Places to dine solo in Manchester

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

Sometimes, eating out should be about just that. Eating. And if you want to focus entirely on the food, there’s no better option than unaccompanied dining. Whether you’re visiting Manchester for work, or simply fancy some me-time, this city has plenty of options for the solo diner. Plus, this way you’ll get through a meal without an annoying companion pestering for a bite (we’ve all been there). Here’s our guide to the best places in Manchester to eat and drink by yourself.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Pot Kettle Black

    Pot Kettle Black cafe in Manchester.
    Pot Kettle Black - courtesy of venue

    Pot Kettle Black, Unit 14, Barton Arcade Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 2BW - Visit now

    For breakfast, brunch and lunch, there are few better places than Pot Kettle Black. One of the highlights of Manchester’s recently-revitalised Barton Arcade, this bright breezy space serves up traditional daytime fare with a twist (the eggs benedict with paprika-cured pork loin is a must-try). And as the name suggests, they have a wide range of high-quality coffees and teas. Perfect for a few hours catching up with work, or simply watching the world go by.

  • 2. Burgess Cafe Bar at IABF

    Exterior of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation
    Image courtesy of IABF

    Burgess Cafe Bar at IABF, International Anthony Burgess Foundation, Engine House, Chorlton Mill, 3 Cambridge Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 5BY - Visit now

    If you have a more literary bent, head over to the small but perfectly-formed café at the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. Refreshingly free of distractions (background music is a no-no), this is the ideal place to sit and read a book amongst like-minded people. The menu changes daily but the homemade soups are reliably excellent – hearty, filling and freshly-made.

  • 3. Trof Northern Quarter


    Trof Northern Quarter, 8 Thomas St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1EU - Visit now

    One of the original Northern Quarter bars and diners, Trof has remained popular over the years for good reason. No matter the time of day, you’ll find a reliably friendly atmosphere, along with high-quality food served til late, covering everything from snacks to hefty feasts. Our advice? Go for the breakfast. Then stick around until the sun goes down and enjoy a drink or three.

  • 4. The Refuge

    Slow-cooked Ox Cheek, Massaman Sauce

    The Refuge, Oxford Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 7HA - Visit now

    Looking something a little more upmarket? You need the raved-about Refuge by Volta at The Principal Manchester (formerly known as the Palace Hotel) on Oxford Road. Led by local DJs The Unabombers, along with head chef Alex Worrall, here you’ll find a range of eye-opening small plates, influenced by the DJ duo’s trips around the world. This awe-inspiring venue has a menu to match the decor, no matter what time you decide to drop by.

  • 5. Cottonopolis

    Cottonopolis, 16 Newton Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2AE - Visit now

    The Northern Quarter long had a reputation for being somewhat lacking in the quality cuisine department. The recent arrival of Japanese-themed Cottonopolis has changed all that. These artfully-designed dishes deserve your full attention, much more than any pesky companion.

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