It doesn’t seem five minutes since we were putting together an extensive list of the most anticipated new restaurant, bar and venue openings for 2023. Well February’s arrived already and some of those are up and running while other new places are polishing those last few knives and forks ready to welcome guests. Although we have sadly lost several restaurants this year, our ever-evolving dining scene keeps on mutating and blossoming, as is the order of things.
This month’s new openings include a Joy Division themed bar, an eco-focused fine dining spot and a London bakery taking its first steps up north.
Read on for the new Manchester restaurants and bars to check out in February.
Want to get one up on your mates by absolutely thrashing their arses at PacMan? Didsbury’s newest bar, 1UP might be the ping to your pinball.
This Wilmslow road gaming bar has everything a player wants from pinball machines (including the only publicly available Stranger Things one in the UK) to Pokemon cards to neon beer pong to an eight-person Dungeons and Dragons table. Owners George Horsley and Luke Wilson built as much of the bar themselves as possible and it features Tetris block toilet decor, portal infinity mirrors (do not use when drunk unless you want to vomit) and an eight foot Donkey Kong mural to welcome you in by chucking a few barrels at you, obviously.
Sustenance comes from Wings of Power who specialise in wings, tenders bites and burgers in both chicken and vegan form served with a choice of flavour rubs and dips. The owners describe their vision for this bar as a “haven for people with an interest in all aspects of gaming culture to come and share in collective enthusiasm” and there is, of course, plenty of booze on offer to keep you going from 1UP branded beer to D&D themed cocktails. Gives a whole new meaning to consoling yourself over a pint.
657 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 6RA
Opening 17 February
Disorder is a new Northern Quarter bar named after the Joy Division song of the same title. The venue will pay homage to the career of the seminal Manchester band, featuring a huge mural of frontman Ian Curtis painted by local graffiti legend Akse. Taking over where Walrus and Man With the Fish left off, this project from college pals James Stewart and Sam Koropisz from Stockport will sit across two floors with one serving Asian inspired street-food, cocktails and beers, and the other venue hosting live music and DJs.
Classically trained Executive Chef Bryan Barber has created a menu which he says combines British cuisine, BBQ smokehouse and sushi. It’s another Manchester venue to add to the every growing ‘inspired by Japanese izakaya bars’ pile which lends itself to a sociable, bar grazing atmosphere. Another venue championing shokupan (and we are here for it), their take on Japanese sandos include one featuring black pudding and another with a take on a PB&J (fried chicken, lemongrass peanut satay sauce and spiced berry jam). There will also be spicy Korean noodle topped fries and plenty of dishes cooked on the traditional Japanese konro grill using produce from top local butcher Littlewoods as well as plenty of vegan and veggie options.
78-88 High St, Manchester M4 1ES
There are many reasons to want to live in Marple or its little neighbour Marple Bridge, the Stockport suburb is quaint and pretty with sonnet-worthy views and plenty of decent food and drink spots. It has award winning chippies and butchers, cosy pubs and it’s an easy commute to and from town. Now, Fold Bistro looks set to give the area another feather in its cap. With both chefs Ryan Stafford and Craig Sherrington having enjoyed TV fame (Masterchef and Great British Menu respectively), you can expect their heavyweight fine dining expertise to make itself known via dishes like Earl Stonham wagyu tartare, chip shop croquettes, and lamb hotpot ravioli. It’s also got a bottle shop stocking a modern range of both conventional and natural wines that you can pop in to take away or order alongside your meal. One worth making a diversion for.
7 Town St, Marple Bridge, Stockport SK6 5AA
Opening 16 February
London-based Gail’s bakery was launched back in the 90s by Yael (Gail) Mejia who had previously run a successful business providing game changing bread and baked goods to many of the capital’s Michelin star restaurants. Gail’s is still known as the place to go for dough down south as workers and residents lucky enough to have one in their neighbourhood line up for its gigantic cinnamon rolls, flour dusted sourdough loaves and spectacular filled bagels. Now, Gail’s has set its sights on the North with its first branch north of the Midlands opening in Wilmslow in February and others on the way for King Street in the city centre and Altrincham later in the year.
46-52 Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AP
Great North Pie Co
Opening 24 February
Award-winning Cheshire pastry masters Great North Pie Co have announced their eagerly awaited opening date on the cobbles of Little David Street at Kampus. Beginning in a humble home kitchen, the brand has grown from operating as a pop up at local farmers markets to supplying pies for multiple high quality restaurants in the North West. Its Altrincham Market branch regularly has long queues forming for its deep-filled pies teetering on a mound of buttery mash served with steaming gravy. Think crisp all-butter cases filled with locally sourced ingredients such as Dewlay’s tasty Lancashire cheese with caramelised white onion, white pepper, nutmeg and Japanese breadcrumbs, or Yorkshire grass-fed beef mince, roast onion puree, ale gravy, peas and redcurrant jelly. You can never have too many pie shops, and Manchester doesn’t have anywhere near enough of them so this is a very welcome new opening.
Little David Street, Manchester, M1 3GA
Opening 18 February
If you’ve got your eye on the cutting edge chefs of Manchester, you may remember a pop up called Higher Ground which opened in the Kampus security bungalow right at the start of 2020. It was ill-timed in a way nobody could have predicted but for a moment, it was the most exciting new dining destination in the city with high praise across the board. Fast forward to December 2021 and the small team opened Flawd wine bar on Islington Marina, its tiny kitchen giving a glimpse into the kind of beautiful, conscientious food chef Joseph Otway had been producing at Higher Ground and gaining yet more critical acclaim.
Now, the team which also includes Richard Cossins and Daniel Craig Martin, who between them have worked at some of the world’s most forward thinking restaurants (Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York, Relae and Noma in Copenhagen, Where The Light Gets In in Stockport), are relaunching Higher Ground as a full size, ambitious restaurant. It will move into the spot vacated by the Department of Coffee and Social Affairs on Faulkner Street on the edge of Chinatown. The team also own organic farm Cinderwood Market Garden whose produce you have probably seen popping up on top restaurant menus across the city. Expect beautiful produce treated with care, then, as well as an even bigger range of the natural wine that Flawd has become known for. We’ll be publishing a deeper dive into this new opening soon.
Faulkner House, Faulkner St, Manchester M1 4DY
Mira at Sadler’s Cat
Fans of deep-filled, Italian-style crusty bread butties with copious amounts of sauce washed down with craft beer from local Manchester breweries will be gesticulating wildly at this news. Mira is bringing its Neapolitan Cuzzetiello sandwiches to Sadler’s Cat pub for the “forseeable future”. The sarnies served from “the Shack” next door to the tiny beer bar will be available 12-4pm Wednesdays and 12-8pm Thursday to Sunday every week. On the fillings front, think meatballs (meaty or vegan) with pesto, mozzarella and tomato sauce, or Swiss cheese, pickled pears, red onion rocket and spicy pink mayo. If you normally go for a meal deal at lunchtime, the man in the Mira is asking you to change your ways.
Hanover St, Manchester M60 0AB
New traders at New Century
New Century is a design-led music venue and food hall over in the NOMA area near Victoria station, it opened in August 2022 with a raft of exciting food traders which included The French’s Adam Reid with a butty shop. Adam’s wrapped up his last bap and gone back to deconstructing fish pies over at his fancy pants restaurant in the Midland. Bao Bros has also moved out, both sad losses but there is good news in all of this too. Two new traders have moved in, the first being Agreste, a Mexican restaurant from the people behind the highly regarded La Capilla in Heaton Moor. Agreste will only be popping up for three months so you better be speedy if you want to try it. The second is The Spice Yard. Famous for her spice blends, owner Nina will be bringing Gujarati inspired delights to the party. We look forward to trying both.
34 Hanover St, Manchester M4 4AH
Not a new opening as such but a rebrand worth your attention. Stockport’s lovable dive bar Notion has had a notable menu overhaul and is now serving New York style pizzas. Stockport’s got a lot of good food and drink these days but it’s not quite achieved the wall to wall pizza status of other parts of Manchester so we reckon this is a slice of good news. The food comes from the same team as pie shop Ate Days a Week whose generous fillings and music-themed punny dish names have already won over plenty of hearts and bellies. Pun fans will be glad to know that there are pizzas on this menu named things like Whatta Scran (with salt and pepper chicken and Tabasco), Lightning Balt (with tandoori chicken, onion bhajis and mango chutney) and erm, Shake It Scoff (a sweet pizza with Biscoff, white chocolate and marshmallows). Also on the menu are fries, tenders, falafels and mozzarella sticks. Sounds like perfect beer food to us.
8 Vernon St, Stockport SK1 1TY
Opening 3 February
This Failsworth cafe moving into a former florist’s on Oldham Road promises “food without faff” which is a good thing in our book. Serving “proper cafe scran” alongside a more modern health-conscious menu of pressed juices and green veggies, there may be traditional influences at play here but the branding approach is bang up to date. With hoodies, coffee cups and a minimalist sign all in forest green with a cute little house and chimney logo, we reckon this will be a mi casa es su casa vibe – with added style. A welcome addition to Failsworth no doubt.
746 Oldham Rd, Failsworth, Manchester M35 9FE
Stock Market Grill
Opening end of February
This one’s a biggie. The new incarnation of the restaurant at the Stock Market Hotel looks set to more than fill the boots vacated by Tom Kerridge’s Bull & Bear last year. Benefitting from the Midas touch of the Schofield brothers (responsible for probably the best cocktail bar in the city, Schofields, as well as Atomec and Sterling), it’s hard to imagine this place not being class personified. Add to that the skills of head chef Joshua Reed Cooper who developed his trade at The French and Where The Light Gets In before impressing everyone with his own pop up Tine, and you’ve got a recipe for, well, dishes like whipped black pudding with yolk on toast, tartare of ribeye with caper jam and smoked dripping, steamed cod with caramelised mash and tartare sauce and sticky toffee tart with honey custard. We imagine the cocktails will be alright as well.
Stock Exchange Hotel, 4 Norfolk St, Manchester M2 1DW
Some time in February
More noodz in our inbox, Suki Suki is set to open its “East Asian” inspired bar and restaurant at the Great Northern in February. The small menu packs morsels from a variety of East Asian cuisines into its lunchbox. There are Japanese gyoza and tempura, Korean wings, and Chinese bang bang prawns, sui mai and bao on the snack section with more substantial wok-based dishes and bowls of ramen. One for a pre-cinema feast maybe? Suki Suki will also be operating on Deliveroo.
Great Northern, 227 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4EN
Waffle Kart at General Store Ancoats
General Store Ancoats knows how to choose its food pop ups. Previous tasty tenants have included Mira, Herbivorous and Desert Island Dumplings. The latest wacky idea to move in is chicken and waffle pop up Waffle Kart. In the interest of research, we had to try this one and were very impressed by the super crispy fried chicken nestled between a mattress fort of two soft waffles. We also tried a novel waffle sandwich of spam and folded silky eggs with crispy chilli oil, and some waffle-based prawn toast. These pop ups are short lived so get to Waffle Kart ASAP if you want to try this one.
57 Great Ancoats St, Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5AB