Good places for first dates in Manchester

Koffee kiss

Following my last few posts about dates and information for those interested…

Now I have to point out that I am still single and therefore this means all my tips obviously have not worked. There also more for fun that anything and shouldn’t be taken seriously…

I wanted it to be more like this than this (or heck this)…

  1. Bakerie (anytime)
    This place is perfect. Not only is it a great place to take a date but its also a nice place with a good choice of wine and food. Just dont order cocktails because it will be a disappointment. You can also transfer from a few drinks to a meal with or a sharing platter… Its also got an amazing atmosphere, which is dark and low lit by small lights and tea lights. Its a lively place, so its best to do the date before 8pm if possible. Fridays and Saturdays are extremely busy. Also if you get the chance check out the tasting bakerie for that extra special date. Reviewed by Manchester confidential
  2. FYG Northern Quarter (anytime but lunch time)
    FYG is a wine kind of a place and of course if you do transfer, food is great… A sharing deli platter for two could be lots of fun if it wasn’t surpassed by the Chocolate or Cheese Fondue on some Fridays. The atmosphere is usually quiet with the hummm of people talking and a bit of music in the background. The owners and staff are lovely and ever so friendly. Wine selection is up there with Bakerie but the more quiet environment is handy for inmate chats. Recently reviewed by Manchester confidential
  3. Soup Kitchen (before 10pm)
    Large bench tables like you see in Wagamamas but can be nice for meeting up for an early evening drink. They seem to have tons of different beers and some wines. The food isn’t bad but nothing compared to FYG or Bakerie. Its also not sharing food. The soup kitchen has a downstairs club which gets loud and I gather the upstairs starts to rise later in the evening too.
  4. A place called common (before 9pm)
    Another classic place like Soup Kitchen, lots of beers and some reasonable food. The music gets loud after 9pm, so you may want to move on by the late evening. The booths make for interesting inmate spaces although they are a bit big for just a couple.
  5. revoluciondecuba (weekdays)
    Out of the northern quarter now, its a new rum cocktail bar near deansgate with plenty of seats and booths. Cocktails and South American Beers. Its more mainstream that the rest but still a good place during the week but avoid on weekends its packed full of people and loud music. Food is good and can be ordered up till late.
  6. Apotheca (not on the weekend)
    Laura pointed out this venue is used for Coronation Street now and then, but this venue is full of lovely moveable sofas and has some fine cocktails. Next door is dough pizza kitchen if you want to grab some late night food. The venue is usually buzzing but not loud unless Thursday, Friday or Saturday. Careful of the quiz which sometimes happens, but you can avoid it with some foresight.
  7. Oddest Bar
    I had to include one from Cholton otherwise people would complain. I have been to the Oddest quite a few times as its just off the Cholton tram stop and tends to have a buzz which means you can have drinks till late. Its a chain with other Odd bars in Manchester, but the Cholton one is the best I have to say.
  8. Home sweet home
    Quiet little place next to Common, they do hot food and cake till late plus all types of drinks (even some cocktails). Its a great place for a intimate chat before going home, as there is no loud music to fight with. I always found its evening staff friendly and the place never full after 9pm
  9. Knott Bar (FB site, geez get a real site!)
    Another one of those pubs which serve all types of beer but has a great atmosphere. I use to go there all the time and Sunday afternoons can rather special. No loud music and plenty of space most of the time.
  10. Rain Bar
    Old classic for me, the drink selection isn’t great, same goes for the food. But there’s lots of corners and even outdoor spaces by the canal for good laughs and intimate chats. Shame food ends so early, but its a good venue for meeting and a few drinks.

A couple notables…

Dukes 92
If its sunny and your date is much earlier in the afternoon, dukes92 has everything you want (beers, wine, bbq, sharing food). However it might this year see its popularity undone by The Wharf in Castlefield. Its also not the place you go for quiet conversations really!

I use to love Simple before the camera in the toilet shocker. You could go for a quiet drink and the venue would slowly transform into a late night drinking venue complete with loud music. Shame, never been back after that shocker.

Working from the Northern Quarter Fridays

Coffee from North Tea Power

I blogged about how I started working out of the northern quarter quite sometime ago, the massive benefits and the Coffee shop clashes. A lot of people have taken this as “Ian is off on Fridays.” Which is so far from the truth…

A while ago I started using Project Hamster to record roughly how much time I was spending on projects (as I tend to have quite a few projects on the go at the same time, who doesn’t?)

Anyhow, I had a look at the aggregated results recently when sending to my manager (this is not the official way bbc rd does time tracking by the way, just me).

Project hamster results

It turns out Fridays are one of my most productive days, even more that Mondays and Thursdays.

Now I know what some of you will be thinking, yes its all manual reporting and I could lie, but why? Its as simple as this. When working from the northern quarter I tend to spend much more time just working away on my laptop. Its no chance this is when I spend the most time writing papers and the like too.

The second thing you might notice is I don’t work 8hour a day. Project hamster checks every 20mins to see if I’m actually active on the machine, so if I get called into a meeting or go for lunch, it will automatically stop. Generally when working from the Northern Quarter, I get less distributed or distracted.

This can be a good and bad thing. You can see the lack of disruption as a good thing but actually its the bouncing around of ideas at work which can be good, for example running into someone at the kitchen and talking for a while. Of course Project Hamster will time out and say I’m up to nothing. And actually its worth pointing out that all meetings (official/adhoc) are not included because its still time when not working actively working on the computer. As you can imagine I’m quite a social person and those adhoc chats over tea do add up.

Its not that I work better in the northern quarter, its that I work differently!

Lifehacker has another great post about working out of coffee shops. Here’s the key parts for myself…

A change of environment stimulates creativity. Even in the most awesome of offices we can fall into a routine, and a routine is the enemy of creativity. Changing your environment, even just for a day, brings new types of input and stimulation, which in turn stimulates creativity and inspiration.

Agreed… I’m not saying Media City isn’t inspiring and full of creativity. But its my norm and if I have to look at that wallpaper again I’ll scream 🙂 Of course I’m joking…

Fewer distractions. It sounds counter-intuitive, but working from a bustling coffee shop can be less distracting than working from a quiet office. Being surrounded by awesome team and officemates means being interrupted for water cooler chats and work questions. Being interrupted kills productivity. The coffee shop environment combines the benefit of anonymity with the dull buzz of exciting activity. Unlike working at home, with the ever-present black hole of solitude and procrastination, a coffee shop provides the opportunity of human interaction, on your terms.

The evidence is all in the data. I actually have lots of less important meetings on Fridays but their under my terms. Meaning I can get lots done in the time between.

Community and meeting new people. Meeting new people always provides me with new ideas, a different perspective at existing problems, or an interesting connection to a new person doing something awesome that inspires me. Today alone I met a top Skillshare teacher whose class I will now take, a sleep consultant, a publicist who offered to help with a project, and a wine consultant who recommended some bars.

One thing I wish I could record is the little meetings and chats I have. Some go nowhere and some go real deep. But generally meeting in the northern quarter means I can get a measure of someone and then refer them to a proper media city meeting or not. And of course there’s those chance encounters which you just can’t qualify an amount of value.

End of the day its not for everyone, but it works for me. Its surprising because I do love my height adjustable desk and fancy media city chair. FYG and North Tea power’s tables are too low and I do sometimes feel the discomfort setting in. But I tend to not notice because I’m just working or talking with someone great. If I had to work from the northern quarter 4 days a week and one day in Media City, I know I would be saying the opposite.

This is all summed up in the lifehacker post,

The experience of working out of coffee shops was so positive that even after we moved into our new home, I made sure to get in a few “coffee shop days” each month. For carpal tunnel related reasons alone, I would not recommend working out of coffee shops every day…

Geeks talk sexy becomes Geeky & Sexy –

geeky and sexy logo...

Photo credit: bigbirdz

I’ve threaten to do it for a while and its back with a bunch of changes…

Geeks Talk Sexy turns into Geeky & Sexy and the we move from the excellent MadLab to FYG Deli which isn’t far away from Madlab. Madlab is great but it wasn’t great for a fruity conversation. We use to rearrange the furniture quite a bit each time and couldn’t decide what worked best.

Madlab use to make special cocktails for each event, which was great but a event like this really needs drink on demand. FYG has lovely wine and some stunning deli dips and platters. Hopefully there will be a package for food & drink on the day, details coming soon.

Geeky & Sexy will be more about the discussion than presentations and we have new people on board (details to be revealed soon). Unfortunately Samantha is still very busy working on her PhD and Hwayoung won’t be as involved. I can confirm we have a new person on board. Shes the (self described) Nigerian Scouser, Ngunan Adamu, heavily opinionated (usually the total opposite views of myself) and will be very vocal about who pays on the first date, which is also one of the main topics in episode one : Social Etiquette and Politics of first time dating

geekyandsexy s2x1

You can sign up on eventbrite and we’ll be posting more information at the new home of geeky & sexy… Of course the hashtag stay’s #sexygeeks.