Manchester restaurants that have opened since lockdown that you might not have been to yet

By Daisy Jackson

It's not been a great year to work in the hospitality sector, which has faced lengthy closures, tough restrictions, and now extreme staff shortages.

But our hardy city and its even hardier restaurant scene has managed to not only survive, but thrive, over the last 18 months of coronavirus.

We may have lost some big names but we've gained some even bigger ones.

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If you, like many of us, have spent a lot more time at home in the last year, there are plenty of new places to head out and explore.

Here are some of the most exciting restaurants and bars who defied the odds to open during the pandemic.

Where's your favourite new opening in Manchester? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

Society Manchester

(Manchester Evening News)

One of the biggest new developments to land in the city centre this year was Society, a £1m food hall from the founders of Assembly Underground in Leeds.

Their Manchester venture at Barbirolli Square - spanning 8,073 sq ft - has five independently-owned kitchens, a cocktail bar, and a craft beer taproom from Vocation brewery.

It's home to Elnecot's new concept, Dokes Pizzeria, as well as Chaat Cart, Slap & Pickle burgers, Manzoku and Yoki Social Table.

101 Barbirolli Square, M2 3BG | societymanchester.com

Brewdog Hotel

(James North)

Scottish beer brewing giants BrewDog have opened their first hotel in England here in Manchester.

The 18-bedroom hotel, bar and restaurant is centrally located just off Manchester’s Market Street, converting an old office building into a boutique hideaway.

There's beer on tap in the rooms, mini fridges stuffed with cans in the showers, pet-friendly bedrooms, and guitars, record players and Brompton bikes on hand.

The ground floor has become a huge bar and restaurant area, while upstairs is an all-weather rooftop terrace with its own taco truck.

Guests are even given a complimentary pint on check-in.

18-20 Fountain St, M2 2AR | brewdog.com/uk/hotels/uk/manchester-hotel

Ramona and The Firehouse

Taking over the old M.O.T. garage opposite Mackie Mayor is Ramona, where teepees and camp fires have filled the old forecourt and Detroit-style pizza slices whizz out of the kitchen.

Adding to that now is The Firehouse, a new Cali-style restaurant from the same team.

The indoor space specialises in ‘coal-roasting, charring and blistering,’ and has opened in an old warehouse depot building.

On the menu you'll find flame-grilled peri chicken, crushed roast potatoes, and baked chocolate puddings.

40 Swan St, M4 5JG | takemetoramona.com

Escape to Freight Island

(Jody Hartley)

Situated on a largely disused patch of land behind Manchester Piccadilly, Escape to Freight Island was purpose-built for Covid times.

Tables are socially distanced, the street food line-up is top notch, and sheltered areas are aplenty for those who feel more comfortable in the fresh air.

Then came its next phase, the Ticket Hall, filling the indoor space with a similar concept of street food, great drinks and live events.

This disused railway warehouse is now home to Jane Eyre, Mi & Pho, Krum, Belzan Pasta Kitchen, and Baraxuri, among others.

11 Baring St, M1 2PZ | escapetofreightisland.com

Blues Kitchen

(Manchester Evening News)

This one is a looker, and has bags of soul too - a multi-storey late-night bar and gig venue bringing a taste of the Deep South to Manchester.

The Blues Kitchen has taken over the old Walkabout site and turned it into a beautiful venue, decorated with salvaged items like a 1920s Air Stream Caravan and a gospel roof made with reclaimed 19th century tin plates from a derelict church in Manhattan.

The menu is barbecue and soul food, the bar is packed with bourbons, and the stage hosts live music seven days a week.

13 Quay St, M3 3HN | theblueskitchen.com/manchester

Jimmy's

(Supplied)

After being turfed out of its original Northern Quarter home on Newton Street, music bar Jimmy's has hopped across the ring road to Ancoats.

The popular bar, founded by One Night Only bandmates and brothers George and Jimmy Craig, has space for outdoor dining as well as two floors inside.

Elements of their original site have been brought over to Blossom Street, including its familiar black and red colour scheme.

Unlike the old venue though, their Ancoats bar has a similar food offering to their Liverpool site.

27 Blossom St, Ancoats, M4 6AJ | jimmys.group/manchester

Schofield's Bar

(Manchester Evening News)

Launched by award-winning bartender brothers Joe and Daniel Schofield, this swish cocktail bar has already become a firm favourite in Manchester.

It specialises in classic cocktails, done to perfection, alongside wines, beers and top-notch bar snacks.

The bar has an outdoor terrace and a stunning moody navy and wooden decor inside.

3 Little Quay St, M3 3JZ | schofieldsbar.com

PizzaLuxe

(Manchester Evening News)

We never thought we'd see the day that quality cocktails were being served in the heart of the Arndale, but it's happened.

PizzaLuxe has transformed a unit in Halle Place into a smart mix of black walls, soft lighting and plants, in stark contrast to the fluorescent lights and white glow of the shopping mall outside.

You'll find a menu of Roman-style, thin-crust pizzas, with 10-inch pizzas starting at just £5.50, all made using organic flour and a 96-hour slow-proved sourdough recipe.

Manchester Arndale, R10 Halle Place, M4 3AQ | pizzaluxe.com

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