Manchester is many things to many people – the hometown of Oasis, a LGBT+ dream, (arguably) home to the most famous football club in the world.
But it's also a treasure trove of floral walls, neon signs and catwalks, so grab your girls, pop in your hair rollers and apply the fake tan because Manchester is a fantastic place to wile away a weekend with your girls through retail therapy and cocktails. Here are some of the best spots to visit during your weekend away.
[Originally posted on September 6 2019, updated on 8 February 2021 and 15 May 2023]
Go for: Dinner or Cocktails
Described as an ‘immersive dining experience’, Menagerie was one of the favourite places I visited during a weekend in Manchester. Neon signs, a catwalk, floral walls and a ball pit bath – paired with delectable small plates and bespoke cocktails - – it’s got everything you could want.
Every Friday and Saturday from 7.30pm, a range of performances from dancers, burlesque, contortion and more grace the catwalk that runs through the dining tables giving you the best seat in the house!
Go for: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner or Cocktails
Bier, Bohemia and Bavaria - that's Alberts Schloss. According to Manchester's first Bohemian bier palace, cook haus and bakery, the high German noun 'Schloss' (while translated as Chateau or Manor House) is interpreted as 'indulgence, pleasure and debauchery'.
After a long drive up North, we decided to refresh at the bakery with a coffee and a cake, but would definitely return for an evening of debauchery – we spotted dancers on tables in the evening, and a ‘push for prosecco’ button.
P.S. There's a free photo booth by the toilets.
The Wash House
Go for: Immersive Cocktails
Taking on a whole new meaning to 'airing your dirty laundry', The Washhouse is a secret bar fronting as a launderette. The cocktails are extremely unique, but be sure to pay a visit to the disco toilet and take a ride down the hidden slide!
Go for: Food and Cocktails
This contemporary Asian restaurant has incredible decor with its lifesize blossom tree and modern finishings. The food is absolutely delicious, offering light bites best shared with friends, with great tasting cocktails served in unique ways.
Go for: Food, Cocktails and Photo Ops
It's boujee baby! We snuck in this final brunch at this pink paradise. Boujee is an Instagrammer's dream, with barbie boxes and photo booth ready to get snap-happy. But we were also pleasantly surprised with the food, we opted for some smaller bites to share partially due to nursing a hangover, but the food was delicious and the staff were very attentive.
Go for: Immersive Drinking Experience
Whatever your reason for a girls trip, Alcotraz is a really fun group activity. Smuggling in your own liquor, you don an orange jumpsuit before being shown to your cell. The drama unfolds around you, as the kitchen crew serve up contraband cocktails in your cell - just don't tell the warden!
Go for: Cocktails
We originally came for lunch on one of the hottest days of the year in the UK, we found lunch is a little expensive but if you arrive for the midday opening, you can just head to the terrace to enjoy a cocktail overlooking the city. We later found out that they do offer set lunch and dinner menus.
Recommended cocktail: the Manchester Tart Punch
Go for: Late-Night Snack
Imagine a fast-food restaurant for pink fiends, and this is Archie’s. Like something out of a movie, pink burgers, pink shakes and pink interiors with neon signs make you feel like you’ve stepped out of an American Rom Com!
Go for: Dessert
Lazy Sundae is a small dessert place that opened in May 2021, serving up premium bubble tea, souffle pancakes and artisan ice creams. Head to this tropical paradise for the lightest, fluffiest pancakes you've ever tasted! I opted for a flavour-filled sundae.
Go for: Breakfast, Brunch and Desserts
Based in Manchester's Northern Quarter, Gooey opened its bakery and cafe in 2020. Pop-in for their signature baked goods, or sit in for their delectable menu of French toast, bacon sandwiches, and much more