The team over at brand new podcast and radio network, MCR Live, are huge fans of Manchester. Here, content director, Rhys Hancock, shares his five hidden gems in the eclectic city with Northern Soul.

We’ve known for some time that Manchester is one of the best places in the world to visit (although it helped when Lonely Planet said it too). While there’s no shortage of new bars, restaurants and gig venues popping up in the city, there are some lesser-known art galleries, cultural spots and events just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

1) Ancoats Coffee Co.

After our recent move into converted warehouse Jactin House, we at MCR Live have loved exploring our new neighbourhood in Ancoats. One of our favourite stops for a caffeine fix is Ancoats Coffee Co. located a stone’s throw from us in Grade II listed building, Royal Mills. Featuring exposed brick ceilings and walls, with cluttered stools dotted around the space, this is great for meetings or just to while away a couple of hours with a good book.

Swing by at the weekends to experience the lovely Castlefield Market (relocated from its original location last year) offering artisan produce and plenty of options for lunching and brunching.

2) RedbankCo

The Green Quarter, often overlooked as a destination for a night out, is fast catching up to the likes of Ancoats and the Northern Quarter in cool points. Part photography studio, part café, part cocktail bar and events space, RedBankCo is your friendly neighbourhood bar, offering everything from intimate gigs to quiz nights to brunch (the baked eggs are awesome). Entering via a red shutter tucked under an old railway arch, the interior is a home from home – think shabby chic chesterfields, retro wallpaper and wood panelling on the bar. Food, drinks, art and music are all brilliant in equal measure. Try to get down early for their £1 pizza deal on Thursdays.  MCR Live Studio

3) The Eagle Inn

The Eagle Inn is an institution, albeit a bit off the beaten track. It dates back to 1848 and while you might have stumbled in for a Saturday afternoon pint, this pub is one of Manchester’s best gig venues for seeing local artists along with its sister locations Gullivers and the Castle Hotel.  

If you ever get the chance, pop over the road to the super cool Blueprint Studios who’ve had everyone from Justin Timberlake to Elbow record there. A favourite haunt of Guy Garvey’s, you might even end up bumping into him in The Eagle.

Rhys Hancock, MCR Live4) KRAAK Gallery

KRAAK Gallery may be coming up to its ten-year anniversary but it’s very likely you’ll have walked past its home near Stevenson Square without so much of a second glance. Founded by local artists, the gallery remains one of Manchester’s best underground art scenes adapting to its users’ needs for exhibitions, club nights, live and visual performances, installations and more.

Just as Dorothy followed the yellow brick road, look for the posters on the exterior brick walls to find its entrance tucked down an alleyway in-between Little Lever Street and Stevenson Square.

5) No Such Thing at Kabana

You may have frequented Kabana for a late-night bite but this takeaway is also home to local event No Such Thing, hosted by arts organisation Quarantine. The idea is to turn up for a free plate of curry in exchange for half an hour’s conversation with a stranger. Great for escaping your smartphone and meeting new faces.

By Rhys Hancock, MCR Live