Northern cities food and drink scene thriving

Picture of map and list of northern cities

Food and drink scene in Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds city centres on the up

A survey of restaurant and bar opening and closures rate in The Core Cities Group, plus London and Edinburgh, shows Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds increased by an average of over 19%. London’s rate of restaurant and bar closures over the last year –  14% – is the second highest in the entire study.

The data from CGA found major Northern cities centred around the M62 motorway have, for the past five years, continued to outpace London, Edinburgh and their fellow core cities in expanding their  food and drink scenes.

The Core Cities Group covers Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester,  Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield .

Manchester headed the list with a 22.3% net increase in the number of city centre food and drink venues between 2013 and 2018. Liverpool was a close contender at 18.1% and Leeds saw growth of 17.0%. The next highest city was Bristol, 12.7%. London however trailed in eighth out of the twelve cities included in the study, on 6.8%.

Percentage Increase in Total City Centre Licensed Sites, 2013-2018

Manchester                                        22.3%

Liverpool                                             18.1%

Leeds                                                    17.0%

Bristol                                                   12.7%

Birmingham                                         10.5%

Edinburgh                                            9.9%

Glasgow                                               8.1%

London                                                 6.8%

Cardiff                                                  5.3%

Nottingham                                       4.7%

Newcastle                                          3.8%

Sheffield                                             -4.0%


 “It’s no surprise to see Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds take the ‘medal positions’ with an extraordinary rate of growth; the ‘M62 corridor’ is developing its own centre of gravity, pulling in new residents, businesses and tourists drawn to its unrivalled combination of culture, lifestyle and opportunity,” said Thom Hetherington, CEO of Northern Restaurant Bar Show (NRB).

Additional data from CGA showed that the core cities outside London were also largely more resilient when it came to restaurants and bars trading successfully over the last twelve months. Sheffield city centre has seen only 9% of its total restaurants and bars close in the last year, whereas the figure was 11% in Manchester, 12% in Liverpool and Newcastle, and 14% in London, the joint second highest closure rate in the study group.

City Centre Licensed Site Closures, as Percentage of Total Licensed Sites, 2017-2018


Leeds                                                                                                    15%

Cardiff/London                                                                                 14%

Birmingham/Liverpool  /Newcastle/Nottingham                       12%

Manchester                                                                                        11%

Bristol/Glasgow/Sheffield                                                                9%

Edinburgh                                                                                            8%


Northern Restaurant & Bar is the North’s hospitality exhibition and provides an opportunity for operators, suppliers and industry figures to meet, speak and do business. From Liverpool to Leeds, the North east to North West and the Lake District to the Peak District, NRB19 brings the cream of the hospitality industry to Manchester Central on 19-20 March. 



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