The green fingered amongst you may have been excited to see this little number on the list. Manchester’s first (and only) garden-themed boozer is nestled away up on Dale Street and has been offering something a little different to Northern Quarter punters for the past 18 months or so.

Decked out from head to toe in rustic wooden tables, chairs, stools and wall panelling, Allotment certainly looks the part. Miniature tin buckets hold cutlery and optimistic greenery in planters are dotted all over the place giving Manchester a quite literal breath of fresh air.

The theme doesn’t end with the décor either. Food is local and fresh, with burgers, grilled chicken, duck and fish all offering you plenty of protein alongside your five a day. If you don’t want anything too heavy, you could go for a healthy salad or sharing platter, or maybe the pièce de résistance the Picnic Basket; a proper afternoon tea for two of sandwiches, scones, cake and either a caffeinated beverage of choice or bubbles, all for £22. It’s a nice idea, creates a talking point and fits the place well.

Space is always at a premium in NQ bars so it’s surprising how it’s been used at Allotment. Admittedly plenty of room has been given to the tables meaning you’re quite likely to find a spot to park your backside, but the bar itself is minuscule making it a struggle to elbow in and get served. This is made even more frustrating by the stools there which only serve to single-file the crowds in, and as Allotment can barely fit two staff behind the bar, queues are highly likely.

When you do get to the front there’s a decent selection on offer. Four ales dominate proceedings and at £3.60 for a pint of Prospect you’re left with enough change for your bus fare home. Other taps are more expensive, boasting Shindigger (£4.60) and Dortmunder Pils (£4.80) with small wines all above £4 a pop. Cocktails are the usual £7-£9 and are bolstered by the fact the gin list rivals pretty much everywhere in town bar Atlas.

For all its quirk though, Allotment can come across as a bit twee. Serving as a post-work boozer, it does get a lot of the suited and booted crowd in as well as a few drinkers who have heard about its theme and want to go and check it out with their own eyes. This does mean Allotment doesn’t have the usual NQ atmosphere and feels a bit transient, not helped either by its slightly isolated location.

A Northern Quarter oddity, it’ll be interesting to see how long Allotment can stay fresh.


Classification: Bar

Food: Modern British

Drinks: Lager, ale, cider, cocktails, wine, lashings of gin

Price: ££

Related City Centre establishments: None

Bongo rating: 6/10