13 ultimate venues in Manchester perfect for pre-gig dining


Heading to the newly re-opened Manchester Arena and looking to kick off the night in style?

Great food deserves the grandest of settings and with its close proximity to the Arena, Corn Exchange Manchester offers the perfect pre-concert dining venue. It’s home to thirteen eclectic eateries including a bar dedicated solely to prosecco.

As if that’s not enough, later this month the award-winning Alston Bar & Beef, Glasgow’s famed steak and gin eatery, is opening its doors with a menu of 35-day dry-aged steaks sourced from the Tweed Valley and the finest selection of 120 gins to accompany them.

So whether you’re heading to see singing sensation Emeli Sande in October or planning to sing your heart out with American rockers The Killers in November, make a night of it with some some good grub and classy cocktails at Corn Exchange.

And by the way, soon you’ll be able to stay at Corn Exchange too. Boutique aparthotel Roomzzz is due to open in the new year with 114 sleek apartments, some of which will be ultra-sleek 21 square metre pods and others that will be luxury palatial penthouses.

But if you’re trying to decide where to start the night, check out our top tips for pre-Arena dining below.

Don’t forget, it gets busy at Corn Exchange, so book your table here.

Best for big groups

With its simple, no fuss ethos and the efficient cook to order system, Vapiano is ideal for big groups. There’s no need for splitting a bill as you get your own card when entering the restaurant, meaning you only pay for the fresh Italian pizza or pasta you order which is cooked in front of you.

Best for pre-gig cocktails

Cabana, the Brazilian barbecue restaurant, has a happy hour with 2-4-1 on selected cocktails from 12pm til 7pm and then again from 10pm til close. Choose from classics such as Brasilian Capirinha, Carlos the Godfather, the Brasilito and many more.

Enjoy the Teatime Tipple offer of two cocktails at Cosy Club for just £9.95 every Sunday – Friday. Indulge in the tongue-tickling Long Live The King, Vanilla Espresso Martini or the Parma Violet Delight.

Banyan offers a large selection of drinks to suit everybody’s taste, with 2-4-1 on exquisite cocktails from 4pm – 7pm every Monday to Friday. If you’re a gin lover, you’re in for a treat, as Banyan boasts an enviable collection of quality gins. Try the Gin Garden, the Super Food Sipper or even the classic Henrick’s & Sloe to prepare for a night to remember.

Best for little ones

All Corn Exchange restaurants have brilliant offerings tailored for kids, with a selection of brand new children’s menus at Gino D’Acampo My Restaurant and Mowgli. Check out the complete kids’ guide to eat at Corn Exchange for the little ones’ verdict. We love Byron for their amazing milkshakes and colossal burgers.

Best for those in a hurry

In a rush to catch the start of the concert? How about nipping into Pho or Pizza Express who are famous for speeding customers through their delicious dinners.

Best for making mum feel special

Treat mum to an authentic Italian dining experience at Gino’sZizzi or Salvi’s. The staff are famed for spoiling guests with Italian charm and cicchetti.

Best for sharing

If you fancy sharing some treats with friends en route to the Arena, try Mowgli for Indian, or Tampopo for pan-Asian bites and, of course, Wahaca with its Mexican street food. All serve street food themed dishes – ideal for tucking into with friends.


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