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Beloved of media-savvy creative types, the Northern Quarter takes Soho, crosses it with Camden and injects it with a shot of Northern spirit. It is a small area, comprising only Oldham Street, Thomas Street, Church Street, Newton Street, Stevenson Square and the roads running between them – but it still manages to be a place with great character and identity.
The Northern Quarter is all about creativity. There are a huge number of tiny creative companies and organisations working out of this cluster of streets. The Northern Quarter has seen festivals organised, magazines written, clubnights started, record labels formed and art collectives daubing their murals on the sides of the buildings.
As you might expect of such an anti-corporate area, the shops in the Northern Quarter tend to be independent too. Highlights include: Fat City or Piccadilly Records, both of which attract visiting DJs from around the country; Rags to Bitches, a vintage clothes shop that offers tarot and fairy cakes at the weekend; Afflecks Palace, a ramshackle flea-market full of vintage clothing, new designers and emo kids; and the Craft Village, where artists continue working as shoppers pass through their galleries.
The bar and restaurant scene in the area is among the best in the city. Most of the bars and restaurants are one-off labours of love so there is a real sense of character to them. The celebrated Bluu Bar attracts the biggest crowd at the weekend, whilst those in the know often lose an evening in the social-meets-art-workshop atmosphere at Common. The nightclubs tend to be good too, from Matt and Phreds Jazz Club, which has seen some of the best jazz musicians of the moment on its stage, to Mint Lounge, which has a roster of nationally acclaimed clubnights.
Property in the Northern Quarter tends to be either converted spaces above the various bars and shops, or purpose-built apartments in new developments. City living had really taken the area to heart and the rental market is always vibrant. With the trend for city living still on the up and the influx of media professionals expected in the area following the relocation of the BBC, properties bought here are likely to show great returns over the next few years.