Canal Street, Manchester

Creative Tourist

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.

Our top picks

G-A-Y

G-A-Y, 63 Richmond Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 3WB

One of the aforementioned stalwart clubs, the colourful G-A-Y is popular with a youngish crowd looking for pop tunes, cheap drinks and a lively atmosphere.

Image courtesy of Visit Manchester.

Sackville Gardens

Sackville Gardens, Sackville Street, Manchester, M1 3HB - Visit now

The lovely green space of Sackville Gardens is home to the Alan Turing Memorial. Known as the ‘father of modern computing’, Turing symbolises modern Manchester’s place as a city of science and home to a vibrant LGBT community (Turing himself was gay).

Sackville Park
User Lmno on en.wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Bar Pop

Bar Pop, 10 Canal Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 3EZ

Bar Pop hosts a wild array of playful entertainment, including karaoke, cabaret and much-loved drag nights. The atmosphere is friendly and fun-loving, and depending which night you pick, drinks can be super cheap.

 

 

Richmond Tea Rooms

Richmond Tea Rooms, Richmond Street, Manchester, Manchester, M1 3HZ - Visit now

The Richmond offers homemade breakfasts, lunches, coffees and stronger stuff for cocktail hour. In terms of their famous afternoon tea there are four tea options, with menus designed to serve the minimalist as well as the maximalist.

Image courtesy of Richmond Tea Rooms

Peru Perdu

Peru Perdu, The Cotton Factory, 74 Princess St, Manchester, M1 6JD, Manchester, M1 6JD - Visit now

A stone’s throw from the Gay Village, this Peruvian-inspired restaurant is one of our favourites in the area.

Peru Perdu

Great North Pie Co Kampus

Great North Pie Co Kampus, Kampus, Aytoun St, Manchester , M1 3GL - Visit now

Great North Pie Co, the home of high-quality, award-winning pies, has officially opened its kitchen & bar at Kampus, marking its first Manchester city centre-based venue.

Great North Pie Co Kampus

Velvet Hotel

Velvet Hotel, 2 Canal St, Manchester, M1 3HE - Visit now

If you’re looking for somewhere to crash near in the Gay Village, you could do a lot worse than the Velvet Hotel, an independent 4* boutique hotel with a bar and restaurant, situated right on Canal Street.

Velvet Hotel
Image courtesy of Velvet Hotel

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