If you want a two-hour-long, food/beer-sozzled route to see a Manchester City game, as well as a chance to feed some geese, this is my dream route to my seat in the East Stand lower tier from Piccadilly Square: from Piccadilly, with your back to 1960s megalith, Piccadilly Plaza, you head up Tib Street to the YADGAR curry house. If you're veggie, you can get rice and three curries for £3.00 - same price as a pint in some of the Northern Quarter bars. £3.90 and you get lamb or chicken toppings too. Best tarka dhal in Manchester.
After that, you could go further up Tib Street and drink in Centro and then have another pint in the Copper Kettle, a pub whose restoration ran out of money - look at the ceiling on one side of the pub, and then the other. One side was restored, the other remains as it was when the building was almost derelict. However, if you choose to hit Great Ancoats Street at this stage, all there is from there is street and no canal. Instead, after Yadgar, I suggest you go back towards Piccadilly and locate the Mother Mac pub, on a side street off Oldham Street. This, I imagine, will remain like something out of Victorian times even long into another era in which Manchester aspires to make its eastern central section resemble a damper, rainier New York.
From Mother Mac's, you could stock up on samosas at Marhaba, one of the other remaining low-price curry houses in the city centre, or maybe buy some bread and head towards the canal - there's an entrance on to the towpath on Ducie Street, which is the road bearing left as you reach the ramp leading towards Piccadilly Station. Once on the canal, the geese are very 'people-friendly' - in other words, mind your fingers.
Continuing up the canal, you'll reach steps at Great Ancoats Street. Following crowds towards the ground, my final stop is the Bank Of England pub. It's not just a no-frills pub - it's a no-stitching-at-all pub. The toilets are signposted by a male and female pointing figure silhouette shapes, but the male silhouette says 'women' on it and the female one 'male' - everyone turns the wrong direction the first time, like one of those psychological tests where they write 'blue' on a red-coloured board. Once you've survived this delightful obstacle course, remember, you've still got a football match to watch, and the return leg into town afterwards to negotiate. As is often said of Manchester City, it's the 90 minutes in the middle that ruins the experience.
Between Manchester Piccadilly and Sportcity.
An irregular club night, it's one of the best clubs going with four rooms and musical madness: be it indie, electro, dance or sometimes just plain cheese. Also features live bands. Hurrah for clubbing hedonism!
Legends, Whitworth Street, Manchester.
The greatest cocktails in Manchester - expensive but only quality served. Service is fantastic, a great place with friends, on a pricey 'lash' or with a date. Dark, intimate, and, as I've moved 4000 miles away, occasionally missed, esp the cute bar maid ;)
100 High St
Reconstructed using original plans and materials from a pub that was destroyed by the IRA (the pub was originally called 'The Shambles' which is funny because that's pretty much what was left after the IRA were done). This place has nice ale and German lagers (not much for the ladies here though) at very cheap prices. The inside has a very comforting authentic 'ye olde English' atmosphere and the outside (equipped with those head-toaster heaters) is very popular in the summer. The menu also features oysters quite prominently, hence the pub's name.
Exchange Square, in front of selfridges and to the left a bit.
Matt & Phredds is an excellent jazz bar on Tib Street with live jazz every day (except maybe Monday). It has a wide range of European beers and international wines as well as really nice food - Middle Eastern style - pittas, olives etc as well as pizzas and various other snacks.
To get there head north along church street and go right at the intersection with Tib street, it's a black door on the right.
A very trendy bar on the harbour front and the place to be seen on the island. We went in September and it was packed, and I hear it's extremely busy in the summer months with huge queues so pick your time carefully. Great cocktails, music and a beautiful setting - makes you feel fabulous!
Cafe del Mar is, like its namesake in Ibiza, a cocktail/lounge bar, spread across the top of the 17th century defensive wall surrounding Cartagena. A wonderful place to have a drink and watch the sun set into the Caribbean - and a good place to get out of the city heat and find a breeze.
Centro Historico, Baluarte Santo Domingo;
tel: (+57 5) 6646513;
A cool bar and nightclub. I sought it out because it always seemed to have good DJs and music and I wasn't dissapointed. What a fantastic design. The decor is very retro and it's not one of these glass and chrome places. It's got a great feel and funky customers.
45 Hardman Street, about 2 doors down from the Philamonic pub;
tel: 0151 709 6969
Restaurante A Descoberta is a small bar/restaurant on the bank of the river Sado in Alcacer do Sal in the mercifully unsung Alentejo region of Portugal.
You will probably be staying at the lovely Pousada D.Afonso II at the top of the hill. The restaurant there is excellent, but "typical" Alentejo cuisine tends, after a while, to become rather "sustaining". The food is good, but the portions tend to be heavy and can to be very large. There is an alternative in Alcacer do Sal. A Descoberta combines the wonderful fresh local ingredients and a welcome lightness of touch that really does them justice. Maybe the fact that the wonderful chef, Catherine, is Belgian, colours the judgement of hotel staff when asked for recommendations, but give it a try. It is not expensive, very friendly, serves good wines and Catherine is happy to discuss the food if she has time. They also sell the excellent local salt. After coffee, take a walk along the river bank before returning to your hotel. We will return.
Restaurant "A Descoberta"
Av. João Soares Branco, 15-16
7580-166 Alcácer do Sal
Tel: (+351) 265 623 877
Fax (+351) 265 619 093
Both Alfalfa and Alameda are the hub of Seville´s nightlife. Alfalfa is a narrow street chock-a-block with bars and cheap tapas places. It kicks off about 11 o´clock at night and is stuffed with natives and foreigners alike. Bar Robotica is worth a view if only for the comic-book wallpaper and litre-sized drinks, and Bar Berlin is guaranteed to be open until the wee hours. Look out for the old man with a multi-coloured afro and a battered pair of rollerskates.
Alameda, despite the fact it is currently being reconstructed into what can only be described as a giant sand-pit, is still fun, lively and slightly more bohemian. In particular check out Cafe Central, one of the most popular joints, with the punters spilling out on the side walk, and the odd spontaneous flamenco clapping. The majority of punters there are local Sevillianas, and are all too happy to take the hapless foreigner under their wing, and direct them to the next venue. Don't expect to be in bed before 7 o'clock the following morning though!
Both areas are in the centre. Alfalfa is no more than 5 minutes’ walk from the cathedral, and Alameda is about 5-10 minutes’ walk north from there. Cafe Central is in the top left hand corner of the square. The subway is still in the process of being built, however any local or taxi driver would be able to point you in the right direction.
The first real British pub in Vienna - unlike the rest this pub is owned and run by a man from London. It offers good food and is the only one that gives you a good pint of beer (real ale). Well worth a visit just for the tea towels on the wall.
Lowengasse 3, around the corner from the Konvert Haus; tel: 01 713 16 90
A great place to get a cheap bite to eat. With a great selection of montaditos and a fair selection of cold tapas as well, it's a lively venue that always reminds me of an old municipal swimming pool. The main seating area is a series of tiled banks beyond the bar. It's very noisy but that's half the fun. If you're feeling greedy head down the road a few doors to the bar with the Chocolate y Churros sign hanging outside. The churros there are as good as you'll get in Seville and the background din of gossiping local senoras is the perfect accompaniment to the stodgy churros and thick, rich chocolate.
c/ San Eloy 9;
9 San Eloy
The world has been cursed with Irish pubs; miniature, unpleasant, tacky theme parks that recall an Ireland that probably never existed. If that's what you're looking for then you'll find them elsewhere in Seville, but the Merchants is nothing of the sort. Slightly off the beaten track, though still only a two minute walk from the centre, it manages to be as much a haven for locals as it is a home for ex-pats and cheap flight weekenders. Spacious and roomy, with free wifi, good music and ridiculously generous helpings of high quality food, it's everything most Irish pubs aren't. If you want to watch the football or have somewhere you can actually sit down and drink (the Spanish are much happier standing than the British) without feeling like you're still at home then the Merchants is the place to go.
C/ Canalejas 12; tel: 954 214 500;
An incredibly popular tapas bar on the edge of the Santa Cruz district, Las Coloniales is one of the best and cheapest places to eat in Seville. When you arrive you have to write your name and the number in your party on a small blackboard and your name is called when a table is free. It's located on the edge of the leafy (for Seville) Plaza Cristo de Burgos, which is handy as you have somewhere shady to sit whilst you wait. The food is uniformly good and the tapas sizes are exceptional for the price. Two people can have a decent meal with a couple of drinks for little over ten euros. One of the best things on the menu are the quail eggs and chorizo on fried bread, which is like a sausage and egg sarnie in the sun. You can't go wrong with the staples either. The Solomillo al Whisky is as good as you can get in Seville. On Sunday afternoons the plaza is full of Spanish families eating ice cream from the Heladeria across the road. Seville is full of Heladerias and though this one is probably the most expensive it's also the best.
Plaza Cristo de Burgos, 19 - east of the main El Corte Ingles, just past Plaze de Encarnacion.
For those of you travelling to the heart of Andalucia to sample something with a little more local flavour than an Irish pub, Bar Perejil is quintessentially Sevillano. It is owned by the former flamenco singer Pepe Perejil and photographs and mementos from his illustrious career adorn the walls. The man himself is quite a character and will often treat his customers to an impromptu burst of his still-incredible voice, particularly when accompanied by one of the many guitarists that stop by to have a casual jam Sevillanas-style. To complete the experience, go for the vino dulce or fino on tap - they go down worryingly easily but don't worry as Pepe will keep a chalk tally on the bar of how many you've had.
Plaza Padre Jerónimo de Córdoba; tel: 954 229 385
About 60km from Adelaide, the Barossa Valley is one of Australia’s major wine-producing areas. It's home to big names like Jacob’s Creek, Penfolds and Wolf Blass as well as over 70 smaller producers. Most vineyards do cellar door wine tastings and some have really good bars and restaurants.
Tours to the Barossa run from Adelaide but it’s a good place to explore for a few days. You can base yourself in one of the towns amd hire a bike and cycle around the vineyards – maps are available from the local tourist information office, which can also book local B&Bs for you (often individual country cottages where you get left the food to cook your own breakfast).
Mercado de Triana, over the river great little market in what was once the poor gypsy quarter of the city. You can pick up lush fruit and stop for a little pick me up at one of the small stall bars.
In Triana itself, there are plenty of good untouristy good tapas bars where you can pick gambas al pil pil etc. And you can wind your way back via a few of the little bars that line the banks of the river Guadalquivir.
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