After we were done drinking coffee and getting our chess on at Ziferblat in the Northern Quarter, it was off to Media City in Salford Quays. Aptly named, Media City is home to the BBC but also the Lowry, the city’s famed performing arts venue. As we crept through traffic and out to the Quays, we passed the football stadium; sadly, the week I was in town, Liverpool and Manchester United were both overseas, otherwise catching a match would have been the first thing I made it a point to do.
Heading out to Media City in Manchester
Our taxi dropped us off in front of the Lowry just before sunset, so we were able to see the waterfront—including the Imperial War Museum, a must-visit site in Manchester—in all its twilight glory before it was cloaked in darkness.
I had a ticket for a special show at the Lowry that night, but first we headed over the river for dinner at the Dockyards Pub before the show.
Next, it was back to the Lowry for A Conversation with Tom Jones, and the 15-year-old in me who knew every word to “Sex Bomb” was giddy, while the 32-year-old blushed profusely at some of his childhood stories.
Visiting Manchester’s sky bar, Cloud 23
After Tom was done talking about his memoir, Lina and I cut out early during his set as we were meeting her cousin back in the center of town at Cloud 23, the highest cocktail bar and champagne lounge in all of Manchester.
Now, normally I think sky bars are a bit gimmicky but I was immediately happy we chose this one on the 23rd floor of the Beetham Tower at the Hilton Manchester Deansgate. The space was spectacular and the views unparalleled. And yes, I was struck with a sudden case of acrophobia when I tried to force myself to stand on the floor windows that looked straight down onto the street, far, far below.
There was an entire novel full of cocktails, and I had the hardest time deciding what to order. My companions both had mocktails with fancy ingredients like bee pollen, and I finally just told the server to bring me what he thought was the most photogenic on the menu.
Behold: some sort of sake tea drink in a bowl, complete with chopsticks. Divine!
They also do afternoon tea, so obviously that’s on my to-do list next time I return to Manchester. I mean, you guys, just look!
On the way out, our eyes were drawn to the restaurant side of Cloud 23 and its swank decor, so we had to take a peek.
As we walked through the tables and booths, we decided to swing by the bathroom on our way back to the elevator, not knowing it would be a 20-minute endeavor. And not because we got locked in either, but because it boasted more views but also fun house-like mirrors.
I’m not kidding when I say we spent the better part of a half hour trying to figure out the mirrors and how we could take a group selfie!
We weren’t successful, but it was fun nonetheless. I’m normally pretty good at angles, being a former math major and all, but this code I simply couldn’t crack!
Our last stop for the trip was the Gay Village for late night people-watching—it was tranny night, and multiple sources, gay and straight, told us it was simply not to be missed—but by midnight, the streets had cleared.
Looking for more travel tips for England? Start here:
- Albert Dock in Liverpool: The Story of a Waterfront Renaissance
- Food, Spirits & Sculptures: The Many Faces of Art in Liverpool
- It Turns Out Hogwarts Does Exist — at John Rylands Library
- Wit & Whimsy: Art in Manchester, England’s Cultural Hub
- Welcome to Gotham, the Sexiest Hotel in England
- Art & Design in the Vibrant Northern Quarter of Manchester