The Grill on the Alley, The Alchemist & Australasia Recommended by Elle
From the oldest and biggest Gay Pride in the UK to the heady retro-vibe and vintage stores of the Northern Quarter, Manchester's certainly not short of variety. Our Manchester guide lays out how to do the city the ELLE way...
Where to Eat in Manchester
For the perfect amount of pre-night-out buzz, join the dashing, well-dressed set at The Grill on the Alley (5 Ridgefield, M2 6EG; tel: 0161 833 3465). The look is sleek, the steaks exceptional and the live-music smouldering. Afterwards, dip downstairs to the basement lair, Panacea. Skip the menu and ask the mixologist for a custom cocktail or default to Cristal - favoured by the off-duty footballers and celeb-y crowd who rule the roost. Situated on the first floor of a majestic heritage building, Room (81 King Street, M2 4AH; tel: 0161 839 2005) is another smart and sociable spot. Arrive early for an aperitif - try the Pornstar Martini, a tongue-tingling passionfruit and champagne fusion - before settling into the enormous wood-panelled dining room for a taste of British staple dishes with a twist.
Where to Go Out in Manchester
The heady days of the Hacienda may be long gone but Manchester's party spirit remains. If you're a fan of elegant modernist surroundings and a great mojito, try Alchemist, an indoor-outdoor glass boite in the centre of shiny Spinningfields (1 New York Street, M1 4HD; tel: 0161 228 3856). Round the corner, Antipodean-inspired cocktail bar and small plates place Australasia (1 the Avenue, Spinningfields, M3 3AP; tel: 0161 817 2950) transforms at 11pm from a svelte underground eatery to a sizzling subterranean nightclub with resident and guest DJs competing to ramp up the atmosphere from behind a luminous NASA-like screen. Deservedly popular, reservations can be tough to secure, so book a Late Lounge table well in advance.
A menu of Pacific Rim flavours underpinned by European cooking tradition, an exotic blend of Indonesian and Southeast Asian influences. Australia's strong ties with Japan also help determine taste and style.
With an extension of Australasia is Grand Pacific - a contemporary colonial oasis in the heart of Spinningfields. Combining modern Australian cuisine and Pacific Rim flavours with a wealth of delicious cocktails, Grand Pacific offers a lighter side of the Australasia experience . With a canopied outdoor garden, Grand Pacific is a refreshing retreat from the bustle of the city.