Manchester’s hidden gems

Paige Tucker | 30th April 2017

Manchester is the place where the old and the new come together, the weird and the wonderful perform all over the streets and the people shop ’til they drop. But what Manchester isn’t as well known for is its vast amounts of amazing bars and restaurants hiding away.

In fact some of the best restaurants and bars in Manchester are often the ones hidden, either in plain sight or down a road you would never think to go down.

The first place I went to was one of the ones that is down a road you would never think to look at. But it is definitely a diamond in the rough.

Wood and Company bar  on South King Street. They give nothing away about the bar on their website, just like the building it is situated in. It is tucked away between high buildings and scaffolding so it’s fair to say this is not easily found, but it is also one you shouldn’t miss. The staff at this bar are so dedicated to creating some of the best cocktails in Manchester that they even make their own chocolate to add into them!

Some of the cocktails I tried included:

-Running with the devil £7.50- A spiced vermouth, amaro and chilli liquor cocktail which gives you a lovely warming sensation.

-Full moon £7.50- A mojito lovers dream, minty, full of vodka and evened out with a hint of lemon grass.

-Aztec gold £9- Infused with specially crafted chocolate syrup (home-made) with a chilli and cinnamon twist.

-Doo wop £7.50- A more bitter drink over crushed ice. This citrus drink makes you crave more with every sip.

-Cotton socks £7.50- White chocolate, tequila and coconut milk blended together to create a strong but smooth cocktail.

-Midnight cowboy £7.50- Irish whiskey toned down with blackberries and some of their delicious home-made chocolate.

So if you want a cocktail that can be suited to your likes and dislikes, has had an insane amount of dedication gone into it and will get you feeling good in no time then wood and company bar is the place you need!

The second place I went to visit was The English lounge. Whilst the restaurant/bar may not be hidden so much itself its beer garden certainly is! The English lounge is located at the side of the Arndale on High street and is often a place you dozily look at when on the tram. It has a northern quarter location, making it the perfect place for catching a few drinks after a long day of work or shopping.

Whilst less fancy then other places, The English lounge cocktails are absolutely delicious, but you’ll have to ask the staff if you want one as they’re not made known, not even on the drinks menu! We went on a Thursday and were pleasantly surprised that there was a lovely live band playing some brilliant songs. This really added something special to the atmosphere at the bar and was great for a little sing-a-long.

Some of the cocktails I tried and loved were:

-Amaretto sour- Perfectly sour and sweet, making you both pull a face and straight away want more.

-Mojito- Your typical mojito, because why try change something that is already perfect.

-Woo woo- Fruity goodness with a kick, these are ones to watch out for as you can never taste the alcohol.

-Cosmopolitan- The perfect amount of Vodka and cranberry juice mixed together to create a fresh tasting cocktail, perfect for summer!

Pornstar martini- Another great one for summer or spring! A passion-fruit and vodka mix served in a tall martini glass.

Make sure to give it a try next time you’re passing through and remember to check out their secret beer garden!


After all those drinks you may be wanting to find a nice place to eat. Well lucky for you I found a couple of amazing restaurants too! The first one I went to was The Oast house, a beautiful and rustic restaurant where live music is played every day of the week. It shares the same owners of the Botanist restaurant, which means you can guarantee amazing drinks, lively atmosphere and those delicious hanging kebabs.

Located across the river in Spinningfields, Crown Square, The Oast house is tucked down a path surrounded by tall buildings. This makes it have a romantic atmosphere as you feel like you are the only people around for miles. It is also the perfect place to go with friends in the summer, as they have a huge marquee outside with loads of seating areas and an outdoor stage for live music in the summer! If you fancy going then some of my favourite menu items are…

-The hanging salt and pepper pork kebab £12.50- Very tender, full of flavour and the optional pour over sauce and seasoned chips nicely compliment it.

-Sweet potato and and spiced lentil pie with curry sauce £11.50- Comes with deliciously seasoned chips and it has an award winning flavour that does not disappoint.

-Baked chocolate chip cookie dough with toffee ice cream £5.50- This is a must try! It is the best cookie dough I have ever had, its warm, gooey and has salted caramel poured over it.

-White chocolate and peanut butter mousse with chocolate and ginger crumb £5.50- Similar to cheesecake but without that heavy feeling. A perfectly light dessert after a scrumptious meal.

So if you want to eat at a place that ticks all the boxes, then check out The Oast house in Spinningfields!



The last place I went to was called Côte Brasserie on Saint Mary’s Street. This place is massively shielded from House of Fraser and so isn’t a restaurant that would normally catch your eye. However, the Paris inspired restaurant boasts of authentic French classics made from great quality, fresh ingredients and you can tell that is correct.

We started the night off with some olives and bread, then after deciding what to eat we were quickly served our meals which consisted of:

-Calamari £6.50- A bread-crumbed squid sautéed in garlic, lemon and parsley with tartare sauce which completely melted in the mouth. Hands down the best calamari I have ever had!

– Seared Scallops £9.95- On the April special menu. Beautifully served on a bed of frisée salad, bacon lardons , and a warm Puy lentil, tomato and garlic dressing.

-Half Char-grilled ‘Breton’ Chicken £11.50- Tender chicken that easily falls off the bone, served with chips and a lightly dressed salad.

-7 oz Fillet £19.95 – Amazingly flavoursome and tender beef, served with chips and a sauce of your choice (we chose peppercorn)

-Tarte au Citron £5.75- This is perfect for when you’re really full but are still craving some dessert. It’s full of citrus flavours, light and served with Normandy crème fraîche and raspberries.


Other hidden restaurants and bars in Manchester you should check out include: 17 below, Wash House, Dusk Till Pawn, Austalasia and if you want to go somewhere new and exciting then try The rose rooms.  It is the new concept from the famous Botonist chain and it sounds amazing! There is already one open in Alderley Edge, but now one is opening in Didsbury, meaning you can get your fix of Caorunn G&T’s or try the special Rose room sangria Friday’s and Saturday’s till late!