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Nightlife in Manchester

Manchester’s nightlife is one of the most exciting and the most diverse. You might be sipping cocktails in a rooftop bar one minute and eating Tex Mex ad playing bowls the next. The city is filled with exciting places to drink, dance and dine but there are specific districts that really come alive at night.

Vibrant and exciting bars

Spinningfields is one of the most vibrant with its mix of restaurants, and late night haunts. The Ivy which recently opened here is now a major haunt of celebrities and an uber glam crowd, while the Oast House pub is the place to kick things off in the evening. You may even catch a band playing to the crowds drinking outside.

The Refinery, and the rooftop bar at 20 Stories restaurant are also popular places to enjoy drinks while listening to some beats and across the Irwell you’ll find Menagerie, another swish bar-restaurant that is as much about the experience as it is about the food.

Castlefield is the place to head for an alfresco drink. Join the crowds outside Dukes 92 or down cask ales at The Wharf, then as the night progresses head to Deansgate Locks and Lola Lo and Ark. Cruise along Deansgate and you can soak up the revelry at Dirty Martini, go clubbing all night at Chinawhite, play snooker at the Roxy Ball Room and play darts at the Flight Club. Down a cocktail at Grand Pacific on King Street, or at Panacea on John Dalton Street, or join the crowds at bar/club Vanitas at the former Freemasons Hall on Bridge Street.

Make a beeline for Funkademia, Manchester’s longest-running club night at the Mint Lounge in the edgy Northern Quarter to get a taste of Manchester cool. The Northern Quarter and Ancoats areas of the city are where to meet a cool indie crowd at bars such as Dive NQ, Hold Fast and The Pen and Pencil bar. With NoHo, Ply and Guilty by Association. Sail away on one of The Liquorist’s cruises, or hit Apotheca and soak up its stylish Gothic pharmacy interior. Feeling snackish? Make your way through the underground tunnel to Dough Pizza Kitchen, or head over to the speakeasy-style bar at Black Dog Ballroom where you can lounge until 4am.

Castlefield is the place to head for an alfresco drink. Join the crowds outside Dukes 92 or down cask ales at The Wharf, then as the night progresses head to Deansgate Locks and Lola Lo and Ark

Craft beers and cocktails

Join the A-list at Bar 21, a movie and music-themed venue, or knock back shots at Walrus, or join the in-crowd at Dive or The Liar’s Lounge at Cane & Grain. Hit the Washhouse or Stage and Radio, or head for The Font on New Wakefield Street and drink craft beers and cocktails whilst the DJ spins your favourite sounds.

If variety is what you’re seeking, move on to The Printworks where you can challenge your friends to an escape room experience at Escape Reality, play two indoor mini golf courses at Treetop Adventure Golf, carouse to the sounds of a live oompah band at the Bierkeller, or enjoy live music at the Hard Rock Cafe.

Catch a gig or just enjoy a drink at Matt and Phreds Jazz Club, Northern Quarter

Catch a gig or just enjoy a drink at Matt and Phreds Jazz Club, Northern Quarter

Manchester has its share of quirky venues. Such as All Star Lanes at the Great Northern and The Dog Bowl, on Whitworth Street West which mixes cocktails, food and bowling, The Gas Lamp is an atmospheric subterranean bar on Bridge Street serving real ale, the Temple, another underground bar on Oxford Street, is based in a former gent’s urinal, while the Liar’s Club just off Bridge Street is a Tiki dive bar and Caribbean rum shop that is packed every night of the week. It is a popular haunt with bartenders from across Manchester, who flock here after work to spend their hard-earned tips on the largest rum collection in town and without doubt some of the best tropical cocktails around.

For more high-end glam (literally) Cloud 23 in the Hilton hotel on Deansgate is the place to indulge elegantly while gazing at one of the most spectacular panoramic views the city has to offer.

Hit the Washhouse or Stage and Radio, or head for The Font on New Wakefield Street and drink craft beers and cocktails whilst the DJ spins your favourite sounds

Clubs and pubs

The heyday of the Haçienda may have gone but the clubbing spirit lives on in the home of the legendary 5th Avenue, famed for its foam parties, Albert Hall on Deansgate, Gorilla and Hidden near Strangeways, as well as club nights like The Warehouse Project.

Enjoy nights out at Yes on Charles Street and 42s Bootle Street and enjoy the weird, wild and wonderful entertainment at Albert’s Schloss on Peter Street. The Deaf Institute has live music and themed nights, there’s the underground night club South on South King Street and Keep it Unreal at the Band on the Wall, when Manchester DJ and producer Mr Scruff performs a five hour set of funk, soul and house.

Pubs are very much a part of northern culture and hostelries such as Mr Thomas’s Chop House on Cross Street is the epitome of the Manchester watering hole. This Victorian bar has been preserved in all its ornate glory, with a fine ale and wine list.

Another famed city centre pub is Briton’s Protection on Great Bridgewater Street, which attracts everyone from real ale aficionados to concert-goers and musicians from the Bridgewater Hall next door.

The Peveril of the Peak is another traditional northern pub that finds a place in the affections of everyone from students to pop stars. And there’s the Albert Square Chop House close to the Manchester Town Hall that is a hit with the Friday night after work crowd.

If you want to party all night, the city’s gay quarter around Canal Street is another location to find a fantastic selection of bars and venues. On summer evenings and at weekends the canalside is for people watching and it’s a location for enjoying anything from a quiet cocktail to a burlesque drag act.

Another famed city centre pub is Briton’s Protection on Great Bridgewater Street, which attracts everyone from real ale aficionados to concert-goers and musicians from the Bridgewater Hall next door

Out-of-town jaunts

For those who fancy exploring further afield, there’s the Dockyard in MediaCityUK, a short tram ride away from the city centre. Chorlton-cum-Hardy is worth exploring, too, with its laid-back bars and funky restaurants including Cask and Kiln, Proof, Mary & Archie and Electrik as well as the bars and restaurants of the buzzing metropolitan Beech Road area.

Didsbury is another popular out of town destination. West Didsbury’s Volta, and the Metropolitan are cool hang-outs where you can take your devil-may-care attitude for a spin.

Sit back, relax with a cocktail and enjoy a slower pace of life in Chorlton or Didsbury

Sit back, relax with a cocktail and enjoy a slower pace of life in Chorlton or Didsbury

Grab a little bit of The Real Housewives of Cheshire action, in the bars and restaurants of Alderley Edge and Hale. Hit Piccolino, Parea and Victors in Alderley Edge and drink superb cocktails alfresco, or head to Hale and the Cinnamon Club or Arvina, where they’ll do your hair and make-up before you get ready for a night of fun. Well you have to look your best. You never know who you might bump into!


Everything you need to know about Manchester

Where to eat in Manchester

The best things to do in Manchester

The best shopping in Manchester

Your guide to arts and culture in Manchester

Image credits: ©Chris Hanley Photography/Cloud 23 at the Hilton; Irina Schmidt/Adobe Stock; Nikita Tikhomirov/Unsplash; The Warehouse Project; VisitBritain/Ben Selway/Simon Winnall

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