Nights Out in Manchester

Kate Feld

They say a lot of things about Manchester, but one thing they don’t say is that it’s dead after dark. This is a city that has “up for it” written in its DNA, as the mind-boggling variety of the city’s nightspots attests. We don’t like to brag, but we’ve got it all: peaceful tiled pubs serving cool cask ales, check. Beard-stroking hipster hangouts, check. Giant clubs full of pissed-up students pogoing to Common People, check. Specialist wine bars, bouncer-patrolled footballer haunts, funky dives, indie music halls, real ale bars, jazz joints, karaoke nightbars… we could go on. For chrissakes, we even have a pub in a toilet. Here’s our guide to the city after the sun goes down. Get out there and have fun (and tell ‘em we sent ya).

Our top picks

Albert Hall

Albert Hall, 27 Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 5QR - Visit now

Manchester’s Albert Hall is a one-off kind of a place: a former Wesleyan chapel that spent years slumming it as a low-rent pub before closing. It’s now one of Manchester’s most atmospheric music venues, with cook haus and bohemian bier palace Albert’s Schloss on the ground floor, and a stunning upstairs space that hosts gigs, club nights and even bonkers bingo.

– Polly Checkland Harding

Albert Hall on Peter street Manchester
Image courtesy the Albert Hall.

Dog Bowl

Dog Bowl, Arch 57, Whitworth St West, Manchester, M1 5WW - Visit now

Situated beneath the railway tracks on Whitworth St West, Dog Bowl is a far cry from your average bowling alley. Open till late, this neon-lit venue marries suave cocktails with tenpin pleasure across five full length lanes. Food-wise, think Tex-Mex, with burgers, fajitas, wings and slow cooked meat. Alternatively, head to basement bar Twenty Twenty Two for a spot of ping pong.

– Lizzie Wood

Dog Bowl bowling alley and restaurant Manchester.
Dog Bowl.

Breakout Town Hall

Breakout Town Hall, 14a Brazennose Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 6LW - Visit now

Beads of sweat trickle down your forehead, you snap at fellow prisoners and your head is swimming with clues as the pressure mounts. Experience the thrill of the escape room challenge at the brilliant Break Out: you’ll have an hour to escape using only the combined brainpower of you and your companions. Your abilities will be tested by any one of their range of themed rooms, including Monroe’s Detective Office, Virus and Most Wanted.

– Polly Checkland Harding

Matt and Phred’s

Matt and Phred’s, 64 Tib Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LW - Visit now

Dedicated to jazz, Matt & Phreds is always a good bet for interesting and innovative independent music. Effortlessly cool – on a good night, the audience will push back the round, Parisian tables and dance to the band. The venue also has a great wine list and knows how to make a good pizza.

– Matthew Britton

matt and phreds sign manchester music

Castle Hotel

Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 1LE - Visit now

Merciful lighting, snug seating and a cozy atmosphere to get tiddly in – this is a pub that boasts a parlour-like back room, complete with upright piano. Short though the bar may be, it packs in an impressive array of taps. Wine comes by the glass as well as the bottle, and there’s a healthy selection of whisky arranged school-trophy-style along the top shelf. The Castle Hotel also puts on a roster of excellent live events. Well known for its pack-em-in music gigs, the pub is also making a name for itself via literary events such as Manchester’s spoken word heavyweight, Bad Language.

– Polly Checkland Harding

Castle Hotel pub in Manchester

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