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Northern Quarter & Ancoats: Why These 15 Manchester Businesses Call It Home

In late 2016, we finally left behind our first home at The Sharp Project to continue our growth in a much larger space. Our new location? Ancoats.

We’re right on the edge of Ancoats and the Northern Quarter, and with our second full year in the area nearly complete, we’ve experienced everything that makes this place so great. The amazing bars and restaurants, the beautiful architecture and history of Ancoats, and the huge mix of people all take credit for this brilliant area of Manchester, and we’re thrilled to be here, continuing our web design and digital marketing work in great surroundings.

To celebrate this place, we decided to get in touch with a number of businesses also based here, asking them the following question:

What do you love about Ancoats & the Northern Quarter?

We also sent them the following pointers:

  • The area in comparison to places like Spinningfields, Deansgate, Castlefield
  • The history and culture of the area
  • Why the area works for your business
  • Future development and regeneration in the area
  • Bars, restaurants, activities etc
  • General vibe & how it makes you feel

Here’s what they had to say…


TNQ Restaurant & Bar – Tom   108 High St, Manchester, M4 1HQ

What we at TNQ Restaurant & Bar love most about the Northern Quarter is its eclectic beauty: The mixture of architecture, from reflections of our past like the grade II listed wholesale fish market facade that we get to look at every day to exciting modern design.

Its history, with its continuous evolution that defies expectations. The unparalleled food scene, where you can travel around the world within a few streets and find something to everyone’s tastes, from fine dining to a late night kebab.

Most of all, it’s the melting pot of people from all walks of life that makes the Northern Quarter so special. Anyone can find a place to belong and everyone is welcome.


Awesome Creative – Rob Jones   Beehive Lofts, Beehive Mill, Jersey St, Ancoats, M4 6JG

Awesome Creative decided to move from Wilmslow to the city centre in 2017 to accommodate our growing client base. After looking at the usual suspects: Spinningfields, Deansgate and Castlefield we were blown away when we strolled into Ancoats.

The recent regeneration investments have given the area of completely fresh vibe which has evolved from the Northern Quarter it neighbours. Not only that, the independent eaterys, barbers and bars make it an ideal location to work and entertain. The innovative businesses popping up in the historic mills and surrounding buildings perfectly mirror what we are trying to achieve with the brand appeal of Awesome Creative – a traditional and historic service, overlaid with innovation and fresh thinking.

For us then, Ancoats became the obvious choice.


Ziferblat – Gareth Harold   23 Edge St, Manchester, M4 1HW

If you have never visited the Northern Quarter in Manchester then you have never really seen what Manchester is about. For us at Ziferblat, is it the home of the creative, where there is a beautiful balance of work and leisure.

The area itself is steeped in history and was once an area to avoid but now, people can enjoy the beautiful architecture of the old Smithfield Market or hide away with a latte in the many cafes and bars and of course Ziferblat. The Northern Quarter is gritty and vibrant and provides us with a great backdrop for our branch on Edge St.

It attracts a cacophony of people where the creative meets corporate, the arty meets the ambitious. The Northern Quarter has something for everyone with a slightly whimsical air of character and calm, that’s why we chose it as our home.

ziferblat edge street


Manchester Souvenirs   Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DB

We pop up all over the place, and perhaps that gives us a great vantage point in the sense that we can compare and contrast different corners of the city centre.

We’ve always described ourselves as very proud Mancunians, so it’s only right that we take up residence at the Northern Quarter Makers Market – it helps us to showcase our wears in such an iconic part of the city. What we find when we’re here, in comparison to areas like Spinningfields (which are outstanding in their own right) is the genuine interest in independent businesses and the products or services they have to offer.

People want to know the story behind the designs on our Souvenirs, they want to know what things mean. We think that stems from the fact that people come to the Northern Quarter to learn and explore. That’s what we love.


cube3 agencyCube3 – James Summerscales   4 Market Sq Building, 85 High St, Manchester, M4 1BD

Ah, Manchester’s Northern Quarter. It’s a place that’s got it all. A unique charm and character. Vibrant culture. Creative flare. Industrial heritage. Great music. Quality craft beer.

For us, it’s the perfect place for our innovative business growth consultancy. As a team of inventive forward-thinkers, it only seemed natural to find our home in the creative heart of the city.

In 2017 we moved to an open-plan, industrial-style office on High Street complete with a fully-stocked bar (in true Cube3 style); it’s a space that inspires creativity and innovation. We feel right at home here and there’s nowhere we’d rather be.


lucardoLucardo – Jack Richards   Virginia House, 5-7 Great Ancoats St, Manchester, M4 5AD

The Northern Quarter/Ancoats radiates energy around the whole of central Manchester. Not only does it hold some of the best independent music venues such as Band on The Wall, The Castle Hotel and Night & Day, it also offers the best in modern fine dining.

You’re only ever a stones throw away from the best burgers in town at Almost Famous or Solita or a pizza at my personal favourite Rudys. A warth is created through the local graffiti and with the constant development of new bars and cafe, you never have to travel to to grab yourself a beverage.

With so much going on around us here at Lucardo, it’s great to receive a wide range customers who have come from all over the world to visit Manchester’s hot spot.


Cat Café   103 High St, Manchester, M4 1HQ

The Northern quarter is an ideal location for the cat café, it’s full of independent, unique and artistic businesses and we feel we fit in nicely with this aesthetic.

People who aren’t local to Manchester can sometimes already be familiar with the Northern Quarter and will want to give it a visit, this can result in people stumbling across our café by complete accident! We feel our location is perfect for our kitties as we aren’t located on a busy street with lots of traffic, we are tucked away nicely but still in an ideal location for people for people to find us, whether intentionally or not.

We receive support and promotion from other businesses in the area, such as donations for our fundraising events and raffles.


Loaf Creative – Alan Houghton   51 Bengal St, Manchester, M4 6LN

Ancoats is a fantastic part of Manchester with loads of character and personality with something for everyone.

Far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the centre but only a 10 minute walk away. With the area going through a thorough transformation and life being rejuvenated, there isn’t a better time or place to be for a creative business to set roots. For us it is important that we immerse ourselves with the history, culture and like minded businesses and their leaders.

With Manchester’s industrial heritage in abundance, a good mix of old and new buildings, lots of cool and original businesses such as Jersey Street barbers, restaurants and bars a plenty like Rudys (best pizzas ever when I allow myself one), Scrancoats and not forgetting Seven Brothers just around the corner, its a great mix for both work and play. The area has everything we wanted for our agency, its culture and values, and I don’t think anywhere else would have given us the feeling we wanted when clients visit and staff come to work.

Loaf Creative, Ancoats, Manchester
Photo credit: Loaf Creative, Ancoats, Manchester


Bamboo – Mark Butler   Ziferblat, 23 Edge St, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1HW

The Northern Quarter is hard to describe because it’s a feeling more than anything. The mix of people, businesses and creativity that’s mills about the patchwork streets creates not just a buzz but also a relaxed, community vibe. It’s a place that feels like an urban village but is outward looking and globally connected.

You also get all walks of life flitting along its industrial streets – from the weekend good timers crawling through the bars, alternatives packing into live music haunts, cutting-edge businesses filling up old warehouses, proper Mancs in backstreet pubs, and remote workers sipping coffee and typing on their notebooks in the blossoming café scene.

We wanted to work in the Northern Quarter because it represents how we, as Bamboo, like to do business. It’s an area that knows what its doing, doesn’t take itself too seriously and knows when to have fun. We love the Northern Quarter because it always does its own thing. It’s a place that thrives on freedom and working together to create something special. To us, the area is a testimony of the past, present and future of Manchester because it’s gritty, bold, colourful and unashamedly itself.


Jean Jackson Couture – Felicity Jackson    2nd Floor, 51 Turner St, Manchester, M4 1DN

We love being in the Northern Quarter, it is a community for independent, creative businesses. Our studio carries bridal designs by international bohemian designers, and we are the only place in Europe with this selection of gowns.

Being so central, close to the train station and airport, has brought us customers from as far as Hong Kong, Russia, Qatar, and all across Central Europe. My grandmother worked on Lever Street in the 70s and my grandfather worked in Ancoats, both were in fashion and manufacturing, and to this day it is still an innovative hub , we love the energy here and we are hoping to expand later this year.


Bliss – John-Paul Atley   1A Basil Chambers, 65 High Street, Manchester, M4 1FS

This question spurned more debate than any other topic in the office. Is the NQ the heart and soul of Manchester? All signs point to yes.

There’s no other place like the NQ in Manchester – it’s a collision of things that shouldn’t work together, but somehow do. You can throw a stone on Tib Street and hit a dozen creative agencies; around the corner there’s a thriving art scene, some great independent establishments (special shoutout to Siop for the amazing donut artistry),  and of course the biggest draw – the many many bars & pubs and eateries.

Within such a short space the diversity of choice is sometimes overwhelming (a good portion of any lunch break is usually taken up by deciding where to eat!) You’ve got some great rice ‘n’ three cafes, old school chippies, hipster bars, a pub that is packed out every day for karaoke and a fight, vegan food, craft beer shops, fancy dining, niche clothes shops, traditional restaurants, a cat cafe, accessible parking and loads more.

There’s a real culture that permeates right through the NQ and into Ancoats – you’re more likely to find someone eating smashed avo on sourdough than you are to see someone walking around in a suit!

As an agency, the NQ is perfect for us – it has everything we need to keep a healthy social life, but just as important is the accessibility: no matter where we come from in Manchester, the NQ is one of the easiest places to get to – this is not only important for our morning commutes, but also for our clients.

The Northern Quarter has an energy that runs through everyone that works here, and that’s why we love it. We’re a little more divided on the merits of smashed avocado though.


PDC ManchesterPDC Manchester – Paul Huxley   129 Oldham St, Manchester, M4 1LN

PDC are Northern Quarter fans. Previously marketers and graphic designers for a larger company, we wanted to roll out our skills to businesses of all sizes, sectors and budgets. Premises with a shop front on Oldham Street are ideal. ‘Face to face’ for local business as well as serving the whole city and beyond.

It’s perfect for design, printing, display and marketing services. A dynamic, creative cluster of streets. City centre walkable, accessible for dispatches. The variety of day to day business demands keep us on our toes. Menus, posters, leaflets and banners running daily, alongside planning, design and production for a business conference, or suite of marketing materials.

There’s a warm sense of community, a shared empathy between smaller businesses. Unfortunately, ‘creeping gentrification’ mimics other cities. The Northern Quarter’s unique appeal is in its historic streets and buildings, the quirky, funky one-off shops, cafes and bars. Lose these and you lose the ‘spirit’ of the place for good, and that would be a real shame


Jungle Jazz Cafe in ManchesterJungle Jazz Cafe – Charlie & Andrew   44-48 Oldham Road, Manchester, M4 5EE

With our unique decor, magical ambience, and “Good F@cking Vibes”, it feels like Ancoats is the perfect home for our cafe.

Ancoats was historically one of the most industrial parts of our city, but is now more well known for the exciting spectrum of independent businesses, tasty restaurants, and unique bars.

People from different backgrounds and cultures gel together here, in the surroundings of repurposed industrial architecture, and it’s why we love being a part of it.


Sweet MandarinSweet Mandarin – Lisa & Helen   19 Copperas Street, Manchester, M4 1HS

Sweet Mandarin loves the Northern Quarter which is home to a history of dishes from our family that take us from a small Chinese village to cosmopolitan Hong Kong and urban Manchester, NQ. Along the way, special ingredients and three generations of recipes are added: a homemade stock, a pound of love, a spoonful of daring, a dash of spices, and dollop after dollop of sheer will and stirring. This is a family establishment built on survival and victories, luck and determination – a mirror image of Northern Quarter with its eclectic shops and independent proprietors. A very warm welcome to our family table.

Thank you to all of the businesses who took the time to contribute to the article. You can check out where they are located by using the handy map below.

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We're based in Ancoats in Virginia House, Great Ancoats Street, Manchester, M4 5AD. Please get in touch if you want to chat about any potential projects.

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