Further hammering of the Meetup social media site has allowed me to make more friends, eat good food, visit cool bars and restaurants and spend more time in the fantastic city of Manchester. A good number of groups have sprung up over the last few months, so recently I've checked out a few of them.
On Bank Holiday Monday I went to meet the people from Manchester Social Nights, a group for over-30s. The event is listed here. Dockyard is a bar at the river's edge on the opposite side of Spinningfields to Deansgate. Great relaxed atmosphere, modern yet traditional and pubby. The burger I had went down a treat, although the table I sat at was strangely uneven. We then stopped off at the recently-refurbished and still-fantastic Alchemist.
Manchester Social Nights is a good group. The organiser also introduced me to a few other meet-up groups that I'll mention after I've visited them.
Next up in my calendar: Manchester Social Scene. I went to meet them on Friday for drinks in the Northern Quarter. It rained a lot on Friday night (hey, it's Manchester) but a good number of us made the effort. We checked out Bluu
and Bar 21, formally TV 21.
Interesting night. Got told I looked like Jack Shepard from Lost.
Fuck it, I agree.
Also, a girl branded me “a bit of a knob” because I turned her down. She wasn't one of the group. Honestly not my kind of place and I think I've been there enough times now, but I'd meet with the group again.
And then Saturday: I woke up strangely early (insomnia can hit at both ends of the candle) and I fell back asleep in the afternoon. I needed to get up in time for the evening as I was running a Lads' Night through the 20s and Early 30's group. But I didn't hear my alarm and I missed the beginning of the meetup, along with phone calls and texts from the rest of the group. Thankfully the group organiser had turned up and was commandeering. They'd already met in Bluu, gone on to Trof and Apotheca and were a few drinks in by the time I found them in The Bay Horse, a small but smart pub in the heart of the Northern Quarter.
We moved on from there and all the ideas I had had been kind of exhausted, so we looked for places we'd not tried and landed on Hula, a Tikki bar in Stevenson Square. We queued for 15 minutes and paid the £4 door charge, but tikki bars are what they are- rammed Jamaican-themed shacks with straw on the floor, badly-mixed contemporary and old-school R'n'B, photos plastered to the ceiling and bamboo fixtures. Fine women, though.
Hopefully we'll get another, more popular lads' night scheduled for the likes of Spinningfields or The Milton Club, and I'll sleep properly beforehand and guide the night a little better.
Forthcoming nights out planned with Meetup: A Thai restaurant, a pub night with media creatives, a body-art-themed Asian restaurant and an exclusive party night. These events are in Manchester but the Meetup site is worldwide, and as the site becomes more popular more and more people will be setting up events near you, so get involved.