A few weekends ago I got to do something really cool with a bunch of awesome bloggers from WeBlogMCR…we got to be #BartonBloggers for the day and get to know the ins and outs of Barton Arcade, Manchester.

When I was invited, I was promised opportunities to discover new shops, eat, drink and catch-up with some fabulous Manchester bloggers – how could I possibly say no? The 5 hour fun-filled day flew by and we all left Barton Arcade excited about the new things we’d discovered. Want to know what they were? Read on…

Barton Arcade

So first things first, we met-up and were briefed by the awesome team running the show, the gals from inbound marketing agency, Six and Flow and were ushered down to Pot Kettle Black (aka PKB).

PKB

If you’re into the foodie and/or coffee scene in Manchester, then you have probably already been to PKB. BUT, have you eaten there? And I mean more than just a croissant or cake with your coffee? Well the wonderful James, introduced us to some of the absolute delights on their All Day Breakfast menu. We sampled the Blueberry Cheesecake French Toast and O-M-G this was naughty but nice all at the same time. A hefty portion and they didn’t skimp on the blueberries or candied pecans (which were delightful in themselves!).

Next, because I always follow sweet with savoury (!!), was their Nduja Eggs which was a hot, tomato-based dish, cooked with pecorino and a baked egg. Served with Sourdough toast, this was the surprise favourite at the table!

Then, the absolute dream of dreams when it comes to a brunch delicacy – the Breakfast Roll which was a combo of sausage patty, bacon, cheese, relish and a runny egg…served in…now wait for it…a pretzel bun! That’s right, a crunchy and salty on the outside, soft and buttery on the inside, pretzel bun! Perfection in my eyes.

So suitably carbed-up and ready for the day ahead, we made our way round to meet and greet some of the retailers in Barton Arcade, most of whom, I’ll admit, we didn’t know much about…

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Jeffrey West

So, I don’t often have the calling to go and buy a £400 pair of handmade leather men’s shoes…but if I did, I’d go to Jeffrey West. The shop is super cool and a bit crazy inside – I mean they have giant giraffe heads in the window (a carnival costume, the Store Manager explained)! The shoes are genuinely like works of art. Soft leather and some are even engraved with designs and personalisations. Definitely worth a look if you’re up for a splurge with the fella!

Jill Black Women’s

Now this is a store that I’ve walked past so many times! I occasionally glance in the window and see the odd thing I like, but I usually think that the clothes aren’t for me. BUT, on closer inspection of the clothes rails in Jill Black’s…there are some AMAZING finds in there! In fact I may have bought the most gorgeous jumper (ssshhh I’m not supposed to be shopping!). Definitely worth a look, as there’s a great variety of casual wear and dresses in there…and I spotted they have menswear downstairs too. They’ve been there fore 28 years, so gotta be good!

Then we had a quick interlude on the secret roof space at Barton Arcade (so cool!) and did what bloggers do best…took selfies, photos for our blogs and did some awesome boomerangs…

Bloggers say cheers at Be At One / Jumping for joy on the roof of Barton Arcade

Lunya

Then before we knew it, it was time for a tapas lunch at Lunya. Another well-established dining place in Manchester, you can reach Lunya from Deansgate so I think most people don’t realise it’s part of Barton Arcade, but once you’re inside, you can head up to the second floor and see that you’re surrounded by the beautiful Victorian architecture. We had the most delicious tapas lunch, including their current specials which had me salivating from the moment I spied them on the menu. The lunch menu is very affordable and offers a good selection of hot and cold dishes,  meat, fish and vegetarian. My stand-out winners were the Hake special (you MUST order this!), the Chicken fingers and the Frittata. All washed down with a glass of their cold, crisp house rosé wine, it really was the perfect lunch for nattering away with your friends and tucking into each other’s dishes! (Next time round, their paella is on my hit list!).

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Shopping & Being Pampered

Suitably full and buzzing from our day so far, we made our way to be pampered at Too Funky Hair, well, I was the photographer, so watched the other gals get their hair blow-dried to perfection, whilst sipping a glass of fizz. Most of the girls were heading out for their Saturday night on the town, so it was the perfect pitt-stop to get glammed-up!

Whilst everyone was being pampered, I made my way to discover some of the other places in Barton Arcade…I perused my next travel destination at STA Travel and spotted a couple of great shirts for the hubby in The R Store (a total hidden gem for Men’s fashion by the way!), before heading back to join the other Barton Bloggers.

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Cocktail hour

Then, what better way to top off our fabulous afternoon at Barton Arcade, then with cocktails?! So we trotted down to my new favourite spot, Be At One Bar, for their happy hour cocktails! Now, this place deserves a special mention for a few reasons: 1. their staff are ALWAYS friendly, smiling and welcoming. 2. Their cocktail menu is seriously impressive. 3. Their cocktails are fabulous. 4. Their happy hours are the best value!

So I ordered a Pornstar Martini (and received two, as it was buy one, get one free) and we nattered on for a couple of hours until we all parted ways for our Saturday nights.

What a day and what a revelation! Barton Arcade is awesome! If you’ve not been, set aside a couple of hours one day and explore – it’s an instagrammers dream!