Words: Joseph Ryan-Hicks; Images: Supplied
I’ll always have a soft spot for Manchester.
After binge-watching Queer as Folk as a closeted teen I said to myself, ‘I want me some of that’, and sure enough, the following weekend was dancing the night away down Canal Street in my first-ever gay club.
That feeling of adrenaline and excitement continues to permeate my memories of Manchester to this day, and my two-night stay at the Native over Manchester Pride weekend had a lot to live up to. It’s safe to say I wasn’t disappointed.
Walking in, suitcase in tow, my bestie and I were greeted by a bubbly young receptionist in a hot pink wig. ‘Welcome!’, she said, ‘Are you here for the drag brunch?’. It was at that moment that I knew I had found my new home for the weekend.
The Native is a bit of a 2-in-1. No, it’s more of a 6, 7, or 8-in-1. The Grade II listed warehouse on Ducie Street offers 162 luxury apartments, while also boasting a restaurant and bar, all-day deli, takeaway shop, outdoor terrace, fitness suite, and even a cinema.
The Sink the Pink DJ drag brunch was just one of several fantastic non-ticketed events that the hotel was hosting for guests and members of the public to mark Pride. You don’t have to be a guest at the hotel to live that premium Native experience: even if you just fancy a cocktail or two, Ducie Street Warehouse (the food and drink area of the Native) holds its own against any swanky venue in the Northern Quarter.
After dropping off our bags at the reception, we were immediately whisked off to the Sink the Pink DJ drag brunch at Ducie Street Warehouse to kick off our Pride weekend. There, the ever-wonderful Grace Shush serenaded us as we knocked back the Peach Bellinis and tucked into our avocado toast. Gawjus.
There was no rest for the wicked after brunch as the next Pride event was already underway. The brilliantly titled ‘House of 1,000 Moiras’ was a love letter to Schitt’s Creek icon (and star of ‘The Crows Have Eyes’…) Moira Rose, as played by Catherine O’Hara. Attendees were invited to don their favourite Moira looks, wigs included, and live their best Schitt’s Creek fantasy, bébé.
Several cocktails later, after basking in the not-often-seen Manchester sun, we checked into our room for a quick outfit change as we headed out into the night. Before hitting the village, we managed to catch part of one of the DJ sets taking place on the terrace that evening. Every Thursday to Sunday, Ducie Street Warehouse showcases the best emerging DJ talent - so be sure to check that out.
The lush, industrial-style apartment with its exposed brick walls and hanging beams was surprisingly cosy. And by ‘cosy’ I don’t mean small, by any means. The chic, ultra-modern furnishings managed to be comfortable as well as stylish and filled the space beautifully. It didn’t have the cold, steely atmosphere that most modern apartments can possess. The suite was minimal but inviting, a vibe that extends throughout the hotel.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in Manchester that is a short walk from Piccadilly station and a stone's throw from Canal Street, you can’t find much better than the Native. At £100 a night for a small studio room, Native is a premium experience that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re partying with pals for Pride, or in the mood for a bit of me-time, the Native will make you feel welcome, and your needs accommodated. What more could you need?
To book, head to nativeplaces.com.