Room with a view: Live music at the Deaf Institute

Matthew Britton
Deaf Institute Music Hall

Once derelict, Manchester’s Deaf Institute is now arguably the best small live music venue in the city

Not so long ago, the Grade II-listed Deaf and Dumb Institute was an abandoned shell, loved only by pigeons and history buffs. All that changed when the folk behind the Trof chain of bars got their hands on the place. They swiftly turned neo-Gothic decay into decadent wonder thanks to a winning combination of food, booze and live music.

In the blink of a fashionable eye, the Deaf Institute went from crumbling building-on-the-block to one of Manchester’s best-loved live music venues. Now, while perhaps not the live music force it may have been a couple of years back (when promoters Now Wave seemed desperate to put on a groundbreaking act there every other night), the Deaf Institute has gone from a bright young upstart to one of the most stable venues in the city.

Once a bright, young upstart; now a stable music venue

Though most nights are taken up by student-centric club nights (aimed more at the art-school crowd than anything else, mercifully), the enchanting surrounds of the upstairs music hall, complete with giant glitterball, means that the Deaf Institute is still possibly the best small (ish) venue in the city. Of course, the move away from constantly putting on live shows is likely based on economics – club night-goers spend more and turn up in numbers far more plentiful than, say, the fans of a Fleet Foxes side-project – but few other spaces have the capacity to make show as special as here.

Culture Guides

Classical Music

We preview the standout classical music events and venues in Manchester and the north.

Food and Drink

Plan your May Bank Holidays with the best restaurants and bars in Manchester and the North.


We look at the ingenious, atmospheric outdoor screenings popping up across the North this summer.


The spring season in museums and galleries continues, with an abundance of new exhibitions all over the North.

Winnie the Pooh at Manchester Opera House


The sun has finally got his hat on! Enjoy our top picks of family-friendly events and activities, both indoors and outdoors.

Anita Sethi


Festival fever has live literature land gripped, and libraries get their very own celebration in Greater Manchester, so you have your pick of performances from a star-studded cast this month…


Some excellent bands descend on Manchester this month, with the old and new guard of post punk in particularly strong supply.

Theatre in Manchester


Check out our updated guide for lively theatre festivals, rip-roaring rooftop circus and dreamy outdoor shows.

Tours and Activities

New in our Tours and Activities section – drink and draw sessions, political reading groups and tours of some of Manchester’s most unique museums.