Manchester’s rich and colourful history has long provided a fount of artistic inspiration for its citizens, and the city’s bohemian Northern Quarter has assumed the creative mantle effortlessly through its mix of quality boutiques and café culture.
Its location, just a brief foray from Piccadilly station, should encourage even the least intrepid of visitors, and the mélange of arts-based activity is a big hit with much of the city’s population. Vintage style peppers the Quarter, with burlesque dance classes, tea rooms, and bars devoted to decades past. The biggest draw is the many vintage shops along Oldham Street, Dale Street, and Affleck’s Palace, where days can be spent foraging for the perfect dress to team with a boxy Zara blazer and vertiginous Kurt Geiger heels. Prices vary and cater to all tastes – whether you’re microbudgeting or after that one-of-a-kind 1950s dress, boutiques as Tib Street’s Curiouser & Curiouser, Oldham Street's Flannels Clearance or Church Street's Affleck’s Palace will be sure to satisfy your needs.
Vintage style is big in the Quarter, with many bars devoted to past decades. I’m expecting to see plenty of Forties-style prints and Sixties style shift dresses in Manchester as we go into party season, combined with a variation of glittery shoes, sequinned boleros and a slick of dark lipstick. A mix of high-end and high street vintage will be the key sought-after trend this season.
The women of Manchester certainly have an eye for style and this is echoed in their choice of Friday night attire, which fluently takes them from office to bar in an array of different, unique looks.
Watch our video below to see Sarah's favourite night-time looks.
See Sarah's recommendations of the best bars in the Northern Quarter below.
Walrus is whimsically decorated with technicolour polka dots and tropical fish tanks. Visit between 5 and 8pm for £3.50 fully customisable cocktails – try the Um Bongo to take your tastebuds back to primary school lunchtimes twisted with whichever spirit takes your fancy.
Not for the faint of heart! This tiny tiki-styled bar has an uproarious atmosphere, with revellers often spilling out onto the street outside. By far the best mojito in Manchester, but beware of buying a soft drink – the bell will clang and you WILL be ridiculed by the raucous bartenders.
Common is a cool, laid-back den, serving continental beers and cocktails. This bar supports local artists by hosting exhibitions, and also encourages its customer to be creative, too – you can submit artwork to be featured inside the bar, or even to cover its 2 x 6m outside wall.