I’ve been writing a few of these posts lately just because I’ve been travelling around a bit more and it’d been nice to go to all of my favourite haunts. I had no intentions of becoming any kind of travel writer but I guess this is a case of “write what you know.” I love Manchester’s Northern Quarter, so here’s some places you might have walked past before now, but you should totally pop into next time!
1. Bon Bon Chocolate Boutique, John Street
Once you step into this place you’ll fall in love, I guarantee it. The smell of chocolate just makes you relax and smile immediately. It seats about 10 people and always has this lovely relaxed atmosphere, you will never feel rushed to leave. The decor is absolutely lovely, everything about this place makes me feel like I’m Amelie Poulain every time I walk in. Even the other people that go could be characters in Amelie. Have a piece of their flourless chocolate cake with a bottle of fentimans or go chocolate overdose with their own dairy free hot chocolate. Chocolate heaven.
2. Junk Shop, Dale Street
I love adorable vintage shops and this one tops my list for adorable-ness. The door handle is an old telephone, so that should give you a hint of the vibe this place has. Their selection is really cute and a lot of it is upcycled for a more modern fit. They also do sewing classes so if you’re in Manchester rather than visiting it’s a pretty cool place to be!
3. Salford Zine Library at Nexus Art Cafe, Dale Street
Zines are a thing again you know! My favourite zine/small press publication is a beautiful piece of work called “Butt Springstreen” dedicated to Bruce Springsteen’s butt. I feel like the author of this, zine, CJ Reay, and I truly connect on a spiritual level. Butts aside, Nexus art cafe is a lovely place to hang out but if you walk through it you’ll get to Salford Zine library. Sit down, chill out and pick up one of hundreds of those homespun beauties. They’re not long to read, the room is peaceful and it’s nice to take a moment away from the bustling city and just get absorbed in reading for a while.
4. Travelling Man Comics, Dale Street
So Junk Shop, Nexus and Travelling Man are actually all next door to each other which makes them seem less like hidden gems and more like a fairly obvious goldmine. We’ve discussed before that I am a big nerd and love hanging out in comic book shops and this place is one of my favourites. Reason number one that it’s my favourite is because this is where I spotted copies of Butt Springsteen available to buy and reason number 2 is that it’s a lovely, welcoming place to be. I’ve had great conversations with shop staff where I didn’t feel like my nerd credentials were being questioned and they were genuinely helpful, interesting, lovely people. Oddly enough, that’s rare. They also keep a good stuck of Pusheen plushies and nobody could ever say that was a bad thing.
5. Fred Aldous, Lever Street
This is not just a really cool three floor art and crafts shop, of which one floor is just different kinds of paper. JUST PAPER! No, no, I also got asked to take an outfit picture there one time by a local blogger. YAS. Seriously though, anything you are into making, they will have the equipment to make it. I’ve been very tempted by resin kits, candle making, handbag supplies, leather working material, ceramic paints, crochet needles…. There is not enough time in the world for all of the hobbies I potentially could take up by just being in Fred Aldous for too long. They also have a lasercutting lab and a photography studio downstairs! It’s basically a really good hub for a creativity and you will totally find 94824013 new hobbies just by being there.
Other honourable mentions: Home Sweet Home, Oklahoma and the strange little General Store on Edge Street that has all of their stock beautifully arranged in a Wes Anderson fashion.
Apologies for the lack of posts lately, I’ve been viciously applying for jobs!! No luck so far…