The city's musical and cultural epicentre
ew cities do reinvention quite like Manchester. The city’s industrial revolution heritage is still written large across the city, although today those venerable warehouses that used to store the fruits of the Empire’s commerce are more likely to have been transformed into funky flats or bars.
The Northern Quarter epitomises this living evolution. Roughly speaking, it is a packed square of land between Piccadilly, Victoria and Shudehill, and was previously the centre of the city’s cotton industry. Today, it is Manchester’s cultural epicentre, a teeming postcode packed with bars, clubs, record shops, restaurants and fashion stores.
Music has always been of particular importance to the area’s resurgence, with record shops such as Eastern Bloc and venues such as Dry Bar synonymous with the city’s vibrant music scene and bars such as Trof, and venues such the Night and Day Cafe, the Roadhouse and the Mint Lounge brilliant places to catch a gig.
But the Quarter is also internationally cosmopolitan, as visits to the Chinese Arts Centre or Buddhist Centre will testify. The best way of experiencing it is to spend the day wandering around the vicinity and soaking up the unique atmosphere. Head to the Koffee Pot or Soup Kitchen for a lazy lunch, before checking out the flower markets that see the place explode with colour.
Of course, if you’re really smitten, you could go the whole hog and move here: surprising numbers of locals have settled in this most urban of areas in recent years. More proof that the Northern Quarter is rapidly becoming the beating heart of this endlessly changing city.