Manchester’s picturesque Canal Street and its surroundings constitute what is reputedly the oldest gay village in the country. Recent years have seen the area become a favourite destination of big groups on weekend pub crawls, so weeknights are currently a much more laid-back time to visit.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when the once squalid area around Canal Street became a major tourist attraction – but there’s no doubt it has changed beyond recognition over the last 20 years. The days of hidden doorways leading to seedy bars where unspeakable things happened in the dark are long gone.
The canal-side tables of the Gay Village are always lively, with bars serving as cafes during the day and filling up after dark. There are also clubs, some great restaurants, and even hotels along the main strip, frequented by both the LGBT+ community and allies.
Here are a few spots we recommend in and around Canal Street, from stalwart clubs to fairly new additions in the Kampus neighbourhood, just across the water from the Gay Village.