20 November 2019 by Neil Sowerby

WHAT a busy festive season it is already. Hot – or should that be blooming cold – on the heels of our round-up of all the jolly alternatives to the official Christmas Markets comes  news of further communal merriment down at Hatch on Oxford Road (or as an over-excited press release put it “under the brutalist brilliance of the Mancunian Way”).

This is Evergreen: A Festival of Winter and Christmas is running at the street food and craft gift hub from Tuesday, November 19, until Christmas Eve. Transformed via festive greenery, foliage and light into a winter hideaway, Hatch will host a programme of special events. For the full list visit this link, including late night Christmas shopping with entertainment each Thursday until 8pm.

After all the retail therapy there’s an abundance of food and drink opportunities among the 31 independent traders on site, plus blankets and heating to keep you toasty in the festive domes. The mini-restaurants could prove perfect for a more intimate Christmas lunch.

Family-run Cypriot restaurant Mezze have recently expanded their Hatch operation and now have taken over a full double decker shipping container – the top floor of which is decked out for festive parties. For Southern Spanish vibes, new Hatch arrival Abeja Tapas is the city’s smallest tapas bar, serving some wicked paella (above).

Or you could go for chicken parmo courtesy of Parmogeddon or banh mi from Hatch’s double decker bus Hanoi 75. Below are a couple of festive treats already on thr menu at Fred’ Place in the Courtyard – Yule log french toast with cinnamon brioche french toast, chocolate cream, salted caramel sauce and berries and, in the background, turkey grilled cheese on sourdough with stuffing, cranberry sauce, melted mozzarella and mayo.

Drinks? Number 8 bar has covered its roof terrace to create a cosy cocktail cavern, there are craft beers from Ol, the cool yule vibes at Electrik Box, and a choice of red or white mulled at Vin-Yard.

Family friendly? Check out The Little Elf Workshops every Friday. Book your child’s place here. Dog-friendly? Hatch present Santa Paws on Sunday, December 8,12pm-6pm. Bring you pooch for a pic on Santa’s knee and get a present for him or her with all proceeds going to to Manchester Dogs Home.

Plus, a sign of the times, on November 29 and 30 Hatch is hosting Manchester’s first Zero Waste Christmas Market. It offers a selection of over 25 independent sustainable brands including fashion, lifestyle, luxury, home, beauty, reusables and seasonal items. It’s your chance to purchase eco-friendly, plastic-free Christmas gifts. The market will also provide an excellent variety of festive food and drink, live entertainment and workshops. The fully committed can try their hand at upcycling fabric wreaths or making vegancashew cheese. There will also be curated panel discussions about low-impact living, young people in sustainability and tips and tricks to enjoy an eco-friendly Christmas.

Hatch, 103 Oxford Road, Manchester M1 7ED. 0333 323 2238.