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Places

The local musician's favorite spots in Manchester

From being Britain’s beating heart in the industrial era to its musical one in more recent decades, there’s always been more to the third largest city than meets the untrained eye. We asked one of today’s local musicians, Francis Lung, to show us around.

Photo: David Oates

Yuzu

A Japanese restaurant in Chinatown. They do the best, lightest, crispiest vegetable tempura I’ve ever had. They also do a lunchtime special from noon and you can eat amazing food for a really good price. Chinatown is full of amazing Asian restaurants.

Yuzu

39 Faulkner Street, Manchester

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Photo: David Oates

This & That

Here they serve traditional North Indian food at ridiculously low prices. They’ve been doing it for decades now. It’s one of the most authentic but also one of the cheapest Indian restaurants in the city. You’ll find it in the Northern Quarter, near music venues such as Soup Kitchen, Night and Day, The Castle and Gullivers. There are tons of gigs happening nearby all the time. Go to This & That for lunch or an early dinner and then watch a gig a stone’s throw away. It’s cheap and good and still a bit of a secret.

This & That

Soap St, Manchester

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Photo: Siop Shop

Siop Shop

Another gem in the Northern Quarter, Siop Shop is a bakery café with a Welsh-English theme, run by Welshman Iwan Roberts and Lucy Jackson of Blawd bakery (Siop and Blawd are Welsh for “shop” and “flour”). They’re as famous for their donuts as they are for exhibitions by local artists such as photographer David Bailey, John Powell Jones, Aliyah Hussain and Steve Hockett. Get there before noon if you want to try their amazing donuts because they will definitely sell out.

Siop Shop

53 Tib St, Manchester

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Photo: HOME

HOME

You could easily spend your whole day at Home. It’s got a 500-seat theater, five cinema screens, a gallery space, a café and a restaurant. Imagine a cinema multiplex, but insert an art gallery instead of the bowling alley, and replace most of the Hollywood blockbusters with independent art house films – that’s Home.

HOME

2 Tony Wilson Place, Manchester

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Photo: David Oates

Yes

You can just show up here thinking you want to see some live music and know you’ll see something really current and well-curated. It’s a multi-story music venue that specializes in the best independent acts from the US, UK and the rest of Europe. There are also three bars and two restaurants. One of them, Firebird Hope, has the best vegan burger in Manchester. It’s sort of “pretend fried chicken” and it’s unbelievable.

Yes

38 Charles St, Manchester

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Photo: David Oates

Whitworth Park and Art Gallery

It’s easy to think of Manchester as a heavily industrial place, but it has plenty of “green lungs” too. Whitworth Park and Art Gallery is an 18-acre park that was leased to Manchester in 1904 on a 1,000-year lease for an annual rent of £10. It’s really beautiful, super-safe and welcoming and not far from the city center. It also has a gallery with works by Lowry, Van Gogh, Francis Bacon andBarbara Hepworth among many others. You can also -arrange to visit the Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, a collection of art by “naïve” or self-taught artists from around the world. You have to make a special request to view it. I think that’s something really unique to Manchester. I haven’t seen another art collection like it.

Whitworth Park and Art Gallery

Oxford Rd, Manchester

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Fab Café Bar

A retro-inspired underground bar. The theme is classic movies and cult TV shows. They’ve got a life-sized figure of the alien from Alien and a dalek from Doctor Who. They also have a tardis. I spent a lot of time here writing lyrics for my record because it’s very easy to lose yourself. It’s a place that’s accepting to freaks. The whole place appeals to nerds. It’s probably one of the more uncool places in Manchester, but that’s why I like it so much.

Fab Café Bar

111 Portland St, Manchester

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