Abel Heywood

Susie Stubbs
Image of Abel Heywood in Manchester's Northern Quarter
Ben Williams

It’s a gastro pub and boutique hotel that wears its vintage appeal with pride – but is there something too polished about Abel Heywood?

There is nothing out of place at Abel Heywood, the gastro pub and boutique hotel in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The stripped wooden floors are varnished just so. The tiles behind the bar, the steel-topped, wood caressed bar itself; the high tables and bar stools that nestle beneath; the velvet cushions and matching Chesterfield sofa: they all wear their Victorian, warehouse aesthetic so well that it’s perfectly possible to forget that Abel Heywood is not, after all, old. It’s a brand new pub, owned by the Hydes Brewery, housed inside what was once a rather grotty shop opposite the NCP car park.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The Northern Quarter of a few years ago was notable primarily for the hype that overlooked its dodgy back streets and half-derelict buildings. The recent influx of pubs, bars and places to eat has turned the area into the place it talked itself up as a decade ago, and it’s places such as this we have to thank.

The Northern Quarter has turned the area into the place it talked itself up as a decade ago

The food here, like the décor, is perfectly – if expensively – lovely. Bar food downstairs, restaurant (and hotel) up, the Abel Heywood offers a take on traditional pub grub for people who don’t think twice about spending £12.75 on a burger and chips. You get your money’s worth, though: towering plates arrive quickly bearing, in our case, a mozzarella and basil flatbread (£8.95) so vast its younger sister must have been a ten-inch deep pan pizza. Chips are squidgy and satisfying (and too numerous to finish). The broccoli fritters (£6.95), which had so much potential to be badly done that I just had to order them, were awesome: the tart tang of goats cheese offset by the surprisingly un-school-dinner-like fritters. They even filled me up – who knew?

This is sociable food backed by a hefty drinks list: good on-tap craft and guest beers (as you’d expect from Hydes), 21 bottled sorts and a 15-strong gin list – which somehow feels fitting in a place that is named after Manchester’s Victorian mayor, the radical politician and pamphleteer responsible for the civic wonder that is Manchester Town Hall.

With an impeccable back story, a Brewery backer and a lovely, lovely interior, like I said, there’s nothing out of place at Abel Heywood. And I will be going back. But like the most popular girl at school with her clothes, her social media accounts and her hangers-on, I can’t help but think that it’s all a little bit… fake. That Manchester has more actual Victorian pubs than you can shake a packet of pork scratchings at. And that a little bit of scuff, a little bit of edge, are precisely what make this bloody-minded city of ours, well, ours. And that what I want from a pub is the kind of place that forgives me my foibles even as it calls me a taxi – even if I wouldn’t be heading home with one of those lush little velvet cushions stuffed up my jumper.

38 Turner StreetManchesterM4 1DZ View map
Telephone: 0161 819 1441 Visit Now

What's on near Abel Heywood

The Comedy Vault

Every Monday night upstairs at Fierce Bar, The Comedy Vault hosts an outrageously funny open-mic night. Come and try your hand or just to watch and laugh.

free entry
Creatures of the Night Comedy Club

An insanely committed seven-nights-a-week, Creatures of the Night Comedy Club opens its doors (20.30-22.30 typically, though please check) for evening after evening of side-splitting comedy.

from £5.00
Blondshell at Band on the Wall

“An alt-rock star is born” said The Guardian upon the release of Blondshell’s debut album last year, which she’s bringing to Manchester this summer.

Open Deck at Band on the Wall

Bring your records for a spin at our Open Deck session this Saturday! If you’ve bought some new vinyl from a local record shop this week, just show your receipt at the bar to get yourself a free 9” pizza!

Un-Convention Manchester 2024

Un-Convention is the ultimate independent music industry conference and showcase taking place at Band on the Wall in Manchester this November.

Beyond the Music 2024

Hear directly from the people powering the music industry in both Manchester and the UK, as well as witnessing some of the North’s upcoming talent at Beyond the Music.

from £16.75

Where to go near Abel Heywood

Northern Quarter
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Frog Flowers

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Shopping Centre
Smithfield Market

The neo-Romanesque arches of this former wholesale food market still stand as a reminder to the Northern Quarter’s mercantile past.

Salvi’s Northern Quarter

Salvi’s Northern Quarter is the latest addition to the much-loved Salvi’s family, a series of family-run, independent Neapolitan restaurants and delis.

Wolf At The Door
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