If you’re flying into the north of England or visiting the region by any other means then you’ll want to pay a visit to Escape To Freight Island, Manchester. This converted freight depot has so much going on within it that you would be hard-pressed to see it all in one visit.
You may need to return on several occasions to fully appreciate all it has to offer, especially since, as well as the many bars and restaurants, there is an ever-changing number of artists and performers eager to entertain diners and drinkers in this 2,000-capacity venue.
Not far from Manchester city centre and built inside the disused space of a former railway station depot, Escape To Freight (or simply Freight Island as it’s known) features live music, food stalls, and great food to eat at the many restaurants. If you’re in the mood for chowing down on tacos before watching a live band then Freight Island may be just the place you’re looking for.
Escape To Freight Island Restaurants
- Burgerism – Previously online and delivery only, now at ETFI
- Lucky Foot Chicken – Deep fried and charcoal-grilled chicken
- Carnival – Fire cooked ribs, steaks, and chops
- Gooey Co. – Hot cookies and ice cream
- Batard – American style desserts and cakes
- One Star Döner Bar – Kebabs of the highest quality
- Baratxuri – Basque food cooked over open flames
- Madre – Mexican place serving non-traditional tacos
- Mi & Pho – Authentic Vietnamese dishes
- Patty Queen – LA inspired burgers and fries
- Voodoo Ray’s – Pizza place that started in London in 2012. Voodoo Ray’s Peckham is in Rye Lane.
- Belzan – Classic Italian food
- Choo Choo – Creating mash-ups of traditional desserts
- Soft Boi – Specialising in ice cream
Escape To Freight Island Bars
- Koppaberg Bar – Fruit ciders and hard seltzers
- Forever Changes – Speciality wines and small plates
- Pomona Island Brewery – Microbrewery and hand-picked ales
- Jayne Eyre Cocktail Bar – Exclusive cocktails, beers, and fine wines
- Freight Island Bar – Classic and experimental cocktails
- Camden Town Brewery – Beer from under the arches, London since 2010
Escape To Freight Island Entertainment
You can expect a wide and eclectic mix of acts, styles, and origins. The Comedy Store Manchester makes fairly frequent appearances, there are cabaret nights, orchestral gigs in which you can hear the string versions of hits by such legends as Prince and Abba, all kinds of DJ and music nights featuring hits from the 70s to the present day, dance, jazz, and a whole lot more in a calendar that changes every month.
The Platform inside Escape to Freight Island has a stage and its own bar. It’s a venue that is suitable for all kinds of functions, not just live music or comedy.
Manchester’s Urban Rejuvenation Continues
Escape To Freight Island is in Depot Mayfield, one of Manchester’s many rejuvenation projects. I lived in this city for a short while about 30 years ago and it was then at the stage when the first of these projects were being launched. Former mills were refurbished and converted into office spaces, abandoned quaysides were restored and new bars and restaurants opened.
Three decades later the rebuilding continues – a sign of optimism and investment in what is arguably the capital of the North West of England.
A Venue For The Manchester Jazz Festival
Escape To Freight Island was the venue for the Manchester Jazz Festival in June 2021 and acts will once again be performing there in May 2022.
The Manchester Jazz Festival is a yearly event that takes place in the city of Manchester, England. The festival was established in 1996 and has since become one of the most important jazz events in Europe. Every year, the festival attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world, who come to enjoy the wide range of jazz music on offer.
The festival takes place over ten days, with concerts and events happening throughout the city. The lineup is always diverse, featuring both established and up-and-coming artists from across the jazz spectrum. In recent years, the festival has also begun to showcase other genres of music, such as blues and funk. This has helped to broaden its appeal and attract even more visitors to Manchester.
Mayfield Station’s Steam Engine Days
Steam trains used to stop at Mayfield Station on their way to Wilmslow and London. It was designed to be a relief station for the overcrowded Piccadilly Station and opened in 1910. It closed to passenger traffic in 1960. Freight continued to roll through until it was permanently closed in 1986.
Escape To Freight Island Manchester – Details & Opening Times
ETFI is open five days a week from lunchtime to late evening with extended hours on Friday and Saturday, but shorter evening hours on Sundays. The staff’s weekend is Monday and Tuesday.
- Mondays: Closed
- Tuesdays: Closed
- Wednesdays: 4pm – 11pm
- Thursdays: 4pm – 11pm
- Fridays: 12pm – 1am
- Saturdays: 12pm – 1am
- Sundays: 12pm – 8pm
Getting To Escape To Freight Island Manchester
- By car, set your satnav to M1 2PY. There are car parks in Baring Street and nearby Buxton Street. They cost about £3 for 12 hours.
- If you’re traveling by train, alight at Manchester Piccadilly Station and it’s a two-minute walk to 11, Baring Street.
- Pets and children are welcome!
- To find out more and to make a booking, visit escapetofreightisland.com.
- Check out the same website for any Escape to Freight Island jobs that may need filling.
Escape To Freight Island Reviews
Reviews of this venue have been mixed, with some giving it the full five stars on Trip Advisor while others have complained about high prices and lukewarm food. There are reports of great atmosphere and good music but also queues at the bars for expensive drinks.
As it’s a collection of bars and restaurants it’s not accurate to give one review of the entire venue, and given its relatively short life so far, there will be those inevitable teething problems. Add to this the fact that it’s just emerged from the effects of the pandemic restrictions it’s worth giving the place a chance to sort itself out in 2022 and beyond.
If you’re planning on going for any Sunday roasts make you’ve got the table booked. Try the roast lamb – and don’t forget the mint sauce! Visitors who have reviewed Freight Island talk of having an amazing time eating, drinking, and enjoying the live music Voodoo Ray’s sets.
Manchester’s Industrial Heritage
The industrial heritage of Manchester, England is vast and varied. From the early days of the Industrial Revolution to the present day, Manchester has been at the forefront of global industry, innovating and leading the way in many different sectors.
Today, Manchester is home to a number of world-famous museums and galleries that celebrate and showcase its industrial history, including the Museum of Science and Industry, the Lowry Centre and the Bassoon Industrial Heritage Centre. With its proud industrial past and bright future, Manchester is truly a city with something for everyone.
Manchester Airport is one of the busiest airports in the United Kingdom, handling over 23 million passengers each year. Located just 10 miles from the city center, the airport is well-connected to Manchester’s extensive public transport network. The airport has three terminals, which are served by a wide range of airlines.
In addition to scheduled passenger services, the airport also handles a significant amount of cargo traffic. Manchester Airport is a major economic driver for the region, and it is also home to a number of businesses and conference facilities. The airport’s central location and excellent transport links make it an attractive choice for both business and leisure travelers.