In case you haven’t heard, hygge is the latest thing. Think of roaring fireplaces, squishy sofas, warm blankets and the glow of scented candles and you’ve pretty much summed up hygge
Originating in Denmark, this endearing concept refers to that warm fuzzy feeling and sense of wellbeing you get from something ordinary like sleeping on clean sheets or getting into a hot bath.
It’s not just a quirky trend. It has become a way of life for the Danes who are the happiest people in the world, according to the 2016 World Happiness Report.
Practicing hygge is thought to take away the stresses of life, with rituals like making a cup of tea being extremely comforting in a world full of chaos.
Chaos is certainly a word many would use in the run up to Christmas. While it may be easy to achieve calm and cosiness at home, it’s often difficult to find it when you’re out on seemingly endless present buying trips.
Luckily for us, you don’t have to go to Copenhagen to find it. Manchester is blessed with some great places where you can sit back, relax and feel a sense of calm wash over you.
Scandi Frost Fair at The Whitworth
It’s big hugs all round for The Whitworth which is hosting a whole weekend evoking the spirit of hygge on December 3/4. The Scandi Frost Fair is a celebration of winter, arts, culture and togetherness, drawing inspiration from Scandinavia. Think big, colourful jumpers, hearty food and the beauty of the Northern Lights.
The Whitworth Art Gallery, Oxford Road, M15 6ER. Sat and Sun, Dec 3 and 4. 11am-7pm each day. Free.
Tucked unassumingly up some stairs on Edge Street, Ziferblat is the café known for its unusual paying policy. While the pay-per-minute thing might be an attraction, it’s the mismatched furniture and the do-as-you please vibe that makes this place so cosy. The table laden with treats and the self-service drinks contribute to too, making it seem pleasantly more like an extension of your front room rather than a café.
23 Edge St, M4 1HW
Hygge can also be described as ‘charm’ and there’s certainly oodles of that at Sugar Junction in the Northern Quarter. From the individual crockery sets and the homely décor to the inviting selection of cakes at the counter, visitors to this independent haunt on Tib Street can feel effortlessly comfortable in their surroundings whether they like tea or not.
60 Tib St, M4 1LG
Chapter One Books
There are few things more hygge than curling up on a sofa with a mug of steaming tea and getting lost in your favourite book. Chapter One Books on Lever Street manages to miraculously combine all these things together, being both a bookshop and an independent café. Order a hot drink, take a seat on one of the worn leather sofas and enjoy reading either your own book or one from the shop. You’ll have to buy it first, though.
19 Lever St, M1 1BY
A new addition to the Manchester food scene, Leaf on Portland Street is an attractive café by day and a cool bar by night. Head there for breakfast or an afternoon snack and tuck yourself away at a candlelit table in one of the intimate alcoves. For further cosiness, warm your hands on a mug of one of their many types of tea or attend the regular book club sessions to let off some steam.
113 – 115 Portland St, M16 DW
Whether you spend your evening chugging European tanker beers by the roaring fire or picking away at the delicious festive menu, Albert’s Schloss has all the ingredients for a fun-filled winter’s evening. And it’s not just the go-to place for an after-work pint. It’s surprisingly calm during the daytime. Try one of their traditional German pretzels and a glass of gluhwein while sat in front of a glowing open fire. If hot spiced wine and a roaring fire don’t make you feel cosy, we’re not sure what else will.
27 Peter St, M2 5QR
The Wharf Pub
Serving up piled plates of mouth-watering roasts and an array of fine whiskeys, gins, cask ales, lager, and wine, The Wharf has everything you could want on a winter menu complemented by the grand, lodge-cum-cellar décor and gently crackling fireplace. But be warned. It fills up quickly, especially at weekends but if you book a table a few days in advance you can guarantee yourself a seat for the evening in one of the most enjoyable winter pubs in Manchester.
6 Slate Wharf, M15 4ST
The Oast House
Kudos to Oast House. They’re always one of the first bars to embrace the festive season. They’re also one of the best at it, too. Instead of leaving their winter guests to tremble in their backyard, Oast House have made the most of their generous beer garden space for winter, setting up a series of twinkling tipis with bars and wooden benches tucked away inside.
The Avenue Courtyard, M3 3AY
The Bouncing Czech
Amid the snowy ashes on inconspicuous Back Turner Street rises a bar like a phoenix from the flames this winter, a beer hall with a smirk-inducing moniker and a Central European timbre. Montpellier’s has vacated its premises fror three months to make room for The Bouncing Czech – a bar that brings an authentic Czech vibe to NQ with its Czech staff, Czech lager, and Czech food. Czech mate. After 10 minutes inside, it’ll feel like you booked a holiday in Central Europe for Christmas.
42 Back Turner St, M4 1FR
Red Door is one of those bars that you wouldn’t know was there if you weren’t looking for it. Not only is the setting just right for a winter bar – think darkened room, glowing lights and live music – but the Red Door team have also released a fresh menu of wonderfully named cocktails just for winter such as The Night Before Christmas, Miracle On Deansgate, Snow Globe and Smoking Santa. Red Door is certainly the dark horse for the winter bar of the year award. Expect to see a few very merry office gangs congregating here in the coming weeks.
78 Deansgate, M3 2FW
The Whiskey Jar
Whether you’re a bourbon connoisseur or just enjoy a snifter of scotch on occasion, The Whiskey Jar is well worth ducking into during the colder nights – with the ambience sure to warm your senses if nothing else. This homely saloon hosts happy hours and open mic nights throughout the winter, as well as the Winter Whiskey Festival – a celebration of liquor and live music – on 27 November. There’ll also be whiskey seminars conducted by industry professionals who’ve artfully spent their time carving out a paid career in reviewing and exploring alcohol. Isn’t that the life?
14 Tariff St, M1 2FF
Briton’s Protection is a true Manchester gem – especially in the winter – catering for an eclectic crowd of seasoned regulars, young professionals, and Deansgate workers who fancy a pint to blow the cobwebs away after a long working week. With two toasty log fires and a dazzling array of whiskey to choose from, you’ll find yourself warmed up within a matter of minutes of stepping through the door.
50 Great Bridgewater St, M1 5LE
Waxy O’Connor’s rejoices in winter by serving up belly-warming Irish coffee and pumping in a festive atmosphere with sing-a-long Sundays. The Printworks has its fans and its critics, but Waxy’s has a good heart and is a cracking little spot to sway along to Irish ditties with your buddy hanging on one arm and a drink attached to the other. It’s a bar that offers a laidback vibe with a boisterous kick, and numerous live music sessions are set to take place all across November and December on Friday and Saturday nights.
The Printworks, Corporation Street, M4 2BS
Have you ever been lucky enough to enjoy the wintery delights of a skiing holiday on the snowy mountains of Austria or Switzerland? Neither have we, but at least with Bar Hutte, you can feel like you have. This pop-up village of fully-furnished ski chalets temporarily transports you to a ski resort with all the warming comforts but without any of the falling over – unless you have one drink too many. It doesn’t get more hygge than this.
The Angel Pub
The Angel is a pub very much set in its ways – classic ales, chalkboard menus, wooden floors. And, curiously, that’s exactly what makes it such a wonderful little winter retreat.Endearing and intimate, The Angel is, by its own admission, a place full of ‘real people’. If the Christmas Markets are too hectic or the Oast House is a bit unruly for your tastes, wander up to Angel Street, push open the door to this little public house, and take a seat near the fire. Within moments, the manic holiday hustle and bustle on the streets outside will feel like a year-old dream.
6 Angel St, M4 4BQ