Have you been to Manchester recently? If you truly want to live like a VIP you need to get to the home of the MEN arena, the Manchester City and Manchester United football teams, the Coronation Street stars and the new home of the BBC TV centre. All the celebs involved with these things need somewhere to hang out and so the city is crawling with places to feel like a VIP and to spot a VIP or two.
I know this for a fact as I recently visited Manchester for the first time ever for a bloggers meet-up to talk about my book Get Rich Blogging and to meet the Capital Radio 102fm team over a glass of bubbly…as you do!
I’d heard lots about Manchester and felt really envious when friends from the North went on Twitter or Facebook and shared photos of their cool nights out. And that’s not to mention paparazzi photos of celebrities falling out of bars and clubs like Rosso, The Living Room, Panacea, Australasia, and The Alchemist.
I had one night in Manchester and I found to my delight that living like a VIP is a lot more affordable there than it is in London, even with the hotel cost included. Here are my recommendations:
(1) The Alchemist: Pre-Dinner Drinks and Food
One of Manchester’s newest bars is the Alchemist on New York Street. I had high hopes as the opening night was attended by Coronation Street’s Jenni McAlpine and Antony Cotton as well as Shameless Stars and models. The décor is gorgeous – all distressed leather sofas and quirky light fittings but it is the cocktails that most people come for.
Here’s a close up of the creation he’s making.
Check out the Drinks Menu here and it will blow your mind.
The food is super affordable with mains costing an average of £9.95 – half the price you’d pay in London.
TOTAL COST: £23 for two cocktails and a delicious chicken dinner. Visit the Alchemist Wesbite
(2) Australasia: Cocktails and Dancing
The attention to detail in this place is insane. You feel special from the moment you see the door – you enter through a glass pyramid and walk Down Under (as Australasia is Down Under, geddit?)
The menus are designed like passports (keeping with the travelling theme) and the interior feels bright and summery and upbeat. Can I live here please?
And while we’re at it can I work my way through the whole cocktail menu, please? Inspired by the Australasian / Pan Asian theme, the cocktails are full of delicious ingredients from Eastern Asia. Kumquat and Lemongrass Mojito anyone? Too right! The bar is open til 3am on Friday and Saturday so you can dance off the calories from the drinks.
TOTAL COST: £7.95 for one cocktail. (In London, such unique drinks would be at least £9.95). Visit the Australasia website
(3) The Living Room: A nightcap
The Living Room opened in 1999 and to survive almost 15 years in a city where new things open all the time they must be doing something right! The strange thing is that it doesn’t look much from the outside.
But since 1999 there have been visits from Coleen Rooney, Alex Gerrard, tons of Hollyoaks and Coronation St stars, Katie Price and Peter Andre, Michelle Heaton, Pamela Anderson, N-Dubz and tons and ton of footballers. Its diminished a bit since Rio Ferdinand opened his own bar – Rosso – in Manchester but if you’re after a lively night out, I discovered that the Living Room has a fantastic vibe…and yet more stylish and very comfortable décor.
There’s a restaurant on the first floor (which I’d like to come back and try) but it’s the cocktails in the ground floor bar that attract the big crowds. Everyone dresses up and makes a real effort and as a result the barman will whip you up something guaranteed to satisfy your tastebuds. The menu caters for everyone – whether you like a signature Old Fashioned or a classic mojito or want to try something adventurous like a Porn Star Martini.
COST: £7 on average for one cocktail. Although you may want more when you see the variety of drinks on offer. Visit the Living Room Manchester website
(4) Ibis: Affordable Hotel Comfort
Ibis is a hotel chain with branches in most of the major cities in the UK and around the world. I wanted to stay somewhere central, somewhere reasonably priced (as I knew I would spend more time partying than sleeping), somewhere clean and somewhere offering a decent breakfast (to soak up the excesses of the previous night).
The Ibis on Portland Street was the ideal location for all the bars and restaurants and you could even walk to Harvey Nichols and Selfridges in just 15 minutes. That’s my kind of location. Their double room was really spacious compared to other so-called ‘affordable hotel chains’ I’ve visited, there was a wardrobe to hang up my party clothes, an effective hairdryer and the bed was seriously comfortable. Oh and there were towels and soap in the bathroom when I arrived which is another small luxury you don’t always get for a hotel in this price-range.
And as for breakfast…the buffet was immense!
There were sausages, bacon, beans, scrambled egg, mushrooms, tomatos, toast, croissant and baguettes as well as a variety of cereals and fresh and dried fruit. This was a five star breakfast for just £7.95. Talk about living, sleeping and eating like a VIP
TOTAL COST: Rooms at Manchester Centre Portland Street start from £52 with a buffet all-you-can-eat breakfast costing £7.95. Visit the Centre Portland Street hotel on the Ibis website
WEEKEND COST: £97.90 – INCLUDING HOTEL ROOM!!!!!Read more »