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Home to one of the nation’s best-established urban food and drink festivals and surrounded by fabulous produce, Manchester is an endlessly diverting place to eat out. Hardcore foodies with Michelin stars in their eyes puzzle over the lack of really fancy places – the tough truth is that there aren’t enough people with enough money to sustain more than one or two – but what the city lacks in starched napery, it claws back in diversity. A thriving Chinatown is home to fabulous Szechuan food, the trend for small Italian plates is alive and well in an unlikely in-store spot, and there are independently-minded chefs with great experience ploughing brave furrows on the fringes of town. When Mancunians fall in love with a place, they fall en masse, so don’t forget to book.
Ian Brown observed that Manchester has everything except a beach, and that includes more great bars, pubs and offbeat drinking oddities than you can shake a bucket and spade at. A proud culture of creativity, as well as a keen collective thirst, has contributed to the development of the Northern Quarter as the drinking hub of the city. Here, late-night New York-style pool rooms share customers with revitalised heritage pubs, and real ale enthusiasts have a funky new place to call a home-from-home. Glamour lives across town on Deansgate where nights out are done in style and sometimes at great heights, while drinking and thinking are perfectly possible at the arty hangouts of Oxford Road. Luckily, Manchester is eminently walkable, so you don’t have to choose.
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