Few things are more nerve-wracking than a first date. So many things can go wrong – a bad hair day, a spot on the end of your nose, a fabricated Tinder picture. Well, there’s little we can do about those but we can guide you towards Manchester’s best places to take those first tentative steps into a new relationship – or simply a one-off night of fun and frolicking, whatever takes your fancy.
And it’s not just the footloose and fancy-free who’ll benefit, nothing spices up a steady relationship than date-night. We’ve scoured the city for the best venues, whether you’re looking for a quick lunch break or a full-blown evening of sensual romance. That’s one responsibility out of the way, the rest is up to you.
Here are our picks
Pot Kettle Black, Unit 14, Barton Arcade Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 2BW - Visit now
Pot Kettle Black is based in one of Manchester’s more attractive shopping arcades, the Victorian Barton Arcade – an immaculate mosaic of cast-iron and glass. It’s ideal for those oh-so casual lunchtime meet-ups, craftily giving the perfect opportunity to see how you feel about this person in the cold light of day. And if it’s a no, don’t fret, Pot Kettle Black have an excellent menu for daytime dining. The eggs benedict comes highly recommended.
HOME Manchester, 2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 4FN - Visit now
Of course, a date can be about more than filling your face. And this is where HOME comes in. A superpowered replacement for the much-loved Cornerhouse cinema and cafe, this multi-layered arts venue boasts two theatres, five cinema screens, a large gallery, bar, cafe bar and bookshop. What better way of assessing your date than by their reaction to the latest arthouse film or theatre production? If their knowledge of Wes Anderson and Chekhov passes the test celebrate by nipping upstairs for a bite to eat.
The French, The Midland Hotel, Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M20 2DS - Visit now
Certainly not first date material, unless you’re really showing off, The French is top of the pile when it comes to romantic high-end restaurants in Manchester. Subdued lighting, wonderful food and cheerful friendly staff combine to make this a guaranteed fuzzy-feeling big night out. Sure, it doesn’t come cheap, but who’d put a price on love?
Teppanyaki Chinatown, 58-60 George St, Manchester, M1 4HF - Visit now
Struggle with that all-important first date patter? Let Teppanyaki Chinatown take the strain. Part-theatre, part-incredible food, there’s enough going here on to ensure there won’t be any awkward silences. And if it isn’t working out, you’ll likely be sharing a table with some other people so you can simply flirt with them instead. Don’t judge, life’s short enough as it is.
The Whitworth, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M15 6ER - Visit now
One of Manchester’s most awe-inspiring buildings, and 2015 museum of the year, The Whitworth is a must for lovers of modern art and moreso for potential modern lovers. Is your paramour a tortured Bacon or a humdrum Lowry? Find out here. Our up-to-the-minute exhibitions guide will help to show you the way.
Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5WW - Visit now
Prefer your nights out a bit more wild and boozey? Gorilla is your one-stop-shop for all your food and drink needs. A favourite with the city’s students and twentysomethings, the atmosphere is always upbeat and just on the right side of rowdy.
Harvey Nichols’ Second Floor Brasserie, 21 Cathedral Street, M1 1AD, Manchester, Manchester, M1 1AD - Visit now
Bringing a touch of class to the dating scene, Harvey Nichols is the number one choice for those who like the finer things in life, but don’t want to come across as trying too hard. However, if you first met your date at the Pig & Whistle in Wigan, you might want to think again.
Flok, 5 Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN - Visit now
Laid back and sophisticated – but not too sophisticated – Flok is a good casual option for date-night, boasting a relaxed atmosphere and wide range of quality drinks. Plus it’s fairly new and undiscovered – perfect if you’re all about earning brownie points.