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29th September 2023

Five new restaurants and bars to try in Manchester this autumn

A guide to Manchester’s current hottest spots
Five new restaurants and bars to try in Manchester this autumn
Photo: Jonny Gios @ Unsplash

Over the summer, Manchester has welcomed some quirky and exciting spots that eagerly await returning students. From a 2D café to a frozen daiquiri bar, these places won’t want to be missed! 

Waku Waku

Since opening in August, this Japanese restaurant on Portland Street has received a lot of attention – and for a very good reason. Designed to look like a monochrome cartoon, Waku Waku is Manchester’s first-ever two-dimensional restaurant. Aside from its visual appeal, this restaurant serves delicious Japanese cuisine, making it well worth a visit. 

Waku Waku is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday to Sunday from 12-10pm. 

Mean-Eyed Cat

After its major success in Liverpool and Leeds, this bar has finally arrived in Oldham Street, Northern Quarter. Describing itself as a “Deep South-inspired dive bar”, this rock and roll spot is known for its ‘Roll the Dice game’, where you have the chance to win a free round by rolling a six! Serving outrageous flavours, including an American Pie cocktail and banana pudding shots, this spot is truly unique. While the cocktails edge on the expensive side, a free six-inch pizza is served with every drink before 9 p.m., making it a more affordable experience.

Mean-Eyed Cat is open Monday to Saturday from 5pm until late.

Insomnia Cookies

With over 200 locations across the USA, this mouth-watering bakery has finally arrived in the UK. With one site in the city centre’s Royal Exchange and the other on University Green, students are never far from freshly baked, gooey cookies. From the Classic Chocolate Chunk to the Vegan Hazelnut Deluxe cookie, this bakery caters to everyone. Plus, as hinted by the name, cookies are served until 3 a.m., making them the perfect midnight snack!

Insomnia Cookies is open Sunday to Wednesday 10am-1am, and Thursday to Saturday 10am-3am.

Must be Micky’s

Formerly known as Mira, Manchester’s beloved sandwich spot has rebranded and found a new location in PLY in the Northern Quarter. This shop serves incredible focaccia sandwiches, including brilliant vegan options, such as the Cauli Cartel. Despite its hefty price of £10.85, this sandwich is jam-packed (not literally) with a wonderful combination of roast cauliflower, smashed avocado, red pepper sauce, toasted cashews, pickled red onion, lettuce, and lime zest mayo. Wash down your main with a homemade soda and a well-deserved doughnut to make it the perfect meal.

Must be Micky’s is open for lunch from Tuesday to Sunday 11:30am-4pm.

Leno Ex Machina

Transforming the former industrial complex on Ducie Street into a creative, daring, and delicious space, Leno Ex Machina is a must-visit. Since opening in July, Leno Ex Machina has provided three impressive experiences: Pizza Ex Machina, Rum Ex Machina, and Party Ex Machina. It houses Manchester’s largest open kitchen, serving unique pizzas that combine the NYC and Neapolitan styles together. Their pizzas pair perfectly with the 20 frozen daiquiri machines found in their House of Daiquiri. On top of this, the evening involves an immersive stage party performance in the Galleria, making it ideal for a Saturday night.

Opening hours Wednesday to Friday 4pm until late, and weekends 12pm until late. 

So, rather than heading back to your go-to café or favourite bar, why not venture out to one of Manchester’s new and trending spots? Whether it’s a cute lunch date or a post-club snack, these new restaurants have you covered… and they won’t disappoint!

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