Presented with the task of writing an introductory guide to Fallowfield I panicked, thinking that I had been too unadventurous in my first two years as a Manchester student. I had found things that I liked and I had stuck with them. Why fix what isn’t broken? So I pulled a group of friends together and quizzed them on their favourite places in the area. And as the answers began to pour in I realised that none of this was new to me. There is so much to do in Fallowfield but it is easy to forget or brush over it because it is all right under your nose. Especially in first year, living on the Fallowfield campus, everything is only a short walk away, and becomes so familiar. As friends told of their favourite night out takeaway or the best place to spend a lazy Sunday morning I realised that I had no reason to panic. While I may not have sampled every topping from each takeout pizza shop or carefully analysed and compared the drinks prices of every bar, I knew that there was a reason that I had chosen to carry on living there for a third year running. Fallowfield is the perfect location for a student who wants to throw themselves in, have fun and enjoy their new found freedom.
What makes Fallowfield attractive to many students is the number of bars it hosts in such close proximity. The ‘Fallowfield Fifteen’ bar crawl is therefore a popular night out for many sports teams, with its involvement being pretty self explanatory. If a rowdy night out following rugby boys dressed up as babies wearing nothing but nappies and spooning each other their own concoction of ‘baby food’ isn’t your thing, then Fallowfield still offers a more chilled night out. Font, on Wilmslow Road almost opposite the entrance to Owen’s Park, boasts a large menu of tasty cocktails, which is forever expanding, and at little over £2 each it makes it hard to say no to “just one more”.
If you’re looking for something a bit different to a standard overdressed night out in Revolution but don’t want to venture into town towards the Northern Quarter, then head further into Fallowfield, past Sainsbury’s, to The Ram. From the outside it is easy to be unsure of what to expect and this doesn’t change when you step inside, with odd mismatching furniture and graffiti artwork on the walls. Half of the pub is even a gutted out industrial size kitchen which is now given over to pool tables. But with wine served by the pint and regular live music and open mic nights, it is definitely a night that should be given a go.
Just a few meters down the road from Font, Fallow also offers live music. Serving up eclectic mix of beer and cider as well as affordable cocktails, an evening at Trof is a little different from your standard night-out in Fallowfield; but once you’ve discovered it you’ll almost definitely return. Not only do they often have alternative bands playing in an area that leads onto a heated, cosy balcony, but they will welcome you back in the morning with their tempting breakfasts.
For something a bit different, Squirrel’s Bar in Oak House offers a comedy night every other Sunday which is open to all. Hosting comedians who are just starting out as well as established names, including Jack Whitehall, it’s important to get there early to avoid being stuck in the front row and making yourself the target of ‘hilarious’ put-downs from the stand-ups.
If a break is needed from heavy nights out, then Platt Fields Park, just before Owens Park on Wilmslow Road, provides some green, wholesome fun. In good weather the lake is open for boating and pedalos, the park is perfect for BBQs, and every few months it is visited by a fair. The park also plays a large part in the local community and hosts events such as an annual Diwali celebration which includes a large firework show, complete with bonfire. On the last weekend of the final term, Platt Fields is turned not so green or wholesome but with added fun for Parklife Festival, which has big name headliners, nationwide visitors and ends the year with an unforgettable bang.
A guide to Fallowfield would not be complete without a mention of Gaffs, the infamous off-licence. Known for selling £1 bottles of wine, Gaffs is your go-to for cheap alcohol, tickets for nights out, food, DVDs and anything else you could possibly be in desperate need of.
So really apart from the attendance of university when it really is necessary, there is no need to leave Fallowfield when you have everything you could possibly need no more than a few hundred meters away from you. For a guaranteed good night out, I suggest you head to Gaffs to stock up, pop into Font for a few cocktails, dance down to 256 where the music will keep you on your feet all night, and then stagger into your choice of takeaway. (I recommend Venice Pizza or Allan’s Chicken although there is always the trusty Dominos). Wander back to your halls and wake up ready to do it all again tomorrow.