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All about Manchester’s Northern Quarter

If being immersed in an electric atmosphere is right up your street, while being surrounded by creativity and fantastic choices for food and drink, then you need to check out Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

With a range of trendy shops, a huge selection of delicious food and drink options, and an eclectic mix of architecture from generations past, the NQ (as the locals call it) is the beating heart of culture and nightlife in Manchester’s city centre.

History of the Northern Quarter

During the 18th century, the Northern Quarter was just a humble urban district. However, throughout the early 19th century, during the boom of the industrial revolution, the NQ became a hive of industry.

By the late 19th century there were over 100 mills in the area, and the NQ was said to be the home of the Victorian night out, with tourists and locals alike coming out en masse to eat and shop.

However, following the First World War, and due to the rising price of cotton, many mills were forced to close. By the 1980s only a small handful of working mills remained, with the empty buildings having since been transformed into the restaurants, bars, apartments, and venues you see today.

"Now, in the twenty-first century, the Northern Quarter has once again become the place to visit for culture, food, and shopping."

This was thanks to the abundance of empty buildings and low rental costs, meaning small business owners could afford to move into the NQ, which in turn began to attract young people into the area. Now, in the twenty-first century, the Northern Quarter has once again become the place to visit for culture, food, and shopping.

Places to shop in the Northern Quarter

Manchester’s Northern Quarter has plenty of quirky, high-end, unique, and independent shops that mean you can spend hours browsing to your heart's content. Including gifts, records, beer, luxury clothes, casual clothes, trinkets, flowers, and arts and crafts, you’re guaranteed to find something you love.

Below are just a few of the great places to shop in the Northern Quarter:

  • Piccadilly Records - since it opened in 1978, Piccadilly Records has been the place in the Northern Quarter to find records from every genre of music around.
  • Rivet and Hide - describing themselves as ‘the destination for raw selvedge denim’, Rivet and Hide has a trendy selection of clothes, accessories, and jewellery.
  • Deadstock General Store - with a range of homeware, office stationery, and even gardening items, Deadstock General store offers an opportunity to find unique and interesting gifts.
  • Beaumont Organic - the home of sustainable, luxury women's clothing, offering something for every taste.
  • Form - Form celebrates creators and craftspeople, offering gifts that have been handmade to be simple and long-lasting.
  • Beermoth - If you’re a fan of craft beers and ales, Beermoth has plenty on offer to wet your whistle. There’s also an on-site bar so you can sample their offerings there and then.

Restaurants in the Northern Quarter

Feeling peckish? Whether you’re looking for Michelin star dining or a quick bite of fast food, the NQ is home to a variety of culinary options. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the mood for pizza, curry, noodles, steak, tacos, pasta, or an old-fashioned roast dinner, you’ll certainly not go hungry. Take a look at some of our picks below.

  • 63 Degrees - chef Eric Moreau serves up classic French dishes with a modern twist in this Michelin star, family-run restaurant, which also offers cooking lessons every Sunday.
  • V-Rev - looking for all the choices of an American-style diner but with fully plant-based options? V-Rev has a menu bursting with vegan burgers, fries, hot dogs, and kebabs.
  • Trof - despite the name you won’t be eating from a trough, but you will enjoy breakfast, brunch, and delicious roast dinners.
  • This and That - described as a hidden gem, This and That’s menu varies depending on the day you visit, cooking scintillating home-cooked curries.
  • Northern Soul - if simple, honest, filling, and delicious food is your thing, then Northern Soul is for you, offering crispy, gooey grilled cheese sandwiches, wings, and mac and cheese.
  • Sicilian NQ - Offering a selection of sumptuous pasta dishes and a bottomless brunch, experience a taste of Italy in the NQ.

Bars in the Northern Quarter

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a craft ale with friends, a glass of wine with the other half or revisit your youth playing retro video games, Manchester’s Northern Quarter bars offer all kinds of experiences and atmospheres. Take a look at just a few options below.

  • NQ64 - from Street Fighter to Time Crisis, enjoy a few beers or a cocktail while playing a selection of retro arcade machines and consoles.
  • The Crafty Pig - craft beers, nibbles, and a friendly atmosphere, The Crafty Pig offers a bottomless brunch and a chance to watch live sporting events.
  • 7 Sins - with a big cocktail menu and games including Shuffleboard and Pool, 7 Sins has an exciting, lively atmosphere.
  • The Whisky Jar - providing live music and a wide selection of bourbon and scotch, The Whisky Jar is an exciting venue in the NQ. It’s also home to a regular whisky festival.
  • Foundry Project - with bottomless brunch, pizza, and a drinks menu as long as your arm (and then some), Foundry Project has a basement bar perfect for hanging out with friends.
  • Dusk til Pawn - part pawnshop, part bar, this chic venue is full of character and provides a wide range of delicious drinks.

Other cool things to see and do in the Northern Quarter

In between all the shopping, eating, and drinking you’ll be doing while immersed in the Northern Quarter, there are plenty of other things to see and do. Below are just a few of our favourites.

  • Craft and Design Centre - a community of hands-on creatives, the craft and design centre is home to all manner of designers and craftspeople, and regularly hosts exhibitions.
  • Street Art NQ - The Northern Quarter is home to inspiring street artists who have filled the area with incredible artwork. Follow the handy map to see some incredible street art.
  • Greater Manchester Police Museum - An interesting insight into the history of Manchester’s police department.

Renting in Manchester with UNCLE

Manchester’s Northern Quarter is bursting with history and culture, and has enough places to eat, drink, and shop to last a lifetime. By living in the heart of the NQ you’ll have all these incredible places right on your doorstep. Learn about UNCLE’s Manchester apartments and discover how you can immerse yourself in the heart of Manchester.

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