• Even more events, one-off feasts and chef specials revealed for Manchester Food and Drink Festival

Even more events, one-off feasts and chef specials revealed for Manchester Food and Drink Festival

8 September 2021 by Deanna Thomas

The 24th Manchester Food and Drink Festival will take place between Thursday 16th September until 27th September and a whole load of special foodie events have been planned. 

With a central hub based at Cathedral Gardens in the city centre, and special events being held in and around Manchester, it is one of the country’s longest running urban food festivals. This year’s event is headline sponsored by food delivery service Just Eat and intends to celebrate Manchester’s incredible food and drink scene with one big, much-anticipated food party. 

The centre of the action will be The Festival Hub - the free to enter, pop up food and drink village that will take over Cathedral Gardens for the duration of the festival. With a gigantic beer bar, gin bar, street food, artisan food market, banquets and live music it’s one big celebration of the city’s excellent dining and drinking scene. 

Here’s what’s on at the Festival Hub, Cathedral Gardens

This will be open from Thursday 16th – Sunday 19th September and then again from Wednesday 22nd to Sunday 26th September. No booking is required, although some tables within The Hub will be available to book over these two long weekends

The brand new Festival app is a new digital ‘on the go’ festival programme with app users able to browse the full festival programme, reserve a table at the Festival Hub and vote in the MFDF awards too. The app can be downloaded in the apple  and android app stores by searching ‘Mcr Food and Drink Festival’. There’s a whole host of special offers from Manchester’s brilliant restaurant community listed on the MFDF app/website which can be viewed HERE

What: MFDF Artisan Markets 

When: Thursday 16th - Sunday 19th Sept & Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th Sept, 12noon – 7pm.

A free to enter, independent food shopping experience brought to the Hub for the very first time. This new bountiful market will feature some of the region's best independent food and drink producers, makers and businesses.

What: The Manchester Beer Bar 

When: Thursday 16th - Sunday 19th & Thursday 23rd - Sunday 26th September, 12noon - 11pm. 

The biggest beer bar in town will serve a beautiful bounty of the best beers from around the region, celebrating our incredible and inventive craft beer scene. There’ll be tonnes of beers on site, locally brewed by the likes of Northern Monkey and Pomona Island Brewery (MFDF Award Nominees- Best Independent Drinks Producer), Burton Road Brewing, Bollington Brewery, Brightside, Blackedge, Thirst Class, Stubborn Mule, Bank Top and Silver Street.

What: Independent Street Food Village at The Festival Hub 

The Festival Hub will feature a whole village of the best independent food traders around. From the juiciest burgers to woodfired pizza, stunning pies to halloumi fries, artisan ice cream and chocolate galettes… it’s a street food feast. 

What: Just Eat Street Kitchen 

Headline sponsors of the Festival, Just Eat, will be creating their very own “Festival HQ” with a host of their restaurant partners. The Just Eat Street Kitchen will be a heavenly food enclave with everything from vegan bao buns to churros and chocolate. Expect swing seats to lounge on, giveaways and general good vibes as the Just Eat team will be on site with goodies including discount vouchers to spend on your next order. 

When: Thursday 16th - Sun 19th: 

  • Vertigo Plant Based Eatery with a special festival collection of plant based Bao Buns as well as a buffalo cauliflower wings and their amazing cinnamon “baonuts” and churros. 
  • Peck & Yard Pan Asian chicken shop are presenting dishes including their famous hot signature burger topped with Japanese Mayo, the Pow Pow Stack as well as chicken wings and vegan chicken options.

When: Thursday 23rd - Sun 26th:

  • Award winning, independent Spanish Restaurant  La Bandera are bringing their favourite dishes to the Festival including Squid Ink Croquettes, Sea and Land Paella, mini Spanish Burgers and Padron Peppers. 
  • JJ Vish and Chips -The vegan chip shop legends have curated the ultimate plant-based chippy experience for the final weekend of the Festival including battered ‘Sosage” “Tofish and Chips” and “Scam-Pi and Chips”, plus all the classic sides given a vegan twist - mushy peas, minty peas, vegan gravy, homemade tartar sauce and more.
  • The Eat Well Kitchen at the Hub will see an amazing street food offering from fantastic chefs and collaborators between 24th - 26th Sept. Chefs including Rice Over Everything, Mama Z and Blackbird Pantry will each take turns to host the kitchen with all profits funding chef-made meals for people side lined by poverty in Greater Manchester. 

City Life Stage Full Line Up

The CityLife stage will feature a curated line-up of Manchester’s best local bands and musicians to provide the perfect soundtrack to your Festival. Artists include hotly tipped The Lottery Winners, Manchester Legend Clint Boon and amazing, “anarchic extravaganza” that is Mr Wilson’s Second Liners. 

The Festival Fringe 

After a tough year, the city’s hospitality industry has come together to celebrate the Festival and created a fantastic programme of events to showcase their amazing venues - from wine popups with organic and natural wine specialists Le Social to Whisky Dinners at Tast, MFDF is a great time to discover and support some of the city’s most exciting restaurants, bars, cafés and chefs. Highlights from the Festival Fringe can be found HERE


Make sure you don’t miss these very special one-off Festival events… 
With events selling out fast, grabbing the last few tickets is advisable! 

What: MFDF x Eat Well Dinner 

When: 21st September

Where: Mana, Ancoats 

The most exciting culinary event of the year dinner will be held at Manchester's only Michelin Star restaurant Mana with an incredible line up of chefs each preparing a course:

  • Simon Martin from Mana
  • Ben Humphries from District
  • Mary-Ellen McTague from The Creameries 
  • Eddie Shepherd from the Walled Garden
  • Anna Søgaard from Ernst 

There are only 26 tickets available for this very special occasion and they are expected to sell out in minutes. Eat Well MCR will also be running a raffle throughout the festival featuring incredible prizes like VIP Homobloc Tickets, £150 to spend at Freight Island, Dinner for two at District, £100 to spend at Tampopo and more to be announced.

Tickets are £200 pp. Profits from ticket sales and proceeds from the raffle will go towards funding chef-made meals for people sidelined by poverty in Greater Manchester. 

What: The Bull and Bear takeover at the Hub 

When: Monday 20th September, 7pm 

Price: £55.00

Enjoy a very special take on the ultimate pub grub feast and a live music soundtrack to provide the perfect ‘pub at the hub’ atmosphere.


What: The MFDF Wine and Fizz Festival

When: Friday 17th - Saturday 18th September at Halle St Peters, M4 6BF 

Price: £12.50 plus booking fee

Grab your ticket to enjoy amazing wines brought to you by some of the region’s finest and most exciting independent wine retailers.

What: The City’s Biggest Ever Chippy Tea at the Festival Hub
It’ s free to enter and will be one big celebration of the region’s favourite meal courtesy of some of the best chippies in town. There’s no need to book - just walk up.


Don't forget to vote for your favourite food heroes in the MFDF Awards via the MFDF website or the MFDF app.