The restaurant: Canto
What Porto-born chef Carlos Gomes’s recent opening is Cutting Room Square’s new buzz booking.
Go for Vibrant petiscos (small plates) like the ace octopus lagareiro.
But don’t miss The hearty steak sandwich with garlic, watercress and onions stuffed into circular caco bread.
See also Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza is consistently voted Manchester’s top pizzeria.
The bar: The Jane Eyre
What A well-curated drinks menu, ranging from classic cocktails to unusual wines and local beers, plus small plates and cheerful staff.
Go for Feeling like a regular – there’s a real sense of community here often lacking downtown.
But don’t miss The Point and a Half cocktail is a memorable concoction of gin, Punt e Mes vermouth, tonic and burnt orange.
See also Prop up the 13m concrete bar at Elnecot to sample great natural wines.
The boutique: Form
What A striking concept store is a statement of elegant minimalism.
Go for The unique handmade homewares sourced from local independent designers.
But don’t miss Louise Madzia’s quirky monochrome ceramics, crafted in her home studio.
See also Ancoats General Store is a cornershop like no other. Pick up exotic edibles like Vietnamese teas or hang around to play a board game over a coffee.
The club: Band on the Wall
What In a city packed with legendary music venues, this storied space recently had a major refurb to make it slightly less 1965.
Go for Top-drawer live gigs and packed-out regular club nights with a soul-funk edge.
But don’t miss This is the go-to stop for major names on UK tours so keep an eye on the schedule.
See also The city’s longest-running club night, Funkademia at Mint Lounge, is the best Saturday-night disco around.
The cafe: Pollen Bakery
What Manchester’s self-styled “best sourdough and viennoiserie bakery”, which translates as crusty loaves, buttery croissants and well-made coffee.
Go for Their “cruffins” (a muffin-croissant hybrid) have locals queuing round the block.
But don’t miss Pollen’s new, roomier, light-filled eat-in space makes it worth hanging around.
See also Nearby Nibble excels at veggie options.
Manchester International Festival is 4–21 July