‘Oh Manchester,’ the happy-go-lucky scamp Morrissey once sang, ‘so much to answer for.’ The Pope of Mope might never have hit such artistic heights had he grown up in the city today though: given its cultural renaissance he’d probably be playing moody tech-house sets until 5am in reclaimed warehouses. Manchester’s the North’s equivalent of Williamsburg these days, you know.
Hotel Football looks out on Old Trafford, which is apt given that it’s owned by United legends Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs. It’s a glossily stylish kind of place, and on the top floor, you can play five-a-side while enjoying panoramic views of the ground and Salford Quays.
FOOD & DRINK
The in-house restaurant, Café Football, is very good for gourmet burgers and shoehorned footballing references – witness the Mara Doner. The city’s legendarily ornery about its lack of a Michelin star, so Michael O’Hare’s three new openings – The Man Who Fell To Earth, The Rabbit in the Moon and Are Friends Electric – feel like a full-on all-or-nothing assault on the accolade. Northern Quarter, for all its slightly self-regarding ain’t-I-coolness, is stuffed with great bars, clubs and restaurants. The Briton’s Protection in Deansgate is the king of them all, though: it’s been there since 1809 and has period charm (and whiskies and local beers) in abundance.
Much of Salford and Trafford is new-build blocks, but there’s plenty of history about. Do the Old Trafford stadium tour, then explore the docklands and Manchester Ship Canal. The latter nicked trade from Liverpool’s ports, beginning an enmity which has never gone away.
Manchester’s nightlife. The Haçienda’s a block of flats now, but the new generation of clubs and venues are brilliant: catch a gig at the Albert Hall, a once-abandoned Wesleyan chapel which still has its stained glass windows and pews. Oh, and it’s got a banging sound system. That’s new.
WE DON’T LIKE
It’s not exactly central – City fans’ jibes about Old Trafford technically being in Salford aren’t unfounded – but it’s still convenient for getting into town.
All of the amazing museums and galleries. Beyond the obvious (Museum of Science and Industry, The Lowry, Imperial War Museum North, National Football Museum, the Whitworth Gallery), The People’s History Museum tells stories of ordinary folks’ struggle for civil rights and Islington Mill’s a winningly DIY arts hub.
99 Sir Matt Busby Way,
Manchester M16 0SZ
0161 751 0430