Molly Whitehead-Jones on (gentle) boozing with baby in tow
We all know the feeling: you’ve been traipsing round town with your teeny one for hours – maybe trying to pick up some post-pregnancy clothes, or getting a last-minute birthday present, or just, you know, enjoying the euphoria of being out where there are actual other grown-ups – and the weariness is kicking in.
You’re bone-tired (what else is new?) and fancy a little sit down. You don’t want to park up in a café for yet another cup of coffee/herbal tea/sparkling water, though; what you want is a nice, cold G&T.
It’s a quandary: you’re confident that one drink’s not going to render you incapable of caring for your newborn, but, given that it feels like judgement’s everywhere you turn when you’re a mum (especially a new mum), you definitely don’t want to go somewhere where you might be greeted by disapproving glares.
Here are a few places you can head to where you don’t have to fear you’ll be frowned on for (gently) boozing with a baby in tow.
The ‘Oast House’ building itself may be faux but this cosy watering hole’s chilled, friendly vibe is very much real (as are their hanging kebabs – truly a thing of wonder if you fancy a lunch time treat to go alongside your drink). If the weather’s bad, you can nestle inside, but the partially undercover, absolutely huge patio area means staying outside’s often a viable option. Avoid Friday evenings during the summer though, obviously – your baby definitely won’t want to snooze when there are reams of office workers chortling all around.
The Avenue Courtyard, Spinningfields, Crown Square, M3 3AY. Open every day from 12pm
There aren’t many Northern Quarter bars that are both extremely buggy accessible and/or don’t feel more like ‘Friday night at 3am’ than ‘Wednesday afternoon at 3pm’. At Common, there’s enough space for a whole group of mums to commandeer their own corner (in fact, I’m told they regularly do), and the light airiness and coffee shop feel mean you definitely won’t feel at all grubby about indulging in a spot of daytime drinking here.
39 Edge St, M4 1HW. Open every day from 10am
Their suburban sister ‘lounges’ are well-renowned for being family-friendly (we’re always in Urmston’s Bevano Lounge), and the city centre version’s no less welcoming to mums in need of refreshment of the alcoholic variety. There’s lift access to get you up to the first-floor bar, where you’ll find plenty of space, smiley bar staff, extremely comfy sofas, and even a few board games to have a go on if you’re feeling so inclined/capable of sentient thought.
3 Corn Exchange, 37 Hanging Ditch, M4 3TR. Open every day from 9am
It’s likely you spent at least a couple of boozy Saturday summer afternoons on the terrace at Dukes 92 in your pre-baby days, but don’t discount it now you’re sprogged-up – whether you sit outside or in, it’s a great option if you want to get firmly away from the hustle of the city centre for a bit. (You’ll have to skedaddle by 8.30pm, though, as it’s adults only from then on.) An extra bonus: Rattling over the cobbles of Castlefield to get there could well lull your little one to sleep. Score.
18-25 Castle St, M3 4LZ. Open every day from 12pm
HOME is not just an excellent place to soak up a bit of culture, but also a fine spot in which to soak up a nice glass of wine. Either settle into the downstairs bar or, if you’re peckish, head upstairs (there are plenty of lifts) to the super-child-friendly restaurant. They even have parent and baby screenings here if you fancy catching a film too.
2 Tony Wilson Place, M15 4FN. Open every day from 10am
Hidden away amongst the old Co-op buildings, just a short skip from Victoria station and nicely sectioned off from traffic and crowds, The Pilcrow’s perfect for a quiet drink. The large windows that make up one side of the wooden building bring the outside in, so ever a grey Manchester day feels brighter. If you favour a craft beer, you’ll be more than satisfied with the fine selection available here. And though there’s no baby change, the disabled loo is large enough for you to create a makeshift set up.
Hanover St, M60 0AB. Open every day from 12pm
Pretty canal-side locale, an open fire to warm chilly winter days, leather armchairs, and a very well-stocked bar... The Wharf’s just like a traditional country pub only without the country, and a much wider gin selection. And the Sunday Roast is served up really quickly which is obviously excellent if you’re hurrying to keep to their feeding/sleeping schedule and/or are ravenous.
6 Slate Wharf, M15 4ST. Open every day from 10.30am
Headline image by Sebastian Matthes