Ply is the kind of place you can make into what you want, depending on when you choose to call in. By day, this pizza-specialising bar is often used as a workspace, with its large, desk-like tables perfect for professionals from the flourishing creative industries that call this area of Manchester home. Hence walking inside on a weekday to find an abundance of laptops in use, informal meetings in breakout areas resplendent with contemporary grey couches and armchairs, and an atmosphere ripe with new ideas, plans being hatched, and targets getting met. All fuelled by artisanal coffee, Neapolitan pizzas, and strong selection of antipasti.
Suffice to say, though, arrive after dark and things feel very different. A large, ever-changing range of craft beers, wines and spirits sourced from across the globe are available, with DJs regularly spinning head-nodding hip hop, downtempo electronica, and soulful house and disco to a crowd that’s typically clued up for a city that prides itself on musical education. Even the pizza oven, with its mirrorball exterior, helps build the party vibe, where an abundance of great eats get wood-fired for that authentic texture and flavour. Try the Piccante, with salciccia and N’duja sausage, or the Mortadella — made up of mozzarella, mortadella sausage, roast pistachios and tree nuts — for prime examples of why customers keep coming back. In keeping with the creative foundations, walls are filled with original artwork and changing exhibitions have, over the years, involved everything from pizza-themed short films to sketches. An outdoor dining area taking inspiration from the industrial feel of the place, The Loading Bay, opens in 2022, adding yet another selling point to this Northern Quarter staple.