Gwen Riley Jones

Father’s Day in Manchester and the North

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

Father’s Day has a special significance this year, falling the day before that fateful day, Monday 21st June, when we understand all restrictions will be lifted in the UK. That means it’s a time for a double celebration and a great excuse to treat your dear old dad to something extra special after a year-and-a-bit of stringent lockdown measures. Of course, we’ve been allowed to dine inside for a few weeks now, so there’s no better time to take the whole family out for a meal (providing there are six or less of you).

With this in mind, we’ve sourced some of the best father-friendly restaurants, pubs and events to explore on this late-June weekend – with every single digit crossed for good weather, after the torrential downpours of May 2021. You can choose from everything from high-end steak joints to refined vegan dining, axe throwing to the latest greatest blockbuster releases at the cinema. Let’s face it, you know your dad better than anyone so take a look through the selection below and choose the one you think he’ll appreciate the most.

And Father’s Day isn’t just another made-up gimmick to sell products and greeting cards, it actually dates back to the Middle Ages so show some respect for papa and treat him to something nice. We all know dads are difficult to buy for – how many World War II documentary DVDs can one man watch? – so an experience-led gift is the way forward, whether that be a nice meal or a high-octane day out with the family. Trust us, this Father’s Day is going to be particularly memorable as hopefully the very last day in our lifetimes that we’ll have to endure months and boring months of lockdown. With that in mind, splash out, make it a special one.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Hawksmoor

    Hawksmoor, 184-186 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 3WB - Visit now

    If your dad loves meat then he’ll love Hawksmoor. They have a well-deserved reputation as being the finest purveyors of steak in Manchester and beyond.

  • 2. Bundobust Manchester

    Bundobust Manchester
    Ian Jones

    Bundobust Manchester, 61 Piccadilly, Manchester, M1 2AG - Visit now

    Alternatively, for a slightly more environmentally-friendly option, we recommend veggie-heaven: Bundobust. The tapas-style curry menu is divine, and the absence of proper plates or cutlery will leave him feeling truly ‘down with the kids’.

  • 3. Pubs in Manchester

    Britons Protection entrance.
    Image courtesy of Briton's Protection

    Walk lunch off with a tour of Manchester’s many excellent craft beer establishments.

  • 4. Breakout Manchester

    breakout manchester
    Photo by Gnist Design from Pexels

    Breakout Manchester, 36 High Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1QB - Visit now

    In a similar vein, try putting your dad’s survival skills to the test by challenging him to a session at Breakout Manchester. Perfect for those who are into high concept, cryptically minded thrill-seeking.

  • 5. Cinema

    Cinemas are back open and there are a lot of great films to catch up on. Take your dear old dad out to one of the many excellent cinemas dotted around the North and take in a big screen experience that he’ll appreciate more now than ever before.

  • 6. National Football Museum

    The National Football Museum Manchester
    Image courtesy of National Football Museum

    National Football Museum, Urbis Building, Cathedral Gardens, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 3BG - Visit now

    Doesn’t matter if he’s uplifted or depressed by this year’s season, you can’t go wrong with a visit to the world’s biggest football museum, which reopened on Thursday 27 May.

  • 7. Record Shops in Manchester

    Record Store Day
    Image courtesy of Piccadilly Records.

    Whether it will actually ever touch a needle or not is irrelevant, let your dad relive the youthful joy of unwrapping a fresh slab of vinyl.

  • 8. Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories

    Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories in Cumbria
    Courtesy of Lakeland Arts

    Windermere Jetty Museum of Boats, Steam and Stories, Rayrigg Road, Windermere,, Cumbria, LA231BN - Visit now

    All dads like boats, right? What better than a brand-new museum dedicated to the simple, timeless pleasure of boating on the banks of one of England’s largest and most picturesque lakes? You could even go for a hearty walk after and pretend to let him to be in charge of the map.

  • 9. Rapha Clubhouse Manchester

    Rapha Clubhouse Manchester
    Courtesy of Rapha

    Rapha Clubhouse Manchester, 5 St Ann’s Passage, Manchester, M2 6AD - Visit now

    Cycling culture in Britain has exploded over the last decade or so, with dads the least able to resist the allure of the Lycra. Your average man having a midlife crisis is far more likely to be found comparing the weight of the forks on his carbon fibre road bike than he is thumbing the pages of a Mazda MX-5 sales manual. This is (mostly) a good thing and should be encouraged. Stop by Manchester’s Rapha Clubhouse and make sure he’s kitted out in the most stylish finery for those gruelling hill climbs.

  • 10. Utility Gift Shop

    Utility Gift Shop
    Utility Retail Ltd

    Utility Gift Shop, 128 Oxford Road, University Green, Manchester, M139GP - Visit now

    Utility Gift Shop on Oxford Road is all about products that are new, unique, quirky and cool… Just like your dad! We recommend the Kinto Travel Mug, Vitra Toolbox and Rains Wash Bag. Check out our guide to independent shops in Manchester for more ideas.

  • 11. Bookshops in Manchester

    UNITOM bookshop
    UNITOM bookshop

    Give it a heartfelt, handwritten inscription and you can’t go wrong with a book. It’s also a great excuse to spend an afternoon sifting through some of Manchester’s best independent bookshops, if ever you needed one.

  • 12. Breakfast in Manchester

    Federal Cafe Bar
    Image courtesy of Alabama's All American Eatery.

    Top tip: if you see your dad early in the morning, you get the rest of the day to do something fun – fill up on high-energy grub then get out and get active.