Petite Spanish dishes – or Tapas, to the rest of you – have boomed in popularity these last few years, and it isn’t difficult to see why.
Long gone are the days of painstakingly ordering one dish (or maybe two at a push) from a tantalisingly good menu – with tapas, you can load up on pretty much everything the menu has to offer, and you won’t get judged for it at all.
So, here’s a list of Manchester’s most highly regarded tapas joints – you’re welcome.
Bar San Juan
To start the proceedings, we have Bar San Juan, a fantastic Chorlton gem that serves up arguably the best tapas dishes in the whole country.
The owners recently forked out to have an extension added, so there’s plenty of space to sit and enjoy some authentically Spanish tapas – oh, and they have a cracking wine list, too.
Bar San Juan, 56 Beech Rd, Manchester M21 9EG
Located smack in the middle of town, this King Street icon has some seriously good tapas on offer, alongside some more unheard of Mediterranean dishes – the lamb skewers and scallops and chorizo dishes are undeniable stand-outs.
La Bandera, 2 Ridgefield, Manchester M2 6EQ
El Gato Negro
Every Manc will recognise this award-winning King Street haunt – owner Simon Shaw has spent years perfecting the menu at El Gato, which serves a delicious variety of meat, cheese, fish and vegetarian dishes.
The restaurant has won an abundance of awards over the years and, once you’ve sampled their menu, it isn’t difficult to see why.
El Gato Negro, 52 King St, Manchester M2 4LY
Abeja Tapas Bar
Abjea actually stands for ‘bee’ in Spanish – a subtle representation of the connection the owners of Abeja Tapas Bar wanted to create with the people of Manchester.
The Oxford Road gem is a space where people can enjoy art exhibitions and cultural activities while also indulging in a food sharing experience from Andalucía cuisine.
Abeja Tapas Bar, Hatch, Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
Porta Tapas Bar
We’re well and truly spoilt for choice with two Porta Tapas Bars to choose from – one in Altrincham and one in Salford.
The restaurants take heavy inspiration from small independent bars in Madrid and Barcelona, with their menus bursting with delicious fresh meats and fish.
Porta Tapas Bar, 50 Greenwood St, Altrincham WA14 1RZ
216 Chapel St, Salford, M3 6BY
Described as a little taste of Barcelona in Didsbury, Nueve Tapas can be found – quite unexpectedly – nestled between a tanning salon and a butchers.
Their menu boasts an impressive selection of tapas, as it does with wine and that all-important sangria. They’re also offering a brunch menu, a must-have for those hungover weekends.
Nueve Tapas Bar, 9 Barlow Moor Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 6TN
CITY GUIDE: The cosiest pubs in Manchester to enjoy an autumn pint
It’s officially cosy pub season and we couldn’t be happier about it
Summer has officially departed and, while we may be sad to wave goodbye to our beloved beer gardens for another six months, we’re undeniably very excited to welcome back those log fires and warming Sunday roasts.
Yep, Autumn is here and that means Manchester’s cosiest pubs are back open for business, offering all those lovely Autumnal treats such as mulled wine, warming fire places and those iconic cosy corners.
And luckily for you lot, the city is teeming with wonderful pub offerings to keep you occupied throughout the colder months.
So without any further ado, here’s some of our favourite spots…
This historic boozer has recently reopened after eighteen long years out of action following a massive investment by property giants Salboy, who have transformed the building back into the cosy pub it once was, with a fine dining section and green oasis through the back.
But round the front, guests can settle down in front of a roaring fireplace and indulge in all those comforting pub grub classics like fish and chips and pie and mash alongside a lovely pint of Guinness. It doesn’t get much more autumnal than that, does it?
The Blackfriar, 41-43 Blackfriars Rd, Salford M3 7DB.
Famous for it’s enormous front-facing beer garden in the summer (and for being the first stop in the famed Didsbury Dozen pub crawl, of course), The Didsbury is also well loved for it’s snug interior throughout the autumn and winter months.
Here, you’ll be able to sit back and relax with a beverage directly next to a crackling fireplace built within a lovely exposed brick wall – dogs are welcome too, incase you needed any more convincing.
The Didsbury, 852 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2SG
The Didsbury Website
Located at the heart of the old Potato Wharf in Castlefield, The Oxnoble is one of the city’s most historic pubs, having being built all the way back in 1804.
And you know what they say about old and historic pubs; they make for the best winter boozers. The pub’s low ceilings and creaky floorboards give it a very comforting nostalgic feel, with its old-timely fireplace pairing perfectly with the many beers and bitters on offer behind the bar.
71 Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4NQ
The Oxnoble Website
The Circus Tavern
The ‘smallest bar in Europe’ was always going to make the cosy pubs list, wasn’t it? Admittedly, many may consider The Circus Tavern to be more on the claustrophobic side than the cosy side but still, it’s an undeniable gem for those colder months.
While there isn’t a roaring fireplace to snuggle down next to (that’d be a major health hazard in such a small place, don’t you think?), there is plenty of those old-worldly pub vibes knocking about. Plus, famed footballer George Best did frequent the pub back in the day, if that helps.
The Circus Tavern, 86 Portland St, Manchester M1 4GX
The Marble Arch
A short walk away from the Northern Quarter down Rochdale Road, The Marble Arch is undisputedly one of Manchester’s most historic and iconic boozers, having stood the test of time since 1888.
Providing those ‘proper pub’ vibes among a sea of trendy craft beer bars, The Marble Arch brews its own beer and is a definite must-visit when looking for some solace from Manchester’s icy wind and rain.
The Marble Arch, 73 Rochdale Road, Manchester, M4 4HY
The Marble Arch Website
Sam’s Chop House
A pub once frequented by artist LS Lowry (there’s a massive statue of him propped up at the bar if you don’t believe me), Sam’s Chop House is as cosy and old-worldly as a pub can get.
Guests have to take a rickety and narrow winding staircase down to find the pub and fully functioning gourmet restaurant nestled underground, alongside an extensive drinks menu (the Guinness is really good here, too).
Sam’s Chop House, Back Pool Fold, Manchester M2 1HN
0161 834 3210
The Briton’s Protection
It doesn’t get much cosier than this; The Briton’s Protection is one of Manchester’s oldest pubs (are you noticing a pattern here?) and specialises in possibly the most wintery drink there is: whisky.
The pub can showcase up to 300 whiskies at any given time and features those classic old pub stools and circular tables crammed into a warm corner. Picture that on a cold Friday night after work… You can’t beat it.
The Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5LE
0161 236 5895
Peveril of the Peak
Of course Peveril of the Peak was going to crop up at some point – it is one of the most recognisable pubs in the whole of Manchester, after all (just look at that two-toned yellow and green brick exterior).
But on the inside, the Pev provides a seriously good atmosphere, the kind only achieved by the most traditional of boozers. Inside, guests can sit on original wooden benches among stained glass window, etched mirrors and brass bells. Classic.
The Peveril of the Peak, 127 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JQ
The Peveril of the Peak Facebook
The City Arms
The historic City Arms, located smack in the middle of Manchester’s city centre, has been a regular entry in the Good Beer Guide for years and boasts all those lovely old pub features, including those built-in Chesterfield sofas and circular tables just begging for a packet of crisps to be opened and spread out upon them.
As is the case with this style of old-age pub, The City Arms really comes to life in the colder months and provides a comforting and cosy abode for Mancunians escaping the rain.
The City Arms, 46-48 Kennedy St, Manchester M2 4BQ
0161 236 4610
Ah, the Bayhorse Tavern, a haunt well known and loved by all those city-centre dwellers. While it may not be an ideal layout for those hot summer days (yeah, all three of them), it is the perfect spot to shelter from the rain.
The Bayhorse has a cracking selection of beer and also do a banging roast on a Sunday – the ideal place for the whole of autumn and winter, then.
Bayhorse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
The forgotten Japanese Garden hidden in the hills of a popular Lancashire walking spot
If you fancy a stroll this weekend…
There’s a beautiful and tranquil Japanese Lake hidden in one of Lancashire’s top walking spots.
If you’ve ever ventured up Rivington Pike you’ll know just how busy that place gets, especially if the sun makes an appearance!
Tucked away around halfway up the path to the peak is one of Britain’s best lost gardens (according to Countryfile in 2014).
The Japanese Lake is part of the Rivington Terraced Gardens built by the founder of the former Lever Brothers company – now known as Unilever – Lord Leverhulme, inspired by one of his trips to Japan.
Constructed between 1905 and 1925, The Terraced Gardens were originally filled with Japanese tea houses, lanterns, and exotic plants, and had two gorgeous waterfalls.
In the unexpected tranquil oasis, only the lake and stone bases of the tea houses remain, but it is still a gorgeous stop on a walk!
The Gardens are part of 45 acres of hillside between Rivington Pike and Rivington Hall Barn, which has a number of interesting features.
You’ll find the Pigeon Tower – once home to Lady Leverhulme’s sewing and music room on the top floor. The second and third floor housed dovecotes.
You’ll also find Lever Bridge at the northern end of Rivington Terraced Gardens, crossing Roynton Lane – the main pathway through the gardens.
The bridge is based on one Lever saw on a trip to Nigeria. It’s known as the Seven Arch Bridge with one large arch crossed by six smaller ones.
The Rivington Terraced Gardens remained open during the pandemic, with staff asking the public to take their litter home, including dog waste bags, or to use the bins provided in all the car parks.
There are three main entrances to the gardens; Belmont Road, another at the former Bolton Lodge and the third at the north-west corner of the gardens with a path leading across the meadow from Rivington Hall.
The main way to the gardens is via Roynton Lane, which runs through the middle of the site.
The garden is split into two distinct areas, the eastern area is more formal with lawns and lakes and contains vegetation from ornamental planting, including species such as Berbeis.
The other side is slightly more steep with trees such as Chestnut and Beech. Between the two areas is a terrace bath with irregularly-shaped flags.
The best places to treat your dad in Manchester this Father’s Day
Father’s Day? Completed it
Father’s Day is on the horizon, and to say that the nation’s dads are in dire need of some serious pampering would be an understatement.
It’s been one hell of a year, so all those dads and father figures out there definitely deserve the best – but if you’ve left your plans to the very last minute (guilty), worry no more, because I have devised a list of some fantastic Father’s Day ideas to do here in the city.
Let’s start with an obvious one. If your dad loves a good steak and a glass of posh vino (because whose dad doesn’t?), treating him to dinner at one of Manchester’s most popular steakhouses would be a great way to show your appreciation.
The restaurant has also put together an array of Father’s day boxes and gifts so, if you’re unable to leave the house this year, you can enjoy the elusive Hawksmoor experience from the comfort of your own home. They are offering three different gift boxes – a traditional Sunday Roast, a family Feasting Box and a Fillet.
For bookings, prices and more information on their Father’s Day gift box, check out their website.
184, 186 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WB
0161 836 6980
The Oxford Road staple is pulling out all the stops for Father’s Day this year – not only are they dishing up banging Sunday roasts, they’re also hosting EATMCR’s street food takeover, which will see a whole array of pop-ups and local breweries.
Clampdown Records and Deadstock General Store will also be hosting pop-ups, where you can grab yourself some last minute Father’s Day gifts. There will also be music from the finest local DJs to keep the celebrations going throughout the day.
Visit their website for more information and bookings.
Oxford St, Manchester M60 7HA
0161 233 5151
TeamSport Go Karting
Fancy thrashing your old man on the race track?
TeamSport are open and taking bookings for all those wanting to celebrate Father’s Day with a bit of good dose of old-fashioned racing rivalry.
At TeamSport Manchester, you’ll get the opportunity to race around a state-of-the-art indoor track on electric karts, and even take part in an award ceremony at the end of each race which will, of course, provide some great bragging opportunities.
TeamSport are taking bookings only for Father’s Day – visit their website for more information.
AO Arena, Victoria Station, Hunts Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M3 1AR
Dusk Til Pawn
Perfect for all those dad-rock lovers out there, this Northern Quarter icon will act as a great venue for some celebratory cocktails with dad.
With a fantastic jukebox selection and an even more impressive cocktail list, you and your dad can spend some quality time drinking, dancing and putting the world to rights.
Pay their website a visit for more information.
Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN
0161 236 5355
Let’s face it, all dads love a good game of darts, so what better way to demonstrate how good of a job they did raising you by showing off your skills on the board?
This venue is taking bookings only, and gives each group their own private space to drink, laugh, and land plenty of 180s. Pre-ordered drinks will be ready and waiting upon arrival, and food can be served throughout the booking. Members of staff can be summoned at the touch of a button, too.
Visit their website here to book your own booth.
Ship Canal House, 98 King Street, Manchester, M2 4WU
0161 537 7250
For footie-mad dads (most of them, then), Hotel Football is offering an exclusive package with former Manchester United defender, Wes Brown.
The package includes class of 92-themed toiletries & complimentary retro treats in the mini bar, a Q&A withWes Brown himself in the Stadium Suite, screening of the Portugal v Germany in Heaven, a two course dinner in Café Football with screening of Spain v Poland game and afternoon tea on either the Saturday or the Sunday. Overnight accommodation is also included.
To make a booking or enquire for more information, visit their website and drop an email to email@example.com.
Old Trafford, 99 Sir Matt Busby Way, Manchester M16 0SZ
0161 751 0430
The Lowry Hotel
The Lowry Hotel have launched their Father’s Day @ HOME, a unique afternoon tea perfect for all those dads out there.
The afternoon tea includes the likes of miniature prime beef burgers, BBQ pulled pork, glazed stilton, chicken and bacon pies, three cheese and pancetta scones accompanied by smoky bacon jam and chive sour cream – and two bottles of Morretti to wash it all down.
Click here to make your own booking.
50 Dearmans Pl, Salford, M3 5LH
0161 827 4000