Whenever I get stuck on the creativity front - I always head out and try and find inspiration from my home city. There are gems everywhere you look and Manchester really is becoming a hot trendy place to be. Here's my top 10 (for now)...
No.1 Leaf On Portland Street
Leaf is rather unexpected as it sits along the huge row of Bruntwood buildings on Portland Street, in fact it wraps around an office building splitting into two spaces. This is a hidden gem that is not yet so well known so it's perfect for admiring the interiors and having enough room to wander. It used to be the old Cube Gallery that I frequented as a graduate so has a special place in my heart. There are so many gorgeous details here, it is sympathetic to it's history whilst being bang on trend and current, mixing the old with the new perfectly
No.2 The Lost & Found Knutsford
Technically not Manchester but close enough and just 20 mins on the train. This place is absolutely gorgeous, every single detail has been thought of - from the floor to the stairways to the fabrics. Set in an old church, the high ceilings and arched windows are perfect for statement chandeliers and bold patterns. There's a sense of fun in the little touches - neon lights, colourful flowers and vintage propping that gives this space the edge.
No.3 The Refuge
Probably one of Manchester most Instagrammed spots - the Winter Garden is everything you'd want it to be and has probably been the source of inspiration for a few of Manchester's latest spots. From the monochrome tiles on the floor to the deep green velvet sofas, I adore everything about this space. The tree in the middle wrapped in fairy lights is a real showstopper, and the marble table tops and floral patterns work so perfectly together. Set in the Palace hotel, you really feel the grandeur of the past whilst being completely in the now.
No.4 Chapter One Books
This was an unintential find one day wandering around the Northern Quarter but definietly one I'm glad I stumbled one. Chapter One Books is an independant bookshop/coffee shop in such a lovely space, it makes you want to stay here for hours. The decor is so eclectic with random bits of furniture used to display books, chairs for lounging and the most gorgeous green vintage reading lamps I have seen in a long time! It feels like stumbling into someone's very eccentric lounge but immediately feeling at home!
No.5 The Refinery
Nestled behind all the major tourist spots in Spinningfields, The Refinery sits quietly and unexpectedly. This is the ultimate "Hygge" and Scandi Chic spot in Manchester complete with fur throws and candles. The soft greys and warm yellows make this space the ultimate place for bottomless brunch with the girls or even somewhere you can take Mum and make her feel special. It also hasn't been tainted by the alchemist crowd so get there whilst it's still relatively unknown. Anywhere that offers blankets with a cocktail becomes my favourite place immediately.
No.6 Grand Pacific
For all the old school colonial glamour, head to Grand Pacific. It is glam and grand, with high ceilings and parquet floors, peacock chairs and huge palms. It is the perfect escape to have a cocktail or two and soak in the surroundings.
The toilets are also the stuff of dreams, starting my silly back & forth with a few fellow Instagrammers over great toilet designs. #ihavethisthingwithrestaurantloos may take off one day!
This place is probably the most brand new of them all. It is everything that is on trend at the minute. I'm in love with the soft pinks and rose golds contrasting against the deep blues and black marbles. It screams luxury and you can tell the designers have really thought about creating an 'on trend' cool vibe.
No.8 - Randall & Aubin
A newbie to Bridge Street, just off Deansgate - Randall & Aubin is the most stylish fish restaurant I have ever been in. Not only was the food delicious but the atmosphere was lovely. The space is very long and narrow with mainly big tables for groups and lots of sharing dishes, inviting you to get stuck in and really enjoy one another's company. There are a lot of patterned tiles everywhere with accents of brass to keep it classy.
The toilets are something else too - pink, greens and that wallpaper is just amazing! So vibrant and fun yet also maintaining the level of luxury.
No. 9 The Wonder Inn
The Wonder Inn is a magical place on the edge of the Northern Quarter, nestled in an derelict warehouse that Manchester is rich beyond belief with. It's a wellness centre dedicated to the community and houses a cafe, bar, yoga rooms and workshops. The low key styling of this space is just wonderful, who doesn't love fairy lights up against stripped walls with umbrellas hanging from the ceiling? The sense of history is fantastic with most of the original features remaining as well as peeling plaster and wonky ceilings! We stumbled on a Brass Band Gig here and it was absolutely epic.
And finally...No.10 Alabamas
The pancakes here alone are enough reason to visit but the decor is pretty amazing too. It's very American Eatery but with a David Hockney colour palette and will brighten up your day immediately. You might have to queue to get in but it is 100% worth the wait. The zebra wallpaper in the bathrooms is also well worth a nosey. I can't resist a Zebra theme!
As I am writing this, there's at least 1 new place popping up on my radar everyday. Leaving the possibility open for a version 2 of this post - and also plenty of opportunities for me to go wandering, drink and eat!