Make the most of your time in Manchester by visiting some of the North’s most distinctive restaurants, pubs and sights. Sarah Riches recommends ways to get under the city’s skin so you can experience some of the best the area has to offer, and enjoy it like a local
Opus One at Radisson Edwardian
Tuck into gentlemen’s afternoon tea at this five-star hotel, opposite the conference centre. With its Oriental screens, fans and red chandeliers, the restaurant reflects the city’s close ties with the Chinese community, but the high tea couldn’t be more British. Fill up on miniature Yorkshire puddings with Cheshire beef and onion gravy, pork pies with bramley apple chutney, and fish and chips. Then wash it down with a cuppa - or a pint of local cask beer.
Free Trade Hall, Peter Street, M2 5GP radissonedwardian.com
A glass pyramid guides you to the subterranean dining area of this Australian restaurant, which is lit by candles and oversized lights. When it opened last June, Australasia filled a gap in the market for fine dining that blended flavours from the Pacific Rim. The menu changes twice a year; head chef Phil Whitehead says his most popular dish is the roasted barramundi with scallops, clams and vegetable noodles. On expenses? Then opt for the premium wagyu fillet, for £60.
1 The Avenue, Spinningfields, M3 3AP australasia.uk.com
This family-run curry house, opposite the Museum of Science and Industry, specialises in Pakistani dishes such as lamb tawa. Its founder adapted recipes from his father’s restaurant in Lahore to bring authentic dishes from his native country, which chefs cook in an open kitchen. Try its most popular dish, lamb nihari - a joint left to simmer overnight in onions, garlic and ginger.
Vicus Building, 73-83 Liverpool Road, M3 4AQ khanbaba.co.uk
The Oast House
With its corrugated tin roof, outbuildings and reclaimed barrel tables, you’d think you were in a farmhouse in Kent if it weren’t for nearby skyscrapers. Built to resemble a traditional oast house, where hops were dried, this gastropub is, in fact, in central Spinningfields - Manchester’s trendiest spot. Locals flock here for real ale, specialist wheat and fruit beers, perries and ciders. Try Harvest Vintage, a 11.5% local ale from JW Lees.
Crown Square, Spinningfields, M3 3AY, theoasthouse.uk.com
The Yacht Club
Open from April to September only, this pop-up bar styles itself on those of the Riviera. And just like its French counterparts, it has an outdoor wooden-decking sun terrace with deckchairs and white leather beds - so all you have to hope for is continental sunshine. The wine list is limited, so come here for Pimms. The bar hosts weekly outdoor screenings every Thursday - on
17 May, it’s Strictly Ballroom.
Hardman Square, Spinningfields, M3 3HF yachtclubmcr.com
CAMRA didn’t vote this watering hole Pub of the Year 2010 for nothing - it has a piano, dartboard and live acoustic bands, cider and perry on pump, and its guest ales change weekly. Landlord Tom Taylor says The Angel’s friendly atmosphere is down to the pub’s commitment to support local businesses. “All our beers come from British micro breweries,” he says proudly. He recommends trying Bob’s Brewing Company’s White Lion ale.
6 Angel Street, Northern Quarter, M4 4BQ theangelmanchester.com
New Manchester Walks
The Underground Manchester tour explores subterranean rivers and canals, an abandoned tube line, a 1950s atomic bunker and Second World War air-raid shelters. You’ll learn about Manchester’s role in the Cold War and where the Nazis planned to build their HQ.
Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI)
Housed in a former rail station, the MOSI is an interactive museum five minutes’ walk from the conference centre. Here you’ll learn about the city’s industrial past as you browse its collection of steam mill engines, early aircraft and cotton machines. Highlights include the planetarium and 4D cinema.
Use real golf balls and clubs to practise your swing, and hit the ball as you would at St Andrews - but then watch it course through the air on a computer. There are 46 courses to choose from, including the USA’s Oakmont Country Club, one of the world’s toughest.