From the city that brought you Oasis and The Smiths comes a hip, grunge, and quirky neighborhood: the Northern Quarter. While we did travel around Manchester – even into the suburbs – we mostly hung out in the part of the city that we felt most comfortable in, the hipster region. The Northern Quarter is a wonder with offbeat cafes, vintage shops (you must go to Afflecks!), art galleries, and bars hiding in alleyways. Here are two places not to miss in the Northern Quarter of Manchester.
Dinner #1: A Place Called Common
Situated just off the main road, A Place Called Common is a bar with an uncommon atmosphere. The walls are decorated with coasters, as well as weird animated cartoon artwork – they host exhibitions. It has a grungy vibe with lively British punk music playing in the background. It had a pub feel to it, with people of all ages chatting over pints. Their food and drink menu was fantastic and eccentric. I had the pulled pork Korean tacos and fried pickles, which were both flavorful and spicy. The prices were really nice, too: £6 to £8 pounds a meal. And their beer and drink selection was astounding with wine, and cocktails, and eight or so different beers on tap! I had Birrificio, a beer from an Italian brewery. A Place Called Common proved the perfect place to unwind from our adventures that day.
Dinner #2: North Tea Power
North Tea Power on Tib Street is a lovely cafe with a light, calming atmosphere. They have a large selection of loose-leaf tea, which they sell as well. I ordered a White Hairy Monkey tea and a Japanese Sencha Cherry Green tea to take with me.
Their teas come on a wood board with a glass infuser teapot and a tiny cup. The food was delicious; I had the Frittata of the Day (Cauliflower and Four Cheeses), while my friend ordered the Ham and Cheese French Toast Panini. The art was amusing: three concrete grey panels the exact same colors as the walls behind them. They also serve soups, salads, and sweet stuff. Overall the prices were decent, and the experience was relaxing and casual – some people were even working away on their laptops.
And thus we departed from Manchester, wishing to come back. Though it was cold, the quirkiness of the Northern Quarter captured our hearts.
Samantha Emily Evans