Some might say the nightclubs in Manchester just ain’t what they used to be. And I’d agree. Long gone are the days of one-genre-fits-all. Manchester today offers such a variety of venues at which to feel young and alive, you’d be a fool not to check out the city’s solid-gold after hours scene.
There are plenty of places to get your groove on and if you’re in the mood for a bit of cheese, house or commercial dance then make your way down to Deansgate Locks or Canal Street, both of which offer an array of options for you to shake your tail feather ‘til the sky turns blue. And if it’s live music you’re after, see our gig guides for suggestions catered specifically to your taste.
But if you’re looking for a slightly less sleek slice of Mancunian atmosphere, shimmy over to one of the spots on this ‘ere guide. We’ve got the pick of the bunch from funk n soul through classic indie right down to yer proper rave-ups. So if you’re looking for somewhere to have a few drinks and dance the night away til the wee hours, you’ve come to the right place.
Here are our picks
Hidden, Downtex Mill, 16-18 Mary St, Manchester, M3 1NH - Visit now
Techno-aficionados at Hidden have had resounding success with sell-out club nights in Manchester. A reliably authentic raver haven that echoes the concept of Islington Mill, Antwerp Mansion, and the grassroots Manchester venues of the eighties and nineties, the previously neglected textile mill is rejuvenated with the healing vibrations of heavy bass. Every weekend in the wee hours happy partygoers spill out into the barren industrial surrounds, all danced out with smiles aplenty.
The White Hotel, Salford,
Dickinson Street, Manchester, M3 7LW - Visit now
This lo-fi former garage is in the shadows of Strangeways. Beers are served by a bar tender in a car pit. It comes from the guys behind the SWAYS record label and hosts regular gigs from up-and-coming and about to be established acts alike.
No doubt about it, it’s one of the grimiest places to spend a night out which, of course, adds to its charm.
The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 7HE - Visit now
Covering no less than three floors head in on the ground floor and pick up a drink before choosing between the sweaty upstairs dancefloor and the cosy basement. The cocktail list reads like an old-school sweet shop and there’s plenty of craft beers if you’ve more of a taste for grapefruit than bubblegum.
Band on the Wall, 25 Swan Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 5JZ - Visit now
It was the place with the funny name hanging on up there in the city’s Northern badlands. Edgy, hard, grotty, a bit studenty. Renowned as the stage where young and hungry Manchester bands like Joy Division and The Buzzcocks played early gigs, and where a whole generation of music lovers developed an appreciation for the jazz and world music they couldn’t see live anywhere else in town. And then, in 2005, it closed.
Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, Manchester, M1 1DF - Visit now
Though the bar has been around for a while, and during the day Soup Kitchen is a decent place to go to for a Northern Quarter, communal-style lunch, the recent redevelopment of Soup Kitchen’s basement space has monopolised the city’s truly great music and club gigs of late. As a room, it’s a little bit dingy, but it more than comes to life when there are 150 people stuffed inside, all clamouring for a view of the latest hype band – though venue owners please note: the grim, unisex toilets go a fair way in dulling any musical enjoyment.
Antwerp Mansion, Rusholme Grove, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M14 5AG - Visit now
Pillar of Manchester’s grassroots music scene, Antwerp Mansion, officially lives to dance another day!
The Victorian mansion has seen many happy partygoers dance the night away and trip home all smiles.
Albert’s Schloss, 27 Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 5QR - Visit now
A self-confessed ‘bohemian pleasure palace’ taking over the ground floor of established music venue the Albert Hall. The ornate building is a former Wesleyan Chapel built over a century ago. A mixture of tiled floors, long wooden benches, and roaring fires, the downstairs of this Grade II listed venue has been split into two areas – one part dining area, one part Bavarian bier hall. Sitting between the two is a huge illuminated bar topped by four 900 pint copper barrels and serving heritage brews (there are over ten to choose from) in typically Bavarian steins, along with your usual mix of cocktails, wines and spirits. There’s even a ‘push for Prosecco’ button on every table.
G-A-Y, 63 Richmond Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 3WB
Smack bang in the centre of Manchester’s Canal Street, colourful club on the corner, G-A-Y, is popular with a youngish crowd looking for pop tunes, cheap drinks and a lively atmosphere. And there’s a rooftop terrace for the smokers.
Fifth, 121 Princess St, Manchester , Greater Manchester, M1 7AG
Long-standing Manchester venue appealing to a younger crowd, Fifth holds regular club nights.