Manchester’s Northern Quarter is full of bars and places to eat, but deciding where to go can be difficult, especially if you’re out with a group that has all different kinds of tastes. Enter: Mackie Mayor, the little sister of the fantastic Altrincham Market, where a host of restaurants sit under one huge roof to offer a vibrant communal dining experience.
Mackie Mayor opened in October 2017, taking over the former dilapidated meat market on Swan Street in the city centre, which has sat empty for years. The grade 2 listed building dates back to 1857 and is beautiful from the outside. As we approached last Saturday afternoon we tentatively walked around the edge of the seemingly quiet building, trying to find the entrance. Then suddenly a door opened and we could hear – and see – that we were in the right place. Mackie Mayor has a capacity of just under 500 people and it was almost full to bursting, impressive given it’s not been here long and we had purposefully arrived after the lunchtime rush.
We headed up the gorgeous staircase and skirted the balcony to find a seat, which was no mean feat! But we managed to squeeze ourselves in then took it in turns to explore the variety of traders, which include: Fin, Tender Cow, Honest Crust, Baohouse, Wolfhouse Coffee, Little Window, National 7 and Jack In The Box.
After much deliberation, I went for a fish finger sandwich from Fin, which was hearty and delicious. The prices are generally quite steep (£9 for my sandwich), but not that different from other Northern Quarter restaurants and the setting makes it worthwhile. Another slight drawback is the lack of vegetarian and vegan options, but this may well change as more traders are added to the mix.
After my lunch I sat back with a cortado from Wolfhouse Coffee and spent a fun afternoon people watching and spying on the variety of food and drink around me. The atmosphere was buzzing and I can see why so many people have flocked here already, day and night. I’ll definitely be returning to sample the evening menus. Mackie Mayor opens every day except Monday, closing at 10pm Tues-Sat and 6pm on Sunday.