The Northern Quarter street parties were initially set up to celebrate the Royal Wedding (pictured). Then, after another to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee last year, it seemed we’d run out of excuses to have a party. But then again, do we really need an excuse? There’s an extra day off  – so let’s celebrate by hitting the streets! And let’s cross everything and hope the sun keeps its hat on. Thomas, High, Edge, Turner and even Oak Street will all be awash with folk as the NQ’s many bars and restaurants serve food and drink outdoors and providing entertainment for all ages. Here’s our comprehensive guide to what to do and where.

Edge Street
Common and Home Sweet Home, plus NQ newcomer Terrace, are hosting a kind of village fete for the day. The Common Knowledge quizmasters will be on hand to test your brain, while Ping Pong Club tests your body. With DJs throughout the day and live sets from the excellent Walk, Dr Butler’s Hat Stand Medicine Band and psychedelic alt-rockers Age of Glass (not to be missed), there’s a reason why they say there ain’t no party like an Edge Street party.

High Street
The queues for Almost Famous are always somewhat off-putting, stretching, most of the time, all the way on to Edge Street. For the street party they bring their meaty goods outside, where you can expect the wait to be worth it. Also in attendance will be stalls from Luck, Lust, Liquor & Burn, Bluu, Kahlua Coffee House and Keko Moku, offering up tacos, blandness, white Russians and rum respectively. The Northern Quarter Restaurant also teams up with those cheeky chaps from The Liquorists for a special ‘Gincident’ Bar.

Turner Street
Solita takes over its own street and brings back the Old School with sets from the likes of Jamie Scahill (Funkademia), Freddie Neal, Gareth Brooks (XFM, Tusk), Elliot Eastwick and Sankey’s Bucky. The highlight will be Manchester music legend Zed Bias who will keeping people dancing in the street from 5pm til 6pm (check out his recent Radio 1 mini mix here). Solita chefs will be bringing their Inka grill outside to serve the restaurant’s ever-expanding burger menu, a well as hosting ‘Chicken Hot Wing roulette’, a Man vs Food-style food challenge.

Thomas Street
The Northern Quarter’s biggest street party is getting even bigger as Thomas Street closes from Shudehill up, allowing Trof NQ, Apotheca and TV21 to get in on the fun too. A stage hosting Micron, Dub Smugglers and Jim Bane will feature outside while Pasta Paul takes on the decks indoors. Trof will also be providing an outdoor Brooklyn Bar, serving the titular beer from its eponymous NY borough, as well as Mint Tuleps and canned craft ales. TV21 will be providing real ales and Mexican food, and to cover all bases, Apotheca brings draught cider and cocktails with a pizza menu in conjunction with sister restaurant Dough. Further up Thomas Street The Bay Horse goes alliteration crazy with prints, pints, pittas and pulled pork at their arts and crafts fair. DJ Gus Gorman will be bringing his Top of The Pops night from 5pm. Across the road on the Odd Bar stage you’ll find DJs from some of Manchester’s best club nights – Revolver, Gold Teeth and So Flute – spinning all day. A more kid-friendly vibe will be the order of the day – but then you’re never too old to get your face painted. Odd will also cater for the post-street party crowd as The Travelling Band sets up indoors for its live music night Shut the Far Cupboard featuring Emmott and the Folkestra, Skylark Song and Adam French.

Oak Street
What will surely be the biggest draw of the day takes place at midday on Oak Street when (wo)man’s best friend is the main attraction for The Northern Quarter Dog Show. Home Sweet Home, Simple and RSPCA Manchester join forces for this four-legged extravaganza, with prizes for best trick, puppy, dog, bitch, veteran, six legs, waggiest tail and best in show. Check out the Facebook page for some of the early, furry contenders – and feel free to enter your own champion. The competition will be fierce. But hopefully not too fierce. It’s a family event, after all.

Sun 5 May, Northern Quarter, 12pm – 9pm, FREE

Image: Cubic Garden

Sun 5 May
John Stansfield
Published on:
Fri 3 May 2013