The Grade 2 listed Great Northern building is one of the calmer spots around the Deansgate strip, but that calm exterior is home to a vast array of places to eat and drink, as well as fun-filled group days out. In a former life, it was a railway goods distribution warehouse but now it’s one of Manchester’s solid go-to spaces when it comes to mainstream good times – with eating and drinking taking pole position.
We’ve chosen the best places for visitors or longtime city-dwellers to check out, with the emphasis firmly on the food, but a nod to some of the more exciting extra-curricular activities too. And if it all gets too much, you can relax in the public square – one of the more relaxed and safe open spaces in the city centre.
Here are our picks
Platzki, Deansgate Mews, Great Northern, 255 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EN - Visit now
You’ll come away from your meal at this delightful Polish restaurant more than happy. Platzki scores at the top end of the cafe scale, and for a sit-down meal, the Pierogi in particular simply cannot be beaten.
The Lion’s Den Manchester, Great Northern, 253 Deansgate Mews, Manchester, M3 4EN - Visit now
The Lion’s Den is a must-visit two-storey bar and live event space tucked away in the sprawling Great Northern complex. It might take a couple of minutes to find but it’s well worth the hunt, thanks to its welcoming atmosphere, wonderfully friendly staff, and some of the best small onstage events in all of Manchester.
James Martin Manchester, 2 Watson St, Manchester, M3 4LP - Visit now
James Martin’s Manchester restaurant delivers a solid top-quality experience. It hovers around that hinterland between high-end cuisine and casual dining, serving up impressively detailed dishes, while never being overly fusty or wallet-drainingly expensive. It’s certainly not one for vegetarians, as the most visually impressive and tastiest dishes are all geared around hefty chunks of meat, but a top-drawer option for those of the carnivorous persuasion.
Whistle Punks Axe Throwing, Unit 20, Atrium level, Great Northern Warehouse, 235 Deansgate, , Manchester , Lancashire, M3 4EN - Visit now
At last, here’s your chance to give in to those caveman urges and chuck an axe about. There is no need to be super strong or have any previous experience, all are welcome at Whistle Punks, providing that you are over 18. This might just become your new favourite way to let off steam. Be sure to book in advance though as the 4 lanes fill up fast.
Virtual Hideout, Unit I, J and K, Deansgate Mews, Great Northern, Manchester, M3 4EN - Visit now
Interested in virtual reality but don’t know where to start? Head to Virtual Hideout up on the fast-growing Deansgate Mews section of the Great Northern warehouse space. It’s a superb afternoon out for all kinds of groups – hen parties, family trips, or simply a pre-night out session.