Describing himself as an “enthusiastic and hardworking chap with a positive outlook on life,” Matthew Spade is a full time content creator and freelance writer working within the men’s lifestyle, travel and design industry.
He launched his personal lifestyle blog, Buckets and Spade in 2008, where he documents his take on practical and utilitarian style, penchant for classic Americana, and photo-heavy travel guides to the cosmopolitan cities he frequents.
Home is a 1930s semi in Blackpool, which he has been slowly renovating over the past three years with wife Hollie, filling it with mid century modern shapes and splashes of playful colour. A local aficionado when it comes to all things design and caffeine related in the North West, I asked him to share his top tips for shopping and coffee-drinking in Blackpool, Manchester and Liverpool, as well as which IPAs you should be stocking up on for at home…
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Favourite photographer? Jake Millers – I’ve got a massive amount of respect for Jake, a photographer and my mate from Manchester. He’s achieved so much at such a young age, taking his own route and perfecting his art. The man is great, and we’ve had some amazing times working together.
Most visited arts venue? Probably Tate Liverpool I’d say. The touring exhibitions they have on are some of the best I’ve been to; always very in-depth and well put together. The last one that springs to mind is the Keith Haring exhibition we attended in summer 2019. I look forward to getting back in there!
We don’t really have much of a speciality coffee thing going on in Blackpool but Upsidedown are setting a high bar.
Most inspiring piece of architecture? I’d probably the “Three Graces” in Liverpool – Royal Liver Building, The Cunard Building and the Port of Liverpool Building at Liverpool’s Pier Head. A truly iconic trio of the North.
Favourite shop? That’s tough. I love Deadstock General Store in Manchester. I’d say they stock all things that are cool, chosen by the lovely owner Liam. From Japanese socks, UK-made hats and small homeware goods to niche stationery brands, creative magazines and the odd unexpected item like the iconic plastic cat clocks from the 50s. Pure gold! I also love Outsiders Store in Liverpool. They have a proper good selection of menswear and accessories brands, with a practical and outdoorsy persuasion. What I like about these guys is they’ll buy in the styles that aren’t seen in every menswear store – considering colour, fabric and smaller brands, which creates a more unique experience. Last but not least, I love La Biblioteka in Sheffield – all things magazines. And when I say all things I mean, whoa, loads! Located inside Kommune food hall in the centre of Sheffield, this is the place to get to for art, design, travel, fashion and photography books and mags.
Local coffee spot? I’m going to say one in my hometown, called Upsidedown. We don’t really have much of a speciality coffee thing going on in Blackpool but these guys are setting a high bar. Doing things their own way; with a unique soft pink interior mix with pale wood furniture and a green tiled bar, offering beans from around the UK, in-house baked goods and an alt-pop culture inspired food menu. They’re currently closed due to Covid, but should be back for July! Outside of my town I’d love to mention Mother Espresso in Liverpool, Atkinsons in Lancaster, Idle Hands in Manchester and Laynes in Leeds.
Signature drinks order? Generally a nice strong juicy, hazy New England IPA. We don’t get to many bars, so beers at home are defo our thing. To keep things Northern I’d choose something by either Vocation (Hebden Bridge), Northern Monk (Leeds) or Thornbridge (Bakewell).
Lazy weekend brunch venue? My pick would have to go to Federal Cafe in Manchester. Personally I think those guys are on another level when it comes to breakfast and lunch, so it’s spot on for a brunch choice. Some kinda egg dish, a fresh smoothie and one of their Pastel de Natas yes please.
Best hotel? I can’t say I’ve stayed at too many that stand out if I’m honest, but the ones that spring to mind are both in Manchester, and coincidentally, around the corner from each other: Whitworth Locke and Principal Hotel (editor’s note: recently rebranded as Kimpton Clocktower). Whitworth is probably the best value for money hotel I’ve ever stayed at, in terms of design, comfort, service and location. And the Principal I’d hold in a similar way, but offers something slightly more traditional and fancy.
Next trip? There are so many places I haven’t even been near to! I’d love to see more of the East coast; Bridlington, Whitby, Scarborough. I’d also like to get up to exploring The Lakes too, not something I’ve done since I was a kid. Also, Newcastle. I’ve been a couple of times but feel I need more time there.
All imagery © Matthew Spade, used with permission.