The urban center of bohemian culture in Manchester, the Northern Quarter is a collection of well-preserved facades and a variety of entertainment options. Not as highly frequented by travelers as the city center, it would be a travesty to bypass an area so rich with alternative flair and consistent excitement.
There are some excellent coffee shops on Oldham and Market Streets, while we can attest to quality quick-eating options on High Street. Live music has a handful of valuable outlets in the area, particularly on Oldham or Tibb: Night & Day Cafe (rock), Matt & Phred's (jazz), and NQ Live (hole in the wall catch-all). There are also some really cool bars that are pretty much always full: Common Bar, Trof, and Port Street Beer House to name a few.
If you're a taking a gander during the day time, stop at one of the handful of record stores or enjoy the thrift shops in the neighborhood. For a true encapsulation of everything that the Northern Quarter stands for, put a few hours aside to enjoy Affleck's Palace on Church Street; it has the Victorian architecture and four floors of indie goods and vibes for your perusing pleasure.