Best Bars in the Northern Quarter, Manchester

Elle and Laura

I lived in Manchester for three and a half years, and one of my favourite things about the city is the nightlife. In fact, Manchester is probably my favourite city for a night out in the UK.

I love how it’s so diverse – whatever kind of night out you want in Manchester, there’s an area for you. Whenever I go out, I’m faced with one of two choices:

  • Dress up in my nicest dress and highest heels to sip cocktails at the sophisticated bars in Spinningfields
  • Embrace the “casual” look (if you can call velvet platforms casual), for hipster nights out in the Northern Quarter

Both areas offer a very different feel. Personally, I think Manchester does cool and casual very well, and I find myself heading straight to the Northern Quarter more often than not.

I’ve tried lots of bars in the Northern Quarter, and love the fact that there always seems to be a new place opening. With all this choice, it’s hard to pick where to go to; but these have to be my absolute best bars in the Northern Quarter!

Science and Industry

Science & Industry, Cain and Grain

49 – 51 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1NA

No sooner than you push open the doors of Cain & Grain, you’re hit with a strong tiki vibe (and aside from Aku Aku in Oslo, I really can’t STAND tiki bars. The sticky floors, the smell of rum… eww!). When you head up to the top floor bar, there’s an even tikier-tiki bar feel (I’m saying that’s a word).

So why do I like Cain & Grain so much? Well, I simply head to the left of the bar and push what seemingly looks like a wall… except it’s a door to the secret bar – one of the best bars in the Northern Quarter!

Nestled in between the two floors is Science & Industry, a prohibition-style sophisticated cocktail bar. The décor is very sophisticated with dark colours and paintings; and it’s table service only.

Being the old person I am, I like the fact that you have to wait to be seated at a table, and the music is loud, but not so loud that you can’t actually have a conversation.

I’ve had a few cocktails on the menu but my favourite one has to be the North Pole: cocoa butter fat-washed Portobello Road, violet liqueur, coco-almond syrup, fresh citrus, dried strawberry and amaretto soda dust. It’s definitely different, but I always keep ordering it!

Right now, if I could only pick one bar to go back to in Manchester, I would say Science and Industry. It has to be the best bar in the Northern Quarter!

Dusk til Pawn

Photo credit: Dusk til Pawn

Dusk til Pawn

Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN

I’ve been going to this place for years, and watched it grow in popularity. It’s a very small bar, and unless you knew about it, you’d probably walk straight past it. Despite it being on Stevenson Square (aka THE centre of Northern Quarter), the front is decked out like a pawnbroking shop, with not a hint or suggestion that it could possibly be a bar.

They’ve got such an amazing choice of cocktails – I love the Milk Money (tastes like you’re drinking a milkshake!), and the Salted Caramel Martini.

Back in the good old days, there was this one bartender who would always give us free drinks whenever we went. Sadly, he’s gone – I hope it wasn’t because he gave away so many of them…

Free drinks or no free drinks, I’m sure a lot of people would agree with me when I say it’s one of the best bars in the Northern Quarter.


Photo credit: Kosmonaut


10 Tarriff Street, Manchester, M1 2FF

This goes down in history as my favourite hipster haunts. The amount of times we’d go in here just to “people watch”…

It was the first bar I ever went into in the Northern Quarter on my own accord (let’s forget that first week in Freshers’).

The bar is always really busy at the front, but if you head round the back there’s a second bar with lots more tables.

With so many cocktails on the menu, it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Oh, and the food is pretty good too.

These have to be my best bars in Northern Quarter, although I had a hard time picking as there are so many great places to go and grab a drink.

What do you think are the best bars in the Northern Quarter? I’d love to know!

Elle Pollicott

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