56 Peter Street is one of those imposing Edwardian-era stunners that Manchester city centre does incredibly well indeed. Clad in brown and buff terracotta, carved statues and ornate detailing contrast the nod towards modernism visible in the window placements. The building sits on the site of the old Natural History Museum, and trumps that what that institution looked like on first impression. Clearly, then it needs to house bold, striking things, and Exhibition gives it that. Opened in September 2022, complete with a stunning interior accentuating classic features of the address.
The space boasts a late night bar, 400-capacity performance space, and seven exhibition areas for visual work. That’s in addition to the carefully aligned independent kitchens. A real asset to the city centre’s informal dining scene, Exhibition takes a serious approach to curating the ingredients needed for an unforgettable experience. Three food specialists are on-site at any one time, all available through the same shared menu, with dishes designed to accompany each other, rather than compete. At the time of writing, that meant Basque food from Baratxuri, and OSMA’s sophisticated Norwegian minimalism — all working together for your table. Whether that means mixing and matching your own plates or keeping everyone satisfied.
Describing its drinks list as a “labour of love for the team”, Exhibition exceeds equally when it comes to filling glasses. Cocktails are a real highlight (when are they ever not?), with a number of exclusive, in-house creations on the menu along with more common options. Again, these are about emphasising, rather than taking away from, the food itself. Wednesday to Friday sees happy hour make all that more affordable between 4PM and 7PM, and soon after Wednesday to Sunday live singers, solo instrumentalists, DJs and other performers do their do on stage. Plenty to keep you coming back, then.