The Best of the Northern Quarter Bars, Manchester

The Best of the Northern Quarter Bars, Manchester
Dale Street, Northern Quarter

I have just moved away from one of the greatest cities in the UK – Manchester. I lived there for three years and really fell in love with the city, in particular the Northern Quarter and it’s laid-back vibe. I remember finding it difficult to find recommendations (and just any general information) of the best of the Northern Quarter bars when I first moved there and have only really discovered them by walking along every street and back-street!

In my opinion, all the best bars are in the Northern Quarter (who wants to go to Spinningfields where the masses go ;-)) so I thought it might be helpful to put together a brief guide of my favourite ones 🙂 I’ve also added a few ideas of accommodation at the end of the post for anyone looking for somewhere to stay.

Dale Street, Northern Quarter
A garden-themed bar with chunky wooden tables and a laid-back vibe. They specialise in gin and have a gin cocktail of the week (which are always heavenly). Excellent hearty pub-grub too if you’re in need of a feed. A great after-work/early evening bar.

Dorsey Street, Northern Quarter
A small and cosy bar with beer-keg tables and great cocktails. Probably attracting a slightly younger crowd than many of the other Northern Quarter bars. A great basement area too with eclectic music and available for hire.

The Best of the Northern Quarter Bars, Manchester

Newton Street, Northern Quarter
Located in a gorgeous Grade II-listed building with beautiful copper fixtures and fittings paired with dark blue furnishings. A loud, buzzing bar with a good selection of beers and cocktails. There’s a large kitchen at the back which does fantastic japanese fusion food if you’re feeling peckish.

Dusk Til Pawn
Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter
A former fortune teller’s den, this bar is most definitely quirky. The outside has been made to look like a pawn shop, complete with an old TV and Fender guitars in the windows. There are only 7 or 8 tables but this is never an issue as you wouldn’t know it’s there until you’re in it so it rarely gets over-crowded. A large spirit selection and their ‘Pawn’ Star Martinis are to die for.

Did you Know?
Manchester is the birthplace of the computer, Top of the Pops and the football league….

El Capo
Tariff Street, Northern Quarter

Over 200 tequilas. Need I say more! Mexican-themed with some great decor and latin beats – it’s easy to spot on Tariff Street from it’s illuminated red cross on the outside. There’s a great little restaurant downstairs serving mexican street food. Taco tuesdays are a bargain with tacos at £1 each.

Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter

Classy speakeasy drinking den with fun bar staff, comfy sofas and top-notch cocktails. Old black and white movies are projected on the wall and there’s live jazz at the weekends. Notoriously hard to find, it’s entrance is on Little Lever Street, above Rosy Lee’s tea rooms.

Tariff Street, Northern Quarter
One of the first bars in the eastern end of the Northern Quarter, it paved the way for many of the others that are now along Tariff Street. Industrial-feel with exposed brickwork, leather booths and interesting artwork on the walls, it also has a large selection of artisan beers and a good wine list. Good DJ’s spin the soul tunes on weekend nights. Definitely one of my favourite Northern Quarter bars.

Did you Know?
Lonely Planet’s ‘Best in Travel’ 2016 ranked Manchester as one of the top 10 travel destinations in the world…..:)

The Best of the Northern Quarter Bars, ManchesterThe Pen and Pencil
Hilton Street, Northern Quarter
A lively bar with resident DJs on friday and saturday nights playing a soulful mix of tunes. Pssst…..they do superb weekend brunches too, the smoothies are fabulous.

Tariff and Dale
Tariff Street, Northern Quarter

The Tariff and Dale gets it’s name from being located on the corner of these two streets (so you’ll never forget where it is) in an imposing Victorian textile warehouse. There are a number of nods to the origins of the bar inside including a hydraulic fabric press at the entrance. It’s a friendly bar with an extensive drinks selection including carefully made cocktails.

If you are looking for places to eat in the Northern Quarter, then I have some great recommendations in the following post:

Places to Eat in the Northern Quarter

And I’ve also written a post on a guided walk round the Northern Quarter:

Walks in Manchester City Centre – The Northern Quarter

Accommodation Suggestions

I’m not an expert on accommodation but I do know of these three options for different budgets:

Lushpads Apartments – beautiful luxury apartments right in the centre of the Northern Quarter with period features typical of the area.

Abel Heywood Boutique Hotel – a nice, cosy small boutique hotel in a great location between the northern quarter and the city centre. A great restaurant on-site too, especially cosy in the winter months.

Hatters at Hilton Chambers – if you’re on a budget and don’t mind a hostel, this is a great option. There are private rooms as well as dorms and it gets its name from being situated in an old top-hat factory. There are two branches down the road from each other – Hatters at Hilton Chambers is quite a bit nicer than Hatters Manchester so be careful which one you pick.


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16 Replies to “The Best of the Northern Quarter Bars, Manchester”

  1. Wow! I can honestly say that if I were to ever travel to the Northern Corner, Manchester I would honestly go to these places! They seem very nice. I trust that these places will live up to the hype! Thanks for the info! Please if you could possibly add more places areound the UK that are unique and cool to go to that would be great! Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi William,

      Where are you from? The Northern Quarter is so characterful and is my favourite area in Manchester. All the bars have such a good vibe, I can’t recommend them highly enough! This blog post is actually the first of a series I am doing called ‘I love Manchester’ so there will be more to come! I also hope to be writing a lot more posts on things to do in other parts of the UK soon too 🙂

      Many thanks for your comments!


  2. Manchester looks like an amazing and beautiful city! And wow, the birthplace of the computer to boot? Who knew?! You’ve most certainly piqued my interest and I’ll definitely being doing some research of this city before my next trip across the pond. Thank you for all of these detailed recommendations. I’m getting excited just reading them!

    1. Hi Mike,

      I’m glad you enjoyed my post! London always gets all the attention so I like to try and promote other bits of the UK 🙂 I’d definitely recommend a trip to Manchester, please let me know if you decide to visit – I’d be happy to give you more recommendations.


  3. Wow, sounds like I’ll have to make a trip to the Northern Quarter, Manchester!!

    I had no idea Manchester is the birthplace of the computer… very interesting! I really like the Stevenson Square… who would have know… a former fortune teller’s den… that would be my first stop..

    My next stop would be the Cottonopolis… that Japanese fusion foods smells great already!

    The entire area seems quite quaint… Bar hoping sounds fun!

    Thanks Louise… I’ll add this in my To Do Bucket!!

  4. I actually have some family members who live in the UK right now. The funny thing about them is the are very particular about how they want their drinks and and where to get them. Haha. So I’ll definitely go ahead and let them know about this site. The may even take a trip to Manchester to take a look for themselves.

  5. Thanks for your review! I would love to visit Manchester and will definitely keep these in mind if I ever visit. These sound like they are set in such a quaint area, and I love your description of these bars-they all sound like they have their own unique vibe. Cottonopolis and Fitzgerald’s both sound particularly entertaining. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Jessica,

      Let me know if you’re thinking of coming for a visit – I’d be happy to give you more recommendations 🙂


  6. I would like to take my family to Manchester during the summer as one of my boys is a Manchester United fan.

    The problem that we usually encounter is that very few hotels specifically cater for families of 6 people.
    Do you know any hotels in Manchester that are family friendly?

    1. Hi Kristian,

      I know the Abel Heywood Boutique Hotel that I recommended is family-friendly – and also the mid-range chain hotels such as the Novotel etc.

      Other than that I would say your best bet is to get an apartment – there are many 2 bed apartments in the Northern Quarter such as Lushpads as I mentioned above – or The City Warehouse Aparthotel or The Light Aparthotel.

      Air BnB has some good options too.

      I hope that helps! Please let me know if you’d like any more info.


  7. This is great for me because i just had a friend move to manchester and he has been there for over year and still not to familier with the downtown core. I am going to visit him soon and told him about your site. He hasn’t heard of some but we are going to give them a try.

  8. Ever since I started watching Coronation Street I’ve been planning a trip to England. It will be a present to myself hopefully in the near future.
    This is a great overview of spots to visit in Manchester. You have helped me to narrow down my itinerary even more. 🙂
    Do you have any recommendations for sightseeing in this area?

    1. Hi Stella,

      That is indeed a great show! The northern quarter is lovely to wander round, there’s a lot of interesting street art, some unusual gift and craft shops and some great cafes and restaurants. All the main sites such as buildings, churches and museums etc are a short walk away from the northern quarter so it’s a great place to base yourself in.

      I hope you make it to England soon!


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