Wednesday, 27 November 2019

[AD] Manchester Challenge - The Ultimate Date Night

[AD] Post written in collaboration with, and spending money provided by, Hotels.com

Manchester isn’t too far away from home for me but it’s somewhere I don’t really tend to head to often. That said, when I was offered the chance to go and write a post about how to spend a date night in Manchester (and if you're headed yourself from further away, there's some great hotels and serviced apartments in Manchester), I jumped at the chance to explore with Josh and see just what the city has to offer that we might have skipped over in past trips. So, with no real plan but food and cool things, we head off on a Monday afternoon to see what gems that we could stumble upon in the city. The coach to the city took us about 40 minutes and so our starting point was Manchester coach station, just for reference.

1st stop - Salt and Pepper, Arndale Market


We initially intended to head to Northern Soul Grilled Cheese, however it was closed for training across all the branches, and so we just decided to wander and see what took our fancy. Luckily for us, literally just across the road was The Armadale Market and just inside the door a smell hit us in the face and had us straight into the queue - Salt and Pepper. This tiny little booth offers all variations of salt and pepper food, and we opted for crispy chicken flatbreads and the classic salt and pepper chips. The flatbreads were subtle, but tasty and filling (plus 2 for £6 which definitely isn’t something to stick your nose up at) and crinkle cut salt and pepper chips are a game changer and a definite highlight. With the flatbreads coming as two in a portion and a portion of chips easily shared, lunch came to just £9 for the both of us. 

2nd Stop - Manchester Markets, and a general wander


We got a little caught up in the beauty of the Christmas markets in the city centre and so we went for a quick walk through them and to see if we could stumble upon anywhere else we fancied visiting. We didn’t, but there’s plenty of cool little places to see on the way to the town hall in Manchester, and there’s ton of cute little Instagram spots, so definitely worth the ten minute walk. After a few google searches, we quickly decided on destination number 3. 

3rd Stop - NQ64


This was one of my favourite parts of the whole day, it’s a little bar downstairs that looks like very little from the outside, but inside it’s a neon wonderland of graffitied tables, and so many old school arcade machines. I got an Irn Bru, Josh got a Camden Pills as recommended by the girl working on the bar, and we got 15 tokens between us. Including the tokens we spent just over £12 and lost an hour to playing shooting games, bad Simpson’s arcade games, and watching countless rounds of Mario Kart. This is a little hidden gem and it’s really affordable for what it is, and so if you want to get competitive or old school gaming is your thing, it’s definitely worth the visit. 

4th Stop - Crazy Pedro’s


After quickly nipping to Outhouse (possibly the most famous street art location in Manchester) and it’s surrounding graffiti spots, we headed back to NQ64, and then straight next door to Crazy Pedro’s for pizza. As it was happy hour between 5 and 9pm, we grabbed a cocktail each (Candy Skull Collins for me, and Ped’s Meds for Josh) and ordered four slices of pizza at just £2 each. We went for a mix of classic and a little more unusual; Can’t Cook, Won’t Cluck was a vegan pizza with potato waffles, vegan chicken, vegan cheese and tomato sauce (great taste, very weird texture), and Chippy Tea which was mushy peas, sausage, chips and curry sauce (mushy peas on a pizza is... an experience). Looking for something more classic? The Margherita and Pepperoni were well worth their £2 per slice price, and with 2 slices and a cocktail each, we paid just £18. 


5th Stop - Central Perk


You may all know that me and Josh can’t function long without coffee, and so the next stop fit nicely - with Josh remembering Manchester Primark has a Central Perk inside, and me needing caffeine. This is actual a really lovely little coffee shop, with it’s false exterior nestled in the back of the busy first floor of the huge Primark. The infamous sofa is outside if you want a photo opp, and inside there’s surprisingly nice coffee available; for a Vanilla Frappe and a Mocha we spent just over £7, and sitting in the cafe was definitely a lovely way to lose some time just people watching.

6th Stop - Manchester Cathedral Fountains, the bridge behind The Lowry Hotel


Reinvigorated we decided to head down and see some of the bits of Manchester that we, as a couple, love. Our first trip away together after we got together was Manchester, and we fell in love with the dancing water fountains with their coloured lights opposite the Manchester Cathedral. Last time we visited we couldn’t get a good picture because of the sheer amount of people there, but this time the whole place was ours and so we took some photos before heading off to the Bridge behind The Lowry Hotel, another favourite spot of ours with some beautiful views across the canal. Definitely a nice spot if you have some time to wander there.

7th Stop - The Liar’s Club


Luckily for us when we came off the bridge we were actually facing a bar we’d talked about visiting but didn’t know if we’d actually have time to go to - The Liar’s Club. This is a beautiful downstairs Tiki Bar which is definitely my favourite place we visited the whole day. The atmosphere is so, so friendly, the bar staff were so happy to help us pick drinks and the extensive list of rums is definitely something to behold. I opted for a TLC cocktail and Josh opted for Captain’s Grog and one of the nice things here is that their menu is helpfully laid out from less alcohol options to more, which is definitely good when one of you (me) can’t handle your rum that well, and the other one of you (Josh) is nothing short of a rum connoisseur. This is definitely the type of bar that you want to take your friends to, and it’s easy to see why it’s gaining more and more popularity. We also managed to hit happy hour here, and two cocktails of this calibre for £10 is definitely a bargain that can’t be sniffed at.

8th Stop - Yates


If you come in on the coach pretty much the first sight you see, and pretty much the last sight that you see when leaving, is Yates - and something about the sight of aYates just makes you feel at home wherever you are. We stopped in here for a quick Diet Coke for me, and a quick rum for Josh whilst we waited for our coach.

The total price of our date came to just over £65, and I don't really think that's something you can complain about - Manchester has plenty to do, see and eat and so why not try it for your next date night?

Sammy xo.
Most, if not all, photos taken by Josh

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