RECOMMENDATION | GRUB Food Fair, Manchester

By Sarah.Kowalyszyn | 22nd May 2019

When my friend asked me and my family to come along to one of the GRUB food fairs at Fairfield Social Club in Manchester I was a bit apprehensive at first. Overpriced dishes, standing in crowds and beers that are just a bunch of almost identical IPA’s sprung to mind. But our whole crew were going including my toddler and my friend’s seven-year-old son, so I thought I’d check it out.


We took the tram to Piccadilly train station and after a short walk we found ourselves on a quiet road between two railway bridges. Very cool. Fairfield social club is discreetly situated inside two old industrial railway arches with just a small sign and doorway as a giveaway. We went in, not really knowing what to expect.


It was very, very cool. It screamed “MANCHESTER’S INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION!” We entered a grand open space showing off the original old bricks in the walls and ceiling, huge arched windows lighting up the room, minimal added touches such as modern lighting and OSB boarding, yet a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. It wasn’t too busy for a Sunday afternoon in the city centre.


We admired how they had kept the original one-hundred-year-old features whilst adding the comforts of decent toilets, large wooden tables and chairs, fairy lighting, a cosy lounge area with sofas and lamps and an upper level with an extra seating area. There’s a DJ deck and a large bar. The bar was big enough for crowds and the drink selection was actually pretty decent. We grabbed some interesting beers and some soft drinks for the kids.

The GRUB food fair we attended was their “Plant Powered Sunday” fair, so all the food kiosks served vegan food. Not being vegan myself, I didn’t really know what to expect, but the food was genuinely fantastic and not that pricey. Even the kids ate all their food and we all went back for some cake. I’m still thinking about the “fried chicken” I devoured there, partly because it was a good-sized portion but mainly because it exceeded my expectations of vegan chicken. My friends ordered different dishes so we could be greedy and try a bit of everything – we all agreed that all the food was superb. The beers too!


GRUB food fairs take place here from Friday to Sunday with different line-ups of street food vendors each day, so we’re planning to head back and try out their other days too.


Along with the food experience we shared some of the venue’s board games and colouring in together. The kids were not bored. They could safely explore and play in the venue, and the staff were really friendly and clearly used to children being there. Pooches are welcome too which was a nice touch.


This is definitely the place to go if you’re looking for somewhere quirky and cool, whether it’s for lunch with family during the day or drinks with your mates in the evening.


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