Manchester is one of the largest cities in the north, and these days offers a pretty damn good escape from London with plenty of fun to be had. A rich heritage of music dominates the city’s culture, along with football and an industrial past that it wears proudly on its sleeve. Here are our recommendations for a weekend of eating and drinking in the city where anyone with an idea can change the world…

Found in the Northern Quarter of the city, Trof does all day dining that is set over a three-story red brick building. Their menu offers all sorts, from small plates, brunch and dinner options and even has vegan black pudding (it’s a thing up here). Their dirty grilled cheese is very naughty: imagine a melted sea of cheese that spills like a wave onto the board it’s served upon. It’s cheese heavy with a smearing of dijon and a maple glaze for a bit of a kick. Larger dishes include katsu curry and a highly recommended chicken and chips that come with a whole boat of chicken gravy. Quirky cocktails are dotted all over their drinks menu with a watermelon Tommy’s margarita getting a nod from us as well as rhubarb and lychee creations, twists on classics and all the regs.

8 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1EU


Hidden within Cane and Grain is a secret door that leads you upstairs to the decadent cocktail bar. The science of simplicity is their mantra, fancy pants when it needs to be but never unnecessarily. Their menu is split into three parts; ‘easy’ for those wanting a safe option and familiarity, ‘intrigue’ for those a little more daring with exotic ingredients; and then ‘rewards’, designed for proper proper drinkers, stealthy and boozy, the type that will put hairs on your chest – that includes you ladies. A stand out would be their ‘You Feta Believe It’, a savoury sour concoction influenced by the Mediterranean.

49, 51 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA


Indulgence, pleasure and debauchery are encouraged at the Bavarian-inspired Wunderbar and cook haus that is Albert’s Schloss. These guys live for pilsner, they love it so much so they make the 1500 mile trip every week to fill the 4 x 900-pint copper tanks that sit in their bar. Hats off to that. Food is rustic and simple, done very well and definitely something different for the city. With an in-house bakery they have plenty to show off about with their breads and pastries and their full English breakfasts are created with kaiserwurst and rostis. You just can’t go wrong here.

27 Peter St, Manchester M2 5QR


The Refuge is a collaboration between Electrik and Volta, Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey, aka The Unabombers and The Principal Hotel, which results in one of the best food and drink offerings in town. Inside the Grade II listed Victorian building, built back around 1890, is an adult play den for foodie, drinkers, inner-city workers and visitors alike. Inside is simply spectacular, super huge ceilings, impressive columns, original tiles and lots of natural light. It is epic with a very cool contemporary winter garden in the centre, their Public Bar and The Dining Room, where food with flair comes in. Check out their sharing roast on Sundays and make sure you go hungry, really hungry. We loved this place.

Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA


Found on the ground floor of the Indigo, Mamucium, named after a former Roman fort in the Castlefield area of Manchester, is an all-day dining restaurant and bar that serves up modern dishes with a Mancunian twist. The bar is a marble and gold semi-circle with plenty to offer from their signature cocktails list though they were more than happy to knock us up drinks that weren’t listed. Dinner shout outs go to the beef wellington which is made for sharing, it’s pretty big and those blackstick blue dauphinoise potatoes are something else.

6 Todd Street, Manchester M3 1WU


Located just a hop, skip and a jump from Victoria Station is Hotel Indigo, housed in an original Victorian building that boasts many original features and benefits from modern contemporary design. Just look up when you reach reception. Set over 13 floors the views from the balconies overlooking the rooftops of the city are excellent and watching Manchester turn into night mode it very cool. The rooms are compact, smartly designed and super comfortable, with a bed that offers a dreamy night’s sleep, trust us.  It’s a great location, set right in the Northern Quarter, the design is great and pretty affordable with rooms starting from £63.93.

6 Todd St, Manchester M3 1WU