Home to the 24-hour party people, the birthplace of the Madchester scene and once the home of the legendary Hacienda - Manchester’s nightlife is unparalleled. The people of Manchester are always up for a good night out any night of the week. And with a huge student population, you can really believe us when we say any night of the week.
In the city centre alone, there are over 650 bars to enjoy. From boujee clubs to sweaty warehouses, Manchester’s nightlife has something for everyone.
But since there are so many mindblowing clubs and bars, it can be tricky to know where to start. So we put together this guide to Manchester’s best nightlife areas and our favourite bars and clubs.
If you’re planning a night out in Manchester, check out our guide below to ensure you end up at the right place for you.
Depending on what you're looking for, choosing the right area to go out in can be crucial. There are fancier areas where you'll find rooftop bars, areas popular with students, and more mainstream areas with standard clubs. Here are the best Manchester nightlife areas to consider exploring on your next night out.
Adorned with street art and with independent record shops lining the streets, the Northern Quarter is probably the coolest area of Manchester. And definitely the coolest of Manchester’s nightlife areas. It’s popular with students and young professionals thanks to its many atypical bars like bar/pizza parlour Crazy Pedros, retro gaming bar NQ64, Twenty Twenty Two with its ping pong tables, Cottonopolis, and Dusk Til Pawn.
Ancoats isn’t the liveliest area of Manchester, but if you want something a bit different and want to talk over your drink, it’s a great little area to check out. There aren’t any clubs in Ancoats, but you’ll find lots of places to enjoy a cocktail like 70s-themed Sammy’s, relaxing waterside bars like Cask, and Erst is where you go for a gorgeous glass of wine and maybe a little nibble.
Manchester’s Gay Village is always packed with people ready to party until the sun comes up. There are plenty of clubs blasting Britney to a dancefloor full of partiers fueled by cheap-as-chips drinks. But it’s not all about dancefloors and banging tunes, there are quieter venues to sip a few bevs in, like The Goose and Via. Don’t be surprised if you see drag queens in nine-inch heels strutting their stuff around Gay Village!
Oxford Road is a big road (suprise!) lined with bars and brilliant live music venues. The vibe is generally pretty laid back, so there’s no need to dress up to the ninths for a good night out here. Deaf Institute, known for its wide variety of club nights, is just off Oxford Road. There’s also Black Dog Ballroom, bar and gig venue Gorilla, BrewDog and more.
Much of Spinningfields is a bit posher than Manchester’s other nightlife areas, so if you want to dress up and have a classy night out, Spinningfields is the one. 20 Stories and The Ivy are perfect examples. Both are stunning venues with gorgeous interiors and rooftop views. The Alchemist is another fancy Spinningfields bar with innovative cocktails like you’ve never seen before, and Oast House is the go-to for a pint in the sun.
If a messy one with loud tunes is what you’re after, walk over the Rochdale Canal to Deansgate Locks, and you’ll be greeted with six nightclubs. There’s Coyote Ugly, Popworld, BeeHouse, Lock91, El Diablo, rock venue Rebellion (just across the road) and more. They all have a completely different vibe, music, and type of crowd, so you’ll have to get there and see what’s up!
Deansgate is an incredibly lively road on a Saturday night. It’s another one of those areas where there’s a bit of everything so it’s best to head down and explore it yourself. There are countless venues within walking distance, so if you go in, say, Albert’s Schloss and aren’t really feeling it, you can step out, walk ten paces, and head into NQ64. Indie music fans: take note. Just off Deansgate is where you’ll find The Venue and 42s, bringing indie tunes and super cheap drinks.
Okay, it’s not technically Manchester, but it’s only a short tram journey away, so we’re including it. A popular area for students, there are a fair few bars, nightclubs, and other night-time venues in Salford. Adelphi Lads Club is a brilliant summertime venue thanks to its beer garden, Hidden (on Salford's outskirts) might be the best nightclub in the area, and there are loads of other pubs and bars to explore.
Best bars - Skiddle selects
To be frank, Manchester’s nightlife is so amazing, and there are so many fantastic venues that choosing the best bars wasn’t easy. At all. But we managed to narrow it down to some of our favourites. Just remember there are dozens more bars in Manchester that deserve as much appreciation as the ones below.
NQ64 has a space in the Northern Quater and just off Deansgate. Full of retro arcade games and games-themed cocktails, NQ64 is always a fun night. Getting drunk and smashing your mates on Guitar Hero will never not be a laugh. And if you’re skint, there are free console games too.
Albert's Schloss shuts at 2 AM every day, and there’s something on every night, such as live music and cabaret. They’ve also got an extensive drinks menu, including cocktails, lots of beer, wine, and bubbly. It’s always buzzing, and the decor is beautiful.
New Union Hotel
On Canal Street in Manchester’s Gay Village, you’ll find New Union Hotel. It was the first openly gay venue in Manchester and was established c1860. There’s a busy dancefloor later in the night, but if you want to pause for a chat, there’s a quieter area with sofas. With all this, cheap drinks, and a friendly atmosphere, it’s easily one of Manchester’s best nightlife venues.
Popular with students, YES has a lovely outdoor terrace, a super casual vibe, and pizza by the slice if you get a bit peckish. There’s also The Pink Room and the Basement, where you can catch live music and DJs playing a variety of genres to a tiny crowd.
BJ’s is a dive bar with a casual vibe and lots of American influence. Expect American beers, a house band every Sunday, the RocknSoulers band every payday, lots of whiskies, cocktails, and the 25p chicken wing. If you’re feeling bold after a bit of liquid courage, try the Hot Wing challenge and get a t-shirt whether you fail miserably or emerge as a champion.
If you’re looking to unleash your boujee self, 20 Stories is the place to go. As a rooftop bar with 360 views in the classy area of Spinningfields, it’s a lovely treat on a sunny afternoon or a great way to kick off your weekend. So head up and sip on an unreal cocktail as the sun sets.
At the opposite end of the scale to 20 Stories, Temple is an underground bar that used to be public toilets. It's an unusual, cosy bar with a lively atmosphere, regional beers, and great tunes played from a jukebox full of Manchester bands. It’s one of the city’s smallest bars and is always busy on a Saturday night.
Peveril Of The Peak
The perfect Manchester night out for those who love an old-fashioned pub is one spent in Peveril Of The Peak. With stained glass windows and the exterior covered in yellow and green tiles, this Grade II listed pub from the 1820s is instantly recognisable. There are a few tables outdoors or you can soak in its history indoors.
If the weather’s too good to sit inside, head to the award-winning Rain Bar for cask ale in their beer garden out back. On a warm, sunny day, there aren’t many bars better than Rain. It’s usually busy, but not too busy, and it’s right beside the canal, which further compliments warmer weather.
Night and Day Cafe
Night and Day is popular with students as it’s in the Northern Quarter, and while it is a bar and cafe, it’s also one of the city’s most beloved live music venues. Their aim is to put on live music every night, helping young bands gain a following. Back in the day, Elbow, Arctic Monkeys, The Chemical Brothers, Jessie J, and more were getting started on its stage.
Best clubs - Skiddle selects
If you’re planning a wild Manchester night out, our selection of the best clubs can help you find the perfect fit. There are so many amazing clubs in Manchester it was difficult to choose our favourite. But we chose wisely to ensure there’s something for everyone.
Mint Lounge has regular Funkademia nights, Manchester’s longest-running club night, where disco, funk, and similar tunes are blasted until 4 AM. It’s located in the Northern Quarter and stays open later than many of the other venues in the area. Open Fridays and Saturdays, expect a young crowd and a casual, happy atmosphere.
Don’t let the name fool you, Soup Kitchen has won multiple awards and is one of the city’s best clubs and live music venues. Genre doesn’t matter at Soup, with everything from rock, electronic genres, hip hop, and so much more going down. It has a small capacity of around 200, so expect it to get a bit sweaty.
This maze of a club with multiple rooms is outside the city centre but definitely worth a visit. Hidden attracts passionate crowds who just want to dance all night long. Depending on what night you visit, there’s everything from dark, hard-hitting techno, garage, house, trance, bass music, and more. And tickets for Hidden events can be as cheap as £3!
Over on Gay Village’s Canal Street, On Bar is open seven days a week and offers drinks as cheap as £2.50. They have DJs every night, drag performers, gogo dancers, and 2-for-1 cocktails on Tuesdays. As a gay club, you can naturally expect the atmosphere to be welcoming, friendly, and always fun.
During the day, Joshua Brooks is a great venue for a casual pint. But at night, it transforms into an intimate club with genres including house, trap, garage, tech house, bass music, techno, and more. Head to the basement to enjoy the tunes with 400 others on a killer sound system complimented by state-of-the-art lighting.
Known to everyone as 42s, this is where you go when you prefer a different sound. Mostly, you can expect indie and alt-rock with Oasis and Arctic Monkeys tunes being played near enough every night. But the DJs aren’t afraid to throw in the occasional ABBA tune. Perfect for skint students, shots are as cheap as £1, and vodka mixers are £1.80.
Spread across three floors with a kitchen and roof terrace, Deaf Institute is another popular choice for a Manchester night out. They put on regular club nights, including the free indie disco and throwback parties to celebrate the bangers of yesteryear. But there's also regular live music from all sorts of genres, such as punk, indie, nu-metal, and just about everything else.
As Manchester’s primary punk, rock, emo, hardcore, and metal venue, you can expect a range of tunes from heavier genres at Satans Hollow. But live bands make regular appearances too. They have some solid drinks deals, obviously great music, and it’s open until 3 AM on Saturdays.
Okay, so Warehouse Project (WHP) isn’t a proper club, but it deserves a mention as the most iconic string of events in the UK. It came in at number 8 on DJ Mags Top 100 Clubs list and is a tough one to beat for electronic music fans. They put on legendary nights with the biggest DJs from just about every electronic genre.
If you like sweat boxes full of music lovers, White Hotel is one to keep an eye on. Sure, from the outside it doesn’t look like much, but it’s what goes on on the dancefloor that counts. This little club in Salford has a cult following as it’s tucked away from most other venues down an alleyway. It’s casual and all about letting loose and dancing.
Manchester’s nightlife is somewhat iconic. No one parties like the 24-hour party people! And with such diverse venues - sweaty venues in the middle of nowhere, classy cocktail bars, clubs that serve Grey Goose with sparklers attached and more - you can find a bar or club that’ll perfectly match the vibe you’re looking for.