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Colony Guide to The Northern Quarter (Part 1)

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25 November 2021

New to Colony? For members new & old, we wanted to create a guide to help acquaint yourself with the local area. Our Space & Community Manager, Jamie, made this helpful guide to get you started. (Part 1)

Colony Guide to the Northern Quarter

Every great city has an area that moves a little differently to the rest of it. A neighbourhood that is almost a whole sub-culture in of itself. Where the streets breathe with a nervously energetic rhythm, as though round the next corner anything could be waiting to be found. In this space you’ll find the authenticity of the city laid bare, ready to be moulded by any who are brave enough to be seen. For Manchester this area is the Northern Quarter.

Famous for independent shops, emporiums, bars, restaurants, nightclubs & music venues, you can find just about anything in the NQ. Old millworker accommodation and warehouses are now inhabited by artisan coffee spots and dusty record stores. It’s a microcosm of Manchester, with its proud industrial core lurking just below the face of regeneration. Despite the extensive developments that have gone on in the area, efforts have been made to retain that NQ edge. After all, it is the coarseness of this neighbourhood that makes it so charismatic.

Luckily for Colony Members this oasis of chaotic good is just on the doorstep of our Colony Astley venue. We sent our Community Manager, Jamie, out to document some of the amazing wonders that await those who venture to the NQ.

Eastern Bloc – Record store, café, bar.

Location: 5a Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN


  • There’s nothing that quite encapsulates the Northern Quarter more than a sunny late afternoon at Eastern Bloc. Whether you want to finger your way through their fantastic record selection or enjoy a pint and a bite in the sunshine on Stevenson’s Square, you will likely be lured into sticking around for longer as the infectious energy of the area spills onto the streets. This often results in being rewarded with DJ sets from some of the city’s finest selectors who take over Eastern Bloc’s exquisite sound system at night.

Koffee Pot – Breakfast & brunch spot, bar.

Location: 84-86 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE


  • This diner style restaurant is a great little place for grabbing breakfast. They have something delicious to suit all palettes and you can usually get a table without booking! The Big-Yin breakfast is a personal favourite.

Oi Polloi – Clothing Store

Location: 63 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1LQ


  • Few clothing stores can lay claim to the cultural significance that Oi Polloi has brought to the world. Since opening in 2002 it quickly became the go to spot for exporting the ‘Manchester’ look. Bands, celebs, and a whole generation of young lads made routine visits to secure the best of the best in menswear. This legacy lives on today and their eye for quality has never wavered.

Night & Day – Music venue, bar

Location: 26 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN


  • This is for the live music lovers! At dusk this bar transforms into a stage for some of the world’s best up and coming bands. Rocking up on a mid-week evening you can perch at the bar and sip at some bourbon while listening to next years’ top ‘breakout artist’ for a tenner. Night & Day just turned 30 years old which is amazing and a testament to their dedication to Manchester's music scene. All of the city's biggest bands cut their teeth here and you should too.

Pull-Up – Caribbean Restaurant & Bar

Location: 14-16 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JN


  • One of the best spots to eat in the city. Atmosphere and vibes aplenty. The food is top tier, and their own brand house beer is actually different to the 10990834732 white label pale ales you find elsewhere. They even do Sunday roasts! Not to be missed.

SOUP – Club, Bar, Kitchen

Location: 31-33 Spear St, Manchester M1 1DF


  • If you enjoyed hanging out in Stevenson square then why not stroll over to Soup? You can catch the best of the city’s dance music scene in the basement or providing the tunes in the main bar. This venue regularly hosts some of the most forward-thinking dance music nights in the country. They also offer excellent bites to eat.

The NQ is crammed full of amazing places and things! This is just part 1 of the guide so stay tuned for our next instalment!

If you enjoyed this and would like to find out more about working on the doorstep of this fantastic area then drop us an email at or call 01619743666.

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