I'm completely comfortable with my love for The Northern, a cheeky little pub-slash-club. I generally go there to dance the night away. It plays plenty of soul, funk and motown type stuff that's perfect for getting you bopping with your boo and buds. And there's a great vibe to this place, from the moment you realise that the entrance is on a separate street from where you actually saw the place, to going down what feels like a secret corridor to get in there. Covert operation, hmm. Intrigue!
It's that wonderful, intangible mix of chilled out and lively, and having never been there during the day I'm desperate to try out the food I've been hearing so much about. Expect an update. The decor is sophisticated and retro, with a little dance floor just at the edge of the bar on which to do your thang. I remember heading there on my birthday once, after my evil stilettos had caused me to scrape my poor knee on some Manchester cobbles. I can assure you that my weepy pout was gone within half an hour of entering this bar. Vince Noir of the Mighty Boosh stated that it's impossible to be unhappy in a poncho. It's been proved to me so far that it's impossible to be unhappy in The Northern. Whenever I get the urge to boogie, this is where I take my tush. You should too.
The Northern calls itself a pub but lets be honest its more of a bar - its just too goddamn modern to be a pub. Very girl-friendly because it is clean and cosy.
Lets hear how The Northern describes its clientele:
A pub for romancers,
dancers, soul boys and beat kids,
young go getters
& should know betters.
Hmm. Bit posey for a pub really isn't it - trendy Northern Quarter bar that charges a leeetle bit more for drinks in exchange for proximity to quirk, yes.
I heartily thank The Northern for rescuing me at a time of crisis (non-alcoholic gig venues indeed, pah) and for that I will always be grateful. And indeed there is much to like...
I am in love with the leather-bound cushioned rail in front of the bar. I've never seen anything like it before. It is mighty comfortable to lean against whilst one awaits one's drink and as my highly perceptive friend points out "I bet it comes in handy later in the night when balance becomes an issue." Indeed, I bet it makes being propped up by the bar ten times easier!
The décor also tickles my fancy. It's arty but at the same time tasteful and chic, very visually appealing. And I will second what somebody has already mentioned, people just don't want to sit still in here! As early as 9pm on a Friday night and a group of friends are already shimmying over in the corner. And I can't blame them, because I totally dig what the DJ is playing: a wonderful blend of reggae, rock and pop.
Yes, the music was brilliant, but definitely too loud. In spite of the one group of dancers, most people in here are sitting down and chatting, or at least trying to, it's more like shouting though if you ask me. It made it really difficult to have any form of conversation, so despite our love for the music, we scarpered after one pint, in favour of somewhere we could actually communicate.
The only other disadvantage is that the cheapest pint is £3.50. Yes yes I know this is Northern Quarter standard and I really ought to just deal with it. But it makes my heart sink every time nonetheless.
I'm pretty much 90% certain that him from Embrace has a stake in this place.
It's hardly cheap within - witness the bartender's almost apolagetic wince as he quotes the price for two Sailor Jerry/cokes. Still, you get what you pay for, don't you?
I love how you've to wander down a tunnel to get here. I love how the smoking section resides grotto like in an alcove connected to this tunnel. I love the decor, the lighting, the sounds...
...look, if we're to win the fight against lairy laddish Wetherspoon bar culture, we're to make places like this our headquarters. Got it?
Here we will congregate.
I never really have high hopes for a place that can't be bothered to conjure up a decent name for itself, so The Northern in the Northern Quarter wasn't exactly off to a good start. Since it's one of the first things people will see I'd imagine you'd want something catchy and original, but then again maybe that's why I don't own a pub.
The Northern is one of these places which combines the atmosphere of a pub with the decadence of a club, or at least tries to. The whole thing sort of falls flat for me, with drinks that are slightly too expensive and music that is slightly too bland. But it's not bad, which seems to be the popular opinion here, although I doubt that's exactly what they're aiming for.
I'd never been here until Friday night, when I was given a voucher for a free cocktail here at an Absolut-sponsored Spike Jonze film about robot love. Having already had a couple of free cocktails and having to get up early on Saturday morning we basically just wanted the free drink, so were disappointed when the bouncers said it would be £3 to get in. After explaining our predicament to the bouncers they let us in for free for our free drink. I already liked this place.
It was about 10.30 on a Friday night but the place wasn't packed unlike a few of the smaller Northern Quarter bars seemed to be. We could manage a conversation over the music, but this was cranked up as we were about to leave, presumably to try to attract people to the dance floor. I think they are a little bit optimistic in the description of their 'outside courtyard with a view of the stars', but it is a decent smoking area and the whole bar is nicely decorated in an unpretentious way (they have the Coronation Street ducks on the wall!).
If ever I'm at a loose end in town at 2.30am on a Sunday night then I'm sure I'd pop back to the Northern! It's the only city centre bar which I know is open 'til 5am at the weekends, so if you've still got energy after dancing the night away at Moho Live then the Northern would be a great place to finish off the night.
A scrubbed up metrosexual of a pub, The Northern is cryptically named after the area in which it sits. If you guessed the Northern Quarter, well done you, you're gonna be alright.
Any pub that you access through a hidden tunnel (a hidden tunnel!!) is A OK in my book so things were of to a flier on my arrival.
Upon reaching the bar the magic kind of dissolved into the cosy and down-and-out-decadence of the decor -think Paris chateau meets slightly upmarket Yates's and your almost there- but on the whole the place was nice enough and had a laid back elegance to it.
There are food and drinks deals aplenty on offer and entertainment includes bands, DJs, cabaret, poetry and acoustic nights and the odd art installation.
Once you've gotten your head around which door to use, and how to actually get in, The Northern is an OK place to be. It's nothing mind-blowing, just a nice pub. But of course, in the middle of a district full of quirky bars and cool cafes, sometimes you need just a nice pub.
The Northern has a nice feel to it, probably because its slighjtly hidden-away entrance on Tib Street prevents the sort of passing trade that the NQ doesn't like (yes, OK, I am being snobby but shush up, it's true) so you'll generally find a nice genial atmosphere with a good chance of getting a seat.
Personally, I use The Northern as a venue for pre-Mint Lounge drinking, as you can station yourself near the windows on Oldham Street, have a drink and monitor the queue. This is how I avoid doing too much standing around in the rain.
Drinks prices are the usual, and they do a deal on house wine though I cannot for the life of me remember...how annoying. Anyway, a nice friendly pub with a really good atmosphere. Nice one.
The bouncers on the door here are quite scary, I've seen the rejected less well dressed. As long as you're not a tramp on a Friday or a Saturday night though, you're welcome here.
The Northern is a large pub, with strange little parts to it. As you've got the tables near the entry across from the bar, then as you walk round the decor changes and it's like you could be sitting in someone's living room. The toilets with Elvis and Lisa-Marie on them are quite strange too.
The Northern is about supporting the local talent from bands to DJ's, quizzes to cabaret, poetry to acoustic nights. It's about being Manchester, Northern and proud in here. Equally so, it does get very loud and often busy. Better still, the pub creates its own dancefloor as people just love the music and place so much they just can't stop moving.
I've got a soft spot for The Northern. It is cosy, in the Northern Quarter, close to Abakhan Fabrics and CSV Media. It is in the part of NQ that I first discovered back in 2005, and for all those reasons it is near and dear to my heart.
Other reasons include friendly staff, a great owner, live music, fab menu, a good if unsurprising selection of drinks, and a stylish interior. Think of red spheric lamps, portraits of Joan Crawford and Tony Wilson, as well as framed words of wisdom from a few great men (e.g. Tony Wilson). Predictably, my favourite places in The Northern are the corner of the long sofa under the large wall mirror, opposite the bar, and the armchairs and sofa at the other side of the bar.
The place is popular among Manchester's creative folk, and has hosted Social Media Cafe many times since November 2008. Thanks to its pizzas, it is a great stop on the Northern Quarter bar trail, and sometimes their late lights don't go down well until dawn!
Once upon a time, not so long ago, The Northern was a remarkably scummy smash-yer-face-in pub called 'The Kings'. It was the kind of place where polite drinkers feared to tread, and whenever I walked past it in its previous incarnation, I was usually treated to the sounds of some rather raucous (and very poorly performed) karaoke which was taking place within its four walls.
Then some new owners came along, gave the place a lick of paint and some new wallpaper, put up some pictures of Tony Wilson and it suddenly became 'The Northern' - an altogether fancier old man's pub which was more fitting for the Northern Quarter. And whilst The Northern is a very nice pub indeed, it's never really set my heart alight.
That's not to say it's totally unremarkable. It has a rather nice little snug which is papered in pictures of John Cooper Clark, it serves some relatively decent beer and wine, and even doles out exceedingly nice measures of Sloe Gin & Tonics (always a sign of a good drinking establishment in my book).
It also has a pretty decent beer garden, some good DJs and stays open until shockingly late - making it a great place to rock up to for an after hours pint when everywhere else in the vicinity has shut up shop for the night. Do watch out for the toilets though - I got trapped in the ladies once due to a stuck door, and had to text my friend for help!
The Northern is a nice pub. But when it comes to atmosphere for me it will always come up a bit short.
Like most people living in Manchester, I've only ever been in The Northern after everywhere else has closed.
That's The Northern's unique selling point - it closes really, really late.
Of course, that means that the rest of the pub is utterly unremarkable. That's by no means a bad thing. There's half decent beer in the pumps and a relatively friendly staff.
There's also a small courtyard for smokers of which there's absolutely nothing to relay to you.
At the weekend, there's a DJ on and a small dancefloor where you can expect to hear 'I Want You Back', 'Superstition', 'Groove Is In The Heart' and other tunes that are generally wheeled out for a party.
Basically, there's nothing good or bad about The Northern... unless of course, they're having a nightmare with the plumbing again and you find yourself staring a toilet roll in the smoker's beer garden. Or, indeed, you encounter the doorstaff who are often so keen to get you out of the venue at closing that you could be forgiven for thinking that they don't want you to ever come back.
Utterly perfunctory apart from the landlady, who has impressively big hair. You'll like her.
Not a patch on the Kings. Oh why on earth did this institution get gentrified by the growing band of wanna be bar chain owners. this place is just plain ole ok, but certainly not worth the £200,000 which the brewery spent on doing it up! The Kings was the pride of the Old Northern quarter, been there for what seemed like a century, was full of humour, madness, fun and frolic, like a blast into Victorian England. Now what have we here. Another jump on the Northern Quarter bandwagon - and fancy calling it the Northern? Duh!! And worse still, you have to sneak in the back door to get in!. Why? To keep out the ole clientle, Manchester's old heros! what we have here is pictures of them on the wall instead!!! What has happenned to the NORTHERN QUARTER - the next place to go will be Gullivers.
Expect another make-over in two years time.
Check out instead a slice of the old town by walking 100 yards up Oldham street and see what the old Kings used to be like, They all drink up at Gullivers now!
When I first went to the Northern it took a while to work out where the entrance was (from Oldham Street). However once inside I was impresed with the decor. The beers on offer are on a par with most other bars in the area.
I've never visited the pub on a weekend, but during the work a DJ is often playing songs and takes requests which usually makes the night pretty good.
The Northern is a funny old place, really only drawing me in when there's nowhere else open and it's not quite time to stop drinking and laughing just yet. That said, though, it's always a pleasant little place to visit.
The drinks selection is good, though spirits are sometimes poorly mixed, and reasonably priced for a city centre bar. On weekends the DJs tend to aim for a please-all mainstream soundtrack, tinged with bits of soul and reggae. The result is a nice atmosphere that's as good for a little dance as it is for sitting down for a natter.
The mix of people drawn to the bar after 3am can be odd, thanks to it being one of the only venues still serving at that time, but there's a good mix and a generally friendly vibe if you're willing to chat to occasionally very drunk people of a Friday. You can keep yourself to yourself most of the time, though, with tables not often hard to get hold of.
Beware the sometimes brusque doorstaff - they're pretty reasonable usually but can take some convincing if you're a little worse for the wear.
Great friendly pub/bar in the Northern Quarter. Had the Sunday Roast (veg) - really tasty, vegetables not overcooked, - nothing soggy like many pub Sunday lunches. My wife had pizza which she says was good. Staff very friendly - thanks to the manager? who helped us find a nice table as we have a 2 month old in buggy - 2 pints of Black Sheep shandy and we left full and happy into the Manchester drizzle. Would definatly go back to eat. The John Cooper Clarke wallpaper is a nice touch and places like this should be really supported.
Satisfactorally ordinary, is how I'd sum this one up. Yes, it's a cosmetic buff up on the King, and yes - they do serve fancy bangers and mash for no small sum. There's some quasi northern icons on the wall in what looks like Ikea frames. And, undeniably - the painted frontage looks good from Oldham Street. But, it lacks the earthy goodness of the King; sneaking in the back via Tib Street on a cold November afternoon, the 3pm football full of rage, passion and love, the all day Karaoke, the salt of the earth locals applauding an out of tne effort, the fact it wasn't full of people trying to be something they're not. So - as I say, given the gentrification and homogenisation of what was the most exiciting part of town, the best I can say is satisfactorally ordinary. Just stay away from the Oxford Arms in Camden please!
This pub has undergone an amazing transformation. When it was The Kings it was full of Breugelesque characters sporting scars and an unequal amount of limbs and ears. Now it's still full of characters but you never feel as if a part of you will go missing whilst talking with a regular. The interior is excellent with tasteful, warm colours and BW pictures celebrating Manchester's favourite sons. They have a great menu and it's not too expensive. Friendly staff, good music and an outside smoking area where you feel,as the alcohol sinks in, that you might form life long bonds with a variety of Manc characters. Mr Rags spends a lot of time in here, and none of it wasted
I can't confess to ever visiting the King as was the Northern's previous incarnation. One or two stories still float around as to it's slightly aggressive manner (at the very least!) but having never entered (it was far from inviting) I cannot confirm any of the tales. The Northern is a completely different animal however: an antelope rather than a 'banned' pit bull terrier danger dog. I spent a rather wholesome hour there this weekend and was immediately taken by it. In fact I could've merely sat in the 'pit' (outdoor smoking area) and enjoyed my pint of IPA without ever entering the main bar. It has that instant likeable bar vibe the moment you wander in (almost a booze tunnel accessed via Tib Street rather than Oldham street in the past).
The décor is pretty much a shrine to Mancunian legends, dotted around the walls in the form of photographs and pictures, although the Elvis glass door (to the male loo's) is pushing the boundaries a little perhaps?
Couple of real ales on tap and the usual selection of premium ales, wines and spirits.
The food was passing by out table quite a few times in that house and looked and smelled mighty fine (cooked by head chef Rob Lamont), perhaps next time I'll sample it proper. Quite an extensive range as going by the menu (pizza's, starters, full mains and Sunday roastsquite an impressive roster really).
Aside from idle chat and whetted whistles, the Northern offers music and DJ nights should you be around in the week.
Welcome addition to the NQ scene.
The northern is a great little quirky pub that can be a life saver when the other bars in the northern quarter get soooooooo busy. It is open very late so you are always guaranteed a spot. The soundtrack is very good, very ecelectic and the atmosphere is simply put buzzing! The staff are very friendly and the people who go there are friendly too. There is never any trouble either. They have a really great smoking area too which saves you from having to go out onto the pavement. Highly recommended.
I'd been here a couple of times before and not been particularly impressed. However, I went on a Saturday night about 11 and it was pretty unimpressive again but around 1am it started to get really lively and fun. Perhaps go a bit later as it was still in full swing by the time we made the stupid decision to leave and go to the Press Club!
Nice little pub which doesnt get as busy as the others tend to but it has plenty to offer and offers a nice quiet pint at decent prices, with a good quiz night which is always fun to do no matter where you are quiz nights always are good to give it a go against the locals or students within the area.
Got to admit that having read the reviews above I like the sound of the Kings. The Northern is pleasant enough but there was nothing about it that really grabbed me by the swingers and made it stand out above a million other pubs in a million other cities. It looks good from the outside, and sneaking in through a side street makes it seem almost furtive, but inside it's business as usual. Possibly the pub equivalent of Snow Patrol or Coldplay
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