Trof Northern Quarter Review

By James Brown.

One of the original foundations of the now illusive and all encompassing Trof family, Trof NQ and its history as a drinking emporium for the fine people of the Northern Quarter and beyond, is omnipotent. Basically it's been ace for ages and we, like everyone else in this city love it to bits. Trof Northern Quarter certainly feels like home to me and takes me back to the days of being a bad-hair-styled, angst-ridden teen on my way for a nosey around the University of Manchester for an open day. An open day we never attended because we spent the day wining, dining and running wild at Trof. Safe to say I ended up at the Met and writing about nightlife for a living, and I'd have it no other way. Trof Northern Quarter has incredible rustic charm, and a warm welcoming persona that attracts clientele from across the city; A real Manchester mainstay, and one I jumped at the chance to visit once again. 

The Venue

Tucked quietly off the Thomas Street right at the end of the Northern Quarter, Trof and its quaint corner shop style entrance blends in so well with the vintage Victorian feel of the area, that its very existence there seems infinite. From the outside it looks like the rest of the Northern Quarter was built from this point onwards, and as you enter you're immediately grabbed by its irrepressible charm and character. Warm wooden flooring, simple and curious seating that appears to have been taken from a classroom in the 1940s, accompanied by school desk style tables. Once in, there are another two floors to explore, including smoking terrace. Downstairs for dining, and the middle floor for letting loose and throwing shapes on the dance floor. The top floor, hosts a room available for private hire, and is perfect for drinking and chatting. Leather bound sofas, an old jukebox and a view of the vibrant Thomas Street adds to the successful appeal of this hidden gem up the stairs at Trof. 

The brilliant bare brick walls adorned with bottles of booze from around the world

The Clientele and Atmosphere

Trof attracts a vibrant and diverse crowd of people from across the city. They, as much as the building itself, are a part of the make up of what Trof is all about. Throughout the week the atmosphere is relaxed and chilled, with open mic nights, quizzes and fantastic food and drink on offer, including a brilliant breakfast and lunch menu that give the place an additional clientele. The weekend is, as usual, a different beast completely with the doors opening to the packs of thirsty weekend warriors that have navigated the cobbled streets of the Northern Quarter for a pint of Trof Cider and some cosmic disco beats by the DJs. A much livelier offering in the evenings, but it never loses the rustic and cosy-come-cool charm that allows you to sit all day and night with the fine people in Trof Northern Quarter. 

Simple and basic decor add an irresistible charm that oozes cool, yet feels honest and homely

The Food & Drink

The food at Trof is completely honest and rustic with immense flavours and combinations competing with those of any other famous burger joints or cosy cafes in the area. I settled in to try Steak Through the Heart; a panfried dry-aged hanger steak with beautiful caramelised onions, a strong and potent aged cheddar that was topped with a peppery rocket, mustard mayo that held a subtle heat and bite, served on a warm ciabatta with a side of chips.  Simple, rustic and oozing with the characteristics of great home pub cooking, and overflowing with flavour throughout.  This was washed down with a bottle of Erdinger from the broad and tasteful selection of bottled beers and cider, including a wide selection of beers from across the globe and since it wasn't a school night, we sampled a few more after that, including Japanese Asahi and Brooklyn Beer. Cocktails, wines and a vast array of spirits are available for those who aren't into the beers, including an individual bourbon menu that we daren't sample this time around.  The joy comes when the bill arrives and you don't have to remortgage your flat to pay, as is the case with many Northern Quarter bars and eateries.  

An amazing selection of delicious burgers and sandwiches, are great lunchtime additions. 


The Trof group's success with other venues across Manchester such as Gorilla and The Deaf Institute,  can easily be traced back in style and execution to Trof NQ. A brilliant Manchester bar that appears to be quite brilliant at everything it does. After all these years it hasn't lost its charm and natural cool, yet it still feels completely contemporary and on the pulse of this awesome city of ours. Brilliant food and booze is accompanied by friendly staff and an atmosphere that will leave you, like me, wanting to return for years to come. Cool and quirky, cosy and cost effective, exactly what I expect from a bar that's been in the city longer than I have.