At the moment, the word on everyone's lips is Ancoats. Anyone who is anyone wants to live there, eat there, drink there and open their dream business there.
But this fascination with this neighbourhood hasn’t popped up out of the blue. Turns out there are a plethora of reasons for people to set up shop in Ancoats, and I have taken the liberty of listing a few of them below…
The Historic Past
Ancoats was once at the very centre of a revolution which really put Manchester on the map. In the 19th Century, Manchester was a powerhouse of textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution and is therefore chock full of history that we can see around us every day. Ancoats is a hub for this history, and the area is even known as the world’s first Industrial suburb. The flesh and bones of this neighbourhood are old textile mills, many of which have since been developed into trendy flats which still manage to retain their charm.
The Modern Development
If there is one thing Ancoats does well, it is the marriage of old and new. It is teeming with the history of our industrious past, but in recent years it is also home to modern developments and there are many many more to come. Islington Wharf Locks, for example, runs alongside the canal close to the quaint Lock Keepers cottage. All these developers have a certain sensitivity towards this history of the area without neglecting modern tastes. Islington Wharf Locks is set to be a really good example of this design ethos with its brick exterior and architectural design which is intended to hug the canal. This development comes under the Government’s Help To Buy Scheme, which means you can be part of the Ancoats community by Summer with just a 5% deposit!
The Scenic Views
So we have history and we have modernisation and this all comes together to make an area that is quite beautiful in parts. Cutting Room Square, which was once nicknamed as ‘Little Italy’ is a huge open square which is jam-packed in the summertime with outdoor drinkers. Sometimes it feels like you are in a lovely Palazzo in Venice or something and It is really quite pretty. Islington Marina is a beautiful spot too if you want somewhere quiet to read a book and just get away from it all. There are loads of lovely canal boats parked up there too, which always make me think about Rosie and Jim, and instantly removes all anxiety.
The Best Pizza In Town
If you haven’t heard of Rudy’s then you don’t really deserve to live somewhere as lovely as Ancoats because your finger is so far off the pulse it is merely a distant tap. Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza started its life in Ancoats on Cutting Room Square and quickly climbed the ranks to become Manchester’s favourite pizzeria. They are cooked in a huge authentic pizza oven which creates that characteristic charred-yet-chewy base we just adore. All the toppings are authentically Italian and they have a cracking drinks menu to match. If you live In Ancoats, you will be within spitting distance of this fantastic restaurant, and if that isn’t reason enough to move, I don’t know what is.
When it comes to boozing, you are spoilt for choice in Ancoats. Elnecot (which I have just learnt was the original name for the area back in the day) is one of my top picks. They have an excellent selection of cocktails, including all the classics and some more original Elnecot mix-ups such as The Industrial Revolution which is a delectable concoction of gin, Cointreau, salted chai tea syrup and orange bitters. If it is beer you want, look no further than Seven Bro7hers Beer House who are a local team of seven actual brothers who are brewing beer right here in Manchester with a lovely laid-back bar in the centre of the neighbourhood. You’ll also find the likes of The Jane Eyre, The Hip Hop Chip Shop and the always enjoyable Second City.
The Proximity to the NQ
Not only is there loads of goings on in Ancoats itself, it is also ridiculously close to town. You can be in Piccadilly Gardens in ten minutes by foot and you can be in the NQ in even less. What this means is that you are closer to even more bars, restaurants and places to dance which are within stumbling distance to your bed. That means you don’t have to spend a fortune on taxies after a messy night out. On the flip side of that, you have to avoid falling in the canal when you’re pissed up, so swings and roundabouts really.
The Best Shop on Earth
The Ancoats General Store is amazing, and I am going to give you a few reasons why. First thing is, it harks back to a time before supermarkets when you could buy a bunch of random things from a corner shop- only it is much much bigger. Secondly, the produce is awesome. Loads of choice and options for those of us with weird and wonderful dietary requirements, as well as freshly baked bread and excellent coffee. You can get all the essentials too- from Tampax to Fairy Liquid to bin bags, so they have you covered there. Finally, their booze selection is cracking too. I do enjoy going to get some beers or some Prosecco and sitting around the corner on Cutting Room Square on a sunny day. They also do loads of different events including dining events, DJ’s and Scrancoats which I will talk about in less than 10 seconds…
Street Food Heaven
Not only is Mayfield Depot – home to Grub Food Fair– round the corner to conquer all your cravings for street food, Ancoats General Store has introduced Scrancoats. Every Thursday they let one street food trader pop up in store to cook up a storm and sell their delicious wares. Alumni include favourites like Oh My Glaze, Malay Street Food, Little Orange Co, Schmear and Oh Mei Dumpling just to name a few. Get involved! It makes a great way to try new things out.
It’s Well Connected
Not only can you walk into central Manchester with ease, Ancoats is also pretty well connected to Greater Manchester and beyond. The New Islington Tram, which is pretty central in the area, can take you up into the north towards Prestwich, Ashton, Ramsbottom and Bury, and south to equally desirable places like Chorlton and Didsbury. Manchester Piccadilly Train Station is also pretty close if you wanted to get to London or anywhere else in the country. If you have a car, you will leave just outside the Manchester Ring Road and so you can get out to wherever you want to be with ease.
Everyone has a Dog
I don’t know about you, but I am utterly obsessed with dogs, doggos, yappers, puppers, floofs and woofers in all their forms. If you are like me and you move to Ancoats, you are going to be late to everything because you will be stopping every ten feet to say hello to a lovely little Frenchie called Pablo, a Daschund called Frank or even a sassy Great Dane called Flo. Point is, everyone who is anyone is going to have a dog so if you ever needed an excuse to finally make your dreams come true and get that Chow Chow you’ve always wanted- move over to Ancoats.
There are Great Places to Exercise
If you are into a bit of exercise it is a great place to be too. There is an extremely well equipped Pure Gym over the road and the canal makes the perfect spot for an early morning jog. If that isn’t enough for you, Operation FIT run group sessions in Cutting Room Square and CottonField Wharf if you are down for a bit of PT training. I couldn’t think of anything worse, but if that’s your jam it’s the place to be!
The New Openings
Recent opens in the Ancoats area include amazing places like Viet Shack, The Counter House and a brand new site for Manchester favourite TROVE. But it doesn’t stop there. There are literally openings in Ancoats every couple of weeks- and that means that it is just going to get filled with more and more amazingly cool bars, restaurants and fun things to do. And guess what? That means life in Ancoats is only going to get better and we cannot wait.