It may be one of the great icons of Manchester’s industrial past, but walking into Ducie Street Warehouse today, you could well be in New York.
The former goods warehouse, overlooking Piccadilly Basin and a stone’s throw from the station, has been transformed into an all-day social, cultural and culinary destination.
It only opened in September, but the buzzing lofty space, which houses three independent businesses – an apartment hotel by Native, boutique fitness studio Blok and cultural space Cultureplex which includes the Bistrotheque restaurant – has already woven itself into the fabric of the city.
It’s not surprising, given the similarities between Manchester and New York. Not only does the city often stand in for the Big Apple in film and TV, but the two have just made their romance official with a new tourism partnership agreement.
Fitting right in with the Big Apple vibe is Cultureplex’s boutique cinema, the Mini Cini, inspired by spaces like the Metrograph in New York.
With just 38 reclining seats, 4K digital projection, and state-of-art surround sound, it’s the perfect place to enjoy a selection of new releases and hand-picked supporting features, programmed by Katie Popperwell and HOME’s Jason Wood.
For example, alongside the Safdie Brothers’ Uncut Gems (a pulse-pounding gambling drama starring Adam Sandler on career-best form), Mini Cini are screening the directing duo’s critically acclaimed 2017 thriller Good Times (starring Robert Pattinson) and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love, which features Sandler’s previous career-best turn.
Uncut Gems is on all this week and is well worth catching in such an intimate space. Word of warning: the film is so nerve-shreddingly tense that you may want to take advantage of the Mini Cini’s at-seat drinks service. Hot tip: make it a stiff one. Or two. You’ll need it.
Other cinematic gems screening this month include: Terry Gilliam’s long-delayed The Man Who Killed Don Quixote (starring this year’s Best Actor rivals Adam Driver and Jonathan Pryce), cool new couple-on-the-run flick Queen & Slim (starring Britain’s Daniel Kaluuya), and Federico Fellini’s sumptuous black and white classic La Dolce Vita.
Tickets for all films are just £8 standard and £5 concession. And that’s not the only sweet deal. Cultureplex’s effortlessly cool bar and restaurant Bistrotheque is offering three courses for £20 for all of January.
The menu includes steak tartare, fish and chips, and a comforting potato and Comte cheese pie, as well as some more adventurous dishes: beetroot with mint pistou, pistachio and smoked rapeseed oil, for example, or a wonderful starter of Jerusalem artichoke with honey, goat’s curd, beer picked onions and parsley oil.
Sometimes you just can’t resist the classics, though. The highlight of our fabulous meal was a massive, golden and deliciously juicy chicken kiev, so good that it made us immediately want to try everything else on the menu.
Thankfully, the offer is available throughout the month, including weekends.
And if you’re partial to a fine wine, then check out Bistrotheque’s phenomenal January offer, whereby any wine over £50 is half price. Put simply, that means you can get a bottle of something really fancy for the price of a house red elsewhere.
With its centrally located combination of cinematic entertainment, relaxing surroundings and great value food, Cultureplex is the perfect antidote to the January Blues.