Home to the hippest bar in town, this Victorian-Gothic venue serves globe-trotting small plates and a brilliant soundtrack
Few buildings enjoy such a pride of place in the city’s landscape as The Principal Hotel on Oxford Street. Formerly known as the Palace, this Victorian-Gothic icon was designed by Alfred Waterhouse, the hand behind Manchester’s Town Hall and London’s Natural History Museum. Expect peaks and gargoyles on the outside, with soaring eaves and tile work inside. Local DJs-turned-restaurateurs, Justin Crawford and Luke Cowdrey have taken over the bar and food operation, serving similar fare to their award-winning eatery, Volta in the suburb of Didsbury.
It’s a critical smash to date, thanks to fabulously moreish small plates such as smoked feta with beetroot, hazelnut, dill, wild bass ceviche or the crispy lamb shawarma. Think Ottolenghi - only more hearty. Cocktails need a bit of work; we’ve yet to find one that works as well as Volta’s aged Negroni, but the wine list and upmarket beer menu are excellent. A fairy-lit courtyard and great DJ roster means there’s no need to go on anywhere else.
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Average User Rating
5 / 5
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Luckily we were able to get a table for two on a Wednesday night without having booked! Received a warm welcome and managed to fit us in even though they were full booked! Service from the beginning was warm and friendly and the Victorian-Gothic decor was very impressive! The menu consisted of a variety of small plates from Chinese duck salad, to pork belly and Italian arancini, 3/4 dishes each would be advisable.
The courtyard section was tastefully dressed with fairy lights and I'd like to try out the cocktails on my next visit!