Places to drink in The Northern Quarter

Ben Williams, Managing Editor

Places to drink in the Northern Quarter – this should be easy, right? Hmm, well kinda. There’s certainly no shortage in either the number of bars or the variety of the offer. However, the meteoric rise and rise of Manchester’s kind-of-independent Northern Quarter has brought with it some problems. With an EasyJet hotel on one side and an increasing number of glass towers bearing down from the other, this isn’t the enclave of artists and independents it was years ago.

The cat is out of the bag.

We still love the Northern Quarter, we work here and drink here as often as we can – some may say too often. However, at the weekends finding good places to drink in the Northern Quarter can be tricky down to the sheer popularity of the area. The last thing you want to be doing is walking from bar to bar in the rain, settling for the place with a free table.

Here then is our guide to the best places to drink in the Northern Quarter. From sticky-floored indie pubs to hipster microbreweries.

Our top picks

Castle Hotel

Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LE - Visit now

Let’s start with a proper pub, The Castle Hotel has a 200 year-long history on Oldham Street and – like its sister venue Gullivers – it’s a hot spot for live gigs and music. This is by no means a big pub, finding a space can be tricky, especially if you planning on sneaking a crafty fag out back. We love it here though, it’s generally a good crowd and there are usually bands performing several times a week.

Castle Hotel pub in Manchester

Common Bar

Common Bar, 39-47 Edge Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1HW - Visit now

Tucked away on the aptly named Edge Street in the Northern Quarter, Common is a favourite haunt of many in Manchester’s arts communities. The reason, essentially, is that everything they do is forward-thinking. From their top selection of beer to their rotating art exhibition to their array of poetry nights, musical performances and arts workshops, the bar do innovation well.

Common Bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Ben Williams

The Whiskey Jar

The Whiskey Jar, 14 Tariff St, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2FF - Visit now

Aptly named, there’s several hundred whiskeys to picks from here. It’s hard to find a gap in a selection which seemingly takes in all corners of the globe – even Taiwan and India. The choice of Scotch here as extensive as you’ll find anywhere in Manchester. They have regular tasting events and their jazz night is great too.

The Whiskey Jar

Port Street Beer House

Port Street Beer House, 39-41 Port Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2EQ - Visit now

Port Street Beer House is one of Manchester’s best choice locations for the beer aficionado. With an ever-changing selection of ales and staff who really know their stuff. They have all of the best beers here; from your pleasant thirst-quenching Flensburger, to thirty-five-pound-ten-percent-plus bottles of stout and everything in between.

Port Street Beer House Father's Day
Ben Williams

Beatnikz Republic

Beatnikz Republic, 35 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 2HF - Visit now

Like Port Street, this is another great choice for beer enthusiasts and those open to trying something new. Beatnikz Republic Brewing Co. is a microbrewery based in Manchester who opened this Northern Quarter bar in 2018. We’ve enjoyed all kinds of beers here; from brightly coloured, fruit-infused sours, to smoked coffee porters.

Beatnikz Republic
Beatnikz

Trof Northern Quarter

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

Northern Quarter stalwart Trof is still one of the top destinations, whether you’re looking for top-quality pub grub, a solid array of drinks or just a friendly place to hang out and drink coffee.

Manchester Pubs
Trof

Northern Monk Refectory

Northern Monk Refectory, 10 Tariff St, Manchester, M1 2FF - Visit now

The Leeds-based brewery took over this superb Northern Quarter spot from Kosmonaut. The taproom – as we call things these days – has a wonderful choice of beers and the cobbled rear alleyway/beer garden feels kind of magical on a summers eve.

Northern Monk

Cane & Grain

Cane & Grain, 49-51 Thomas Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1NA - Visit now

From the makers of Black Dog Ballroom and Liars Club, we have Cane & Grain. And they don’t do things by halves. Behind the unassuming entrance, there are no less than three bars, each with their own unique drinks menus. The ground floor bar has a youthful skater feel, but the true secret-seekers will want to check out the first-floor speakeasy.

Creative Tourist

Soup

Soup, 31-33 Spear Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Manchester, M1 1DF - Visit now

Soup Kitchen is a superb communal cafe by day and an excellent live music venue by night. The perfect choice for lunch or a great night out. Head downstairs in the evenings into the pleasingly scuzzy-looking basement for some of Manchester’s best gigs and club nights.

Image of Soup Kitchen in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Ben Williams

Bar Fringe

Bar Fringe, 8 Swan Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5JN

Is this is Northern Quarter bar, or is it an Ancoats bar? Who cares? Before the developers moved in and turned Ancoats into a Fjallraven-clad utopia, this was very much considered a Northern Quarter bar. Head here for pre and post Band on The Wall drinks.

Fringe Bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Creative Tourist

Where to go in Northern Quarter

Manchester
Restaurant
Public

New to Stevenson’s Square, Public is the Northern Quarter’s new local, from the team behind Evelyn’s.

The Fitzgerald
Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Fitzgerald

Speakeasy-style cocktail bar with dark lighting and a superb range of drinks, plus regular comedy events and live music.

Fierce Bar
Manchester
Bar or Pub
Fierce Bar

Highly-rated bar based in Manchester’s bustling Northern Quarter, seconds away from Common.

Stage and Radio
Northern Quarter
Bar or Pub
Stage & Radio

Manchester has produced its fair share of generation-defining clubs over the years. There are the obvious names like Twisted Wheel and the Hacienda, but smaller venues such as the Star…

Mecanica
Manchester
Bar or Pub
Mecanica

Taking over the space previously occupied by The Quick Brown Fox, Mecanica is a smart neighbourhood bar based in the Northern Quarter.

The Corner Boy
Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Corner Boy

Back in action for spring/summer 2021, Corner Boy is a welcoming, dimly-lit bar on the edge of Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
El Capo

El Capo is another addition to the Northern Quarter’s sprawl towards Manchester’s Piccadilly Basin. Between Kosmonaut and The Whisky Jar on Tariff Street.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Bay Horse Tavern

The Bay Horse Tavern is a laid-back pub based in the dead centre of the Northern Quarter, with a wide range of drinks and food options.

Superstition Bar
Manchester
Bar or Pub
Superstition Bar

Independent underground bar in the heart of the Northern Quarter, serving a vast range of quality cocktails.

Wolf At The Door
Manchester
Restaurant
Wolf At The Door

Three storey bar and restaurant on Thomas Street in the Northern Quarter, from the team behind the Wilderness record store and bar in Withington.

Common Bar in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Manchester
Bar or Pub
Common Bar

Northern Quarter stalwart Common Bar in Manchester serves excellent pub food, fine cocktails and decent coffee. It’s a firm Creative Tourist team favourite.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
The Pen and Pencil

The Pen and Pencil is a New York-inspired breakfast and brunch spot in Manchester’s Northern Quarter that transforms into a bar in the evening.

Pillock at Contact
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