Inside Manchester's Newest Socially-Distanced Food Market And Music Hub

Published . By Melissa Bradley.

The new normal? It's not just face masks and hand sanitiser. Located a stone’s throw from Manchester Piccadilly Station on Baring Street, Escape to Freight Island is the innovative new venture that's set up shop at Platform 15 in the Depot Mayfield. What was once a place so symbolic of the city's industrial past is now a rendezvous point for catch-ups between friends over street food, craft beers and cocktails served from kegs. 

Escape to Freight Island Review Manchester | DesignMyNight

This outdoor space is perfect for alfresco drinks in Manchester.

The venue is open plan, with a street food market feel and splashes of colour everywhere you look. Vicariously travel the world through food thanks to Voodoo Ray’s New York pizzas, Spanish-inspired fare cooked lovingly in a woodfired oven at Baratxuri and divine tacos at Madre, a kitchen flourishing in the art of Mexican cuisine. On the soundtrack? Funky beats play from likes of Homoelectric, We Out Here festival and Festival N°6.

A friendly word of advice; one slice of pizza - or two max - will be more than enough to satiate your dough cravings, as the standard size comes in at a mighty 22 inches. I’m talking Man vs Food scales; think with your stomach, not your taste buds. We devoured margarita and pepperoni slices before tucking into Krum’s all-vegan doughnuts – seriously the best we’ve ever tasted; a gluttonous double chocolate number and a peanut butter option glazed with gold shavings. To wash down our carbohydrate spoils? We skipped the craft beer taproom in favour of a couple of Aperol Spritzes; the defining drink of the summer season.

Madre Tacos Escape to Freight Island Review Manchester | DesignMyNight

Fill up on everything from steak and tacos to pale ales and cocktail kegs.

If you're worried about social distancing, there’s no cause for concern here; the masterminds behind Escape to Freight Island have ensured that everything can be ordered via an app to avoid queues, while there’s a staggered arrival system and PPE is readily available. Even better for all fellow Mancunians: Platform 15 is only the initial stage for the “new vision of our collective future.” We still have plenty more to eagerly anticipate, with further phases including the introduction of a 70s-themed roller disco.

The DesignMyNight Digest 

We loved every minute of our trip to Escape to Freight Island – it’s visionary escapism at its best, especially after a very trying year. Take a jaunt here for festival vibes, boundless food and beverage choices in a unique, otherworldly setting.

For more post-lockdown inspo, check out our guides to Manchester's best reopening parties and all the restaurants now taking bookings.