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Food and drink in Manchester

Even a decade ago, Manchester wasn’t widely revered as a cutting-edge culinary destination. But luckily for visitors, nowadays the city has a fantastic selection of award-winning bars and restaurants to explore. From third-wave coffee shops to world-class craft breweries, from cool cocktail lounges to ambitious restaurants, you’re going to need to carve out time to visit these top culinary destinations in Manchester.

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The best restaurants in Manchester

It’s an excellent time to be a food lover in Manchester. The city’s culinary scene is blossoming like never before, and its top restaurants are deliciously diverse. From casual eateries like Bundobust, which slings wickedly good Indian street food, to Home Sweet Home, a cosy comfort food emporium, excellent eats in Manchester are often blissfully affordable. That said: if you do want to treat yourself, Adam Reid at The French serves Michelin-worthy fare, while Hawksmoor plates up the city’s best steaks.

The best restaurants in Manchester

Cocktail bars in Manchester

Manchester’s reputation for clubbing and late-night debauchery precedes it—but this is a city that also knows how to put together an excellent cocktail menu. Sip throwback tiki concoctions at The Liar’s Club, browse the extensive gin list at Gorilla’s Gin Parlour, indulge in the speakeasy ambiance at Dusk Til Pawn, and drink in the lofty views from Cloud 23.

A connoisseur’s guide to cocktail bars in Manchester

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Sweet treats

Have a sweet tooth? In Manchester, you’re in luck: there’s no shortage of places to pick up a sugary treat, no matter the time of day. Stop for afternoon tea at the Tea Hive, where you’ll have towering trays of cakes and other nibbles to choose from. Then there’s the Chocolate Café, which does what it says on the tin, and Hey Little Cupcake!, where creative cupcakes come in flavours ranging from honeycomb and nutella to red velvet and lemon meringue. 

Manchester: Where to get your sugar fix

Manchester craft beer

The British craft beer scene is going from strength to strength, and nowhere is that more evident than in Manchester. For starters, the city is host to the Independent Manchester Beer Convention, which ranks among the best craft beer festivals in the UK (and which is also hosted in the picturesque Victoria Baths, a beautiful local landmark). Then there’s hometown hero Cloudwater, a young upstart that’s already been ranked by RateBeer as the fifth best brewery in the world. Add in the bottle shops, beer bars, and other sudsy stops, and it becomes clear: sampling the local brews is a Manchester must.

Cafes and coffee shops

But beer isn’t the only beverage that Manchester takes seriously. The city is also in the midst of a serious java obsession, which is good news for visitors who can’t go without their daily flat white fix. Takk — an Icelandic-inspired coffee shop — nails the Scandi vibe, while Fig + Sparrow is both a coffee shop and a lifestyle store. Would you rather have a cuppa than a cappuccino? Not to worry: North Tea Power caters to caffeine swillers of all stripes.

Manchester in a day for foodies

Image credits:

The best restaurants © Adam Reid @ The French

All other imagery © iStock