Manchester has produced its fair share of generation-defining clubs over the years. There are the obvious names like Twisted Wheel and the Hacienda, but smaller venues such as the Star & Garter, Joshua Brooks and Retro Bar have proved incredibly influential over the years – producing a wealth of bands, producers and promoters that have redefined the shape of not only the city but far beyond.
Now? Out on that hazy Salford/Manchester border, you’ll find Hidden and White Hotel, which team post-industrial fixtures and fittings with some of the most vital events in the city right now. It’s no surprise that the team behind Homoelectric, one of the longest-lasting and flat-out best alternative clubnights, has taken up semi-permanent home at Hidden.
Stage & Radio is probably the most important venue in Manchester nightlife right now
But when it comes to the city centre, truly great independent clubbing venues are thin on the ground, particularly in Ancoats and the Northern Quarter, areas which are regularly touted as the heart of Manchester’s creative spirit. Instead, it’s row upon row of bars, some great, some less so great, but all largely focused on selling booze with a dancefloor as an afterthought, maybe a few square metres in the corner. So when we stumble across a venue doing something truly exciting in a clubbing sense, and living up to the true potential of the Northern Quarter, it’s worth shouting about.
All of which is a long-winded way of saying that Stage & Radio is probably the most important venue in Manchester nightlife right now. It’s tucked away at the end of Port Street, next to Port Street Tavern, far from the main Ibiza-style Stevenson Square strip, and attracts a cutting edge crowd of next year’s main players when it comes to DJing, promoting and all things clubland.
A dimly-lit experience, pared back to the essential elements
Spread across three floors, it’s a dimly-lit experience, pared back to the essential elements: an amazing soundsystem, strobes and a bar stocked with superb quality drinks. And, of course, featuring high-level DJing talent such as Holly Lester, Danuka (So Flute), Meat Free and a host more.
If you’re craving a raw, unfiltered clubbing experience, with an amazing soundtrack, not to mention a friendly, welcoming crowd, the Northern Quarter has finally come up with the goods.