Nestled right in the city centre of Manchester, is the historic Barton Arcade. Just off Market Street and St Ann’s Square, located on Deansgate (one of the busiest roads in town) you would be forgiven for not realising it was there. It’s neatly hidden on Deansgate in a bustling row and shops and bars within a beautiful architectural façade. Built in the 1800’s, it’s not new but it might be new to you! To re-discover this Manchester icon, I was invited alongside a handful of other bloggers to find out exactly what it has to offer in our city of hidden gems.
Arriving at Barton Arcade for the #BartonBloggers event on a rainy Saturday morning, we were greeted by the lovely team at local PR company Six & Flow, who organised the event, to start out day of fun-filled activities! Stepping inside, you can hardly believe you are right in the heart of Manchester. In such a busy city, this beautiful and historic building is a little oasis of peace and calm, and almost has it’s own identity. As a building, it is stunning, and inside it is full of sweet little independent shops and eateries.
To kick off our day, we were taken to Too Funky Hair where we were given a choice of hair or nail makeovers. As I am such a curly girly (and pretty fussy with who I let loose on these ringlets), I opted to get my nails done. As there wasn’t time for anything fancy like extensions or nail art, I went for my classic nail colour; postbox red. My nails were filed, shaped and manicured using gel polish, which gives them a beautiful shine. Two weeks later and my gorgeous mani is still holding strong!
Too Funky Hair also put on a blow dry masterclass for those who chose hair over nails. Instead of giving everyone blow drys themselves, they got an expert on board to teach us how to do them ourselves. Pretty handy if you’re nimble with a hairdryer and want to recreate the salon look at home! My friend Amy has gorgeous long, blonde hair and was taught step by step how to do a curly blow dry. Doesn’t she just look gorgeous?
After sipping on some champagne whilst getting pampered, we were swept off to lunch. There are a couple of small eateries at Barton Arcade but our location of choice was Lunya, a Catalonian Deli, Restaurant and Bar. Inside it is decorated with gorgeous patterned tiles and wooden tables and chairs – it kinda felt like I was back in Barcelona.
We were treated to a tapas lunch, alongside a platter of their favourite meats, cheeses and sides. The food was incredible – even better than Barcelona! – and I will definitely bring guests here next time they are looking for somewhere new to try in Manchester.
Next was some spare time for us to take some photos around Barton Arcade and discover it for ourselves. And of course, with bloggers around there’s always pictures to be taken! One of the best bits was being let on to the secret rooftop of Barton Arcade. Although it’s just an empty space for now, it could be so beautiful if it was to be done up. You forget how high up you are when you’re up there – you can see the town hall, Hilton and the rooftops of other iconic buildings from there.
After snapping away, it was about time we had another refreshment, and so we were treated to a final drink at Be at One. Be at One is a cocktail bar located underneath Barton Arcade (you an access it from down the side of St Ann’s square) and is truly a hidden gem! It reminds me of the crazy dive bars I visited in New York, playing super fun cheesy tunes and with a massive cocktail menu.
In fact, there is so much to choose from at Be at One that they have a cocktail wheel to try and make it easier – you can select the spirit, flavour and ingredients you like to try and narrow down the decision. Or, just try one of each, you choose!
Over all, Amy and I had an amazing time at Barton Arcade. There are truly some hidden gems in Manchester and this is one of them. If you’re looking for somewhere different to take friends when they visit town, then give this place a go. It’s almost like it’s own little village within a bustling city, and there’s truly something for everyone there.