(*Disclaimer: I haven’t been out much in the past year, what with the Nipper and all, so this might not be terribly current)
Let’s start off with a bit of Manchester love:
10. Teacup & Cakes, Thomas Street. Everything you might require in a tea shop: proper loose leaf tea, fish finger sandwiches, pie, and oh god the cakes. And Mr Scruff’s tea. I love, love, love this place, except when I am on a diet.
9.Oklahoma Cafe, High Street. Why yes, I think I will have one of your milkshakes and then spend the rest of my lunch hour frittering away my hard-earned cash on your lovely trinkets, thank you kindly.
8. Cornerhouse, Oxford Street. I will confess, sometimes I go to the Printworks, have a large glass of cheap white wine in Lloyds and then watch an animated film whilst eating a week’s worth of calories in Ben & Jerry. This fills me with shame. Going to the Cornerhouse for a glass of wine, a pizza, and (usually) something more cinematographically challenging and inspiring makes me feel infinitely more sophisticated and cultured than I in fact am.
7. St Ann’s Church and Square. Sneak out of a concert rehearsal at the church and sneak in a swift vat of wine at Tom’s Chop House. Drink gluehwein and eat bratwurst at the Christmas markets. Have a latte in Starbucks whilst pretentiously pretending to write your novel. Sidle into Space NK, look at the pretty things and sidle out again without buying anything. That’s how I roll.
6. Bridgewater Hall. It was a toss-up between this and the MEN but the Bridgewater tips the balance for the best gig I have ever been to (Elbow and the Hallé), also for not being at the arse end of Victoria Station.
5. Manchester Town Hall/Albert Square. Beautiful neogothic building (I know FA about architecture but bees mosaics in the floor and stars painted on the staircase ceiling do it for me). Great for weddings, speaking from personal experience. Also, Albert Square great for drunkenly dancing across with your new spouse the day after your wedding, before retiring to the Midland Hotel (again speaking from personal experience).
4. Cuba Cafe Bar on a Saturday night. Over 30? Been drinking at Sam’s all day (see no. 1)? Drunk enough to think you can dance? Not drunk enough to embarrass yourself in front of young people? Cuba Cafe is awesome – soul, motown and rock’n’roll if I remember correctly (I had drunk an enormous of wine), cool decor and an over-25s policy. Best Saturday night out since the Brickhouse closed down.
3. Northern Quarter. OK, this is a cop-out non-specific entry, and bits of it can be a bit too cool for school, but no visit to Manchester would be complete without including this eclectic, bohemian mix of bars, restaurants, shops etc. It also has a wool shop. (I told you I wasn’t cool).
2. Location location location. Another cop-out entry, but where else in the country can you access, so easily, all of the following: Scotland, the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, Wales, the Peak District, even (gasp) London?
1. Sam’s Chop House. This has to take first place. Proper wine, proper wine glasses, proper pub, proper food, and Lowry at the bar.
What I have missed? Answers on a postcard please… (or just comment below).