From massive ice rinks to giant snow globes and more alpine chic than you can shake a ski at...
Funnily enough, it hasn’t escaped our notice that Christmas market fever has well and truly begun. The squares and streets are already packed with shoppers and revellers clutching Xmas-jumper patterned mugs of steaming glüwein. There’s a look of steely determination in their eyes as the pressure to have contrived fun with colleagues is high. Couple this with a nose you could chip off with an ice pick and it’s not exactly the festive romance of the movies. You *could* shuffle for an hour through the ever more resentful throngs in Albert Square before reaching an overstuffed log cabin with a bar ten deep or you might prefer to take your chances at one of these other Xmas pop-ups instead.
What: The Enchanted Terrace
Where: 20 Stories, No.1 Spinningfields 1 Hardman Square, Manchester M3 3EB
When: From November 13th
As if it wasn’t already thrilling enough having a drink on the roof terrace at 20 Stories, it’s now been transformed into a Disney-esque enchanted forest for winter. Two giant snow globes have been installed, decked out with seasonal foliage and sparkle for a very ‘grammable Xmas experience. The transformation is in association with posh fizz-floggers Moët & Chandon so expect a dedicated Moët menu as well as a brand new menu of both hot and cold cocktails created by bar manager Stuart McLachlan. Stocked up with blankets, ‘winter accessories’ and fitted with outdoor heaters, the globes will are perfect respite from the cold weather. Group bookings can be made for the ‘Into The Woods’ themed roof terrace for party sizes of between 6 and 70.
What: The Lodge
Where: First Street, Manchester, M15 4FN
When: 31st Oct-2nd Jan Mon-Thur & Sunday 12-9pm, Fri & Sat 12-10pm
Far from the madding crowds but still buzzing with atmosphere, The Lodge at First Street is a 150-person Nordic winter tipi. In collaboration with on-site operator Gasworks Brewbar, drinks include Nordic-style beers and hot toddies. There’s food too, like the ever-popular Yorkshire pudding wraps. But that’s not the half of it. A sleigh full of ‘craft, arts and sustainability-themed workshops’ are planned as well as wellness classes and family-focused events in collaboration with the likes of HOME. Expect such treats as reggae or ABBA themed yoga, life drawing, pilates, bike surgery workshops, classes on making your own recycled wrapping paper, and events with botanical cocktail masterminds Into The Gathering Dusk.
What: Bar Hütte
Where: Spinningfields Square, Manchester, M3 3EB
When: 7th Nov-31st Dec, Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun 11-8pm
Nothing says Christmas like, er, karaoke. That’s right, and at Bar Hütte you can hire your own personal ‘carol-oke’ booth and sing your heart out to Christmas favourites with your nearest and dearest - or your work mates at least. Each Hütte is named after a famous ski resort - from Aspen to Zermatt - and designed to give you an authentic Austrian ski village ‘après-ski’ experience complete with blankets and cushions for snuggling.
Advance bookings are recommended if you want your own hütte or just show up and knock back a hot gin & gingerbread or a spiced mulled wine in the communal courtyard area and enjoy the live music and DJs. There’s street food like pigs in blankets and oven flamed pizza as well as festive cocktails like The Bombardino - warm eggnog topped with whipped cream - and shotskis - four shot glasses served on a ski.
What: Bar Barton
Where: 13 Barton Arcade, Manchester, M3 2BB
When: 4th Oct-1st Jan, Fri & Sat 4pm-3am
This is one for the most hardened of filthy (party) animals. Bar Barton is a ‘secret’ pop up cocktail bar on Barton Square - in the former site of Be at One - and it’s open from 4pm-3am every Friday and Saturday of the festive period. Setting its stall out as the ultimate Xmas party venue, this pop up club will be decked out in festive style to welcome revellers to enjoy their DJs, live music and dancers. There are a range of Christmas buffets or canapés to choose from as well as those all important festive cocktails. There are private booths, rooms or entire bar areas available to hire with tickets from £10 per person, £25pp for booths and £30pp room or venue hire.
What: Yurt Bar
Where: Alderley Park, Alderley Edge, Macclesfield, SK10 4TG
When: Bookable on 5,6,7,11,12,13,14,19,20,21 Dec, 7pm-1am
Yurt bar is already a thing in Yorkshire and is coming to Cheshire for the first time this Christmas. This aprés-ski inspired experience is perfect for the Alderley Edge crowd with its emphasis on full on luxury. Running from November 29th to December 21st, Yurt bar is actually a series of interlinked Yurts of different sizes. Expect a Slingsby gin bar, festive cocktails, and a jägerbar as well as an Alpine themed three-course dinner menu - with plenty of cheese. There’s also live music, DJs, roaring log fires and even a giant snow globe - just what your life has been missing. Private bookings are available throughout December. Prices are £59.50pp +VAT on weekdays and £69.50pp +VAT on weekends.
What: The Tavern
Where: Spinningfields, Hardman Sq, Hardman St, Manchester M3 3EB
When: From 8th November onwards, midday til late
From the creators of popular summer hangout ‘The Lawn Club’, Spinningfields’ winter venue is a worthy contender as an alternative to an Albert Square sausage. Situated in Hardman Square, right in the middle of Spinningfields, this pop-up log cabin has a range of Bavarian style classics like Bratwurst and Chicken Schnitzel on offer. There’s also warm cider - the good kind, hot cocktails and two-pint steins of beer - a festive alternative to Manc hipsters’ favourite 3/4 schooners. Christmas parties are encouraged to come and enjoy the twinkling lights, fur rugs and ‘abundance of oompah spirit’.
What: The Ice Rink & Retreat
Where: MediaCityUK Side of Orange Building, Salford, Manchester M50 2HE
When: Ice Rink 15th Nov-5th Jan, 3pm-9pm Mon-Fri, Sat-Sun 10am-9pm
Retreat 15th-Nov-5th Jan 2pm-10pm and 10am-10pm from start of school holidays
Fancy bruising your ego and possibly your coccyx to the sound of hearty laughter from your loved ones and assorted onlookers? MediaCityUK has a weather-proof, 500sq ft ice rink as the centrepiece of its own Christmas market this year. The ice rink can hold up to 200 skaters at any one time so there’s room for novices clutching onto a ‘penguin helper’ as well as the usual show-offs. If you don’t fancy getting your skates on, there’s The Retreat, a cosy alpine chalet with wooden seating, faux fur and fairy lights. Drinks include hot cider, mulled wine, draft beers, hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream, and even hot Vimto on tap. Happy hour in The Retreat is 5-7pm Mon-Fri with draft beers and mulled wine at £3.50. Prices for skating are £13ph for Adults and £11ph for children with a family of four ticket for £40. Students tickets are £10 Mon-Thurs available only at the rink. There will also be the option to hire the rink for schools/groups and corporate parties.
What: The Dukes Christmas Tipi
Where: Outside Dukes 92, 18 - 25 Castle St, Manchester M3 4LZ
When: From Nov 21st onwards
Castlefield residents needn't miss out on the pop-up action as Dukes 92 will be bringing back their popular Xmas tipi for the festive season. Opening on November 21st, it’s another one to visit if you want to escape the city centre madness we all love to loathe. This year’s tipi will be furnished in the style of a ski lodge - clearly the trend for 2019. There will be twinkly fairy lights and warm blankets to help visitors to forget about the inclement weather outside the tent. This year’s sponsor, Arumdu Rum, are in charge of the drinks list. How does a buttered rum popcorn cocktail grab ya? You can also book the tipi for your private parties for up to 80 guests - complete with live music and DJs.