here and if you fancy a change of scenery, there's half a dozen neighbouring bars next door.



Just off Stevenson Square sits Patron - the semi new kid on the block. The interior is a delight, they have a cute outside terrace and have live music nights. Drinks aren't expensive and the vibe in here is always upbeat.


Think live DJs, luxe interiors and fancy food. The Japanese inspired bar is a polished piece of the NQ and comes with a well stocked bar with gorgeous cocktails.


Where to go out

El Capo

Come the weekend, El Capo really livens up with DJs and good times. It's an intimate bar so gets busy quickly but well worth a dance and a few rounds of drinks.


My go-to place for a dance in the Northern Quarter. Another small venue but the throwback hip hop and r'n'b make this a fun place to hang out with your other half or your friends. Plus it has a hidden rooftop upstairs open during the day. Be prepared to queue to get in here at the weekends during peak time.

Cane & Grain

Cane & Grain is a great place for those undecided on what type of music you want, because there's three very different floors. The main bar on the ground floor, a hidden science & industry bar on the first floor and a tikki bar on the top floor. So if your group has different tastes, you can split off for a little bit to see which vibe you like best.


  1. Ahh I miss Manchester so much! The Northern Quarter has changed loads since I lived there. Solita is hands down one of my favourites for food but I love going to Jimmy's. They do a really good honeycomb beer. Danielle xx || www.missdanielle.com


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