AOL Travel
Print

Best Manchester Nightlife

AOL PICK from our Editors

Mancs certainly know how to drink. Manchester nightlife sports traditional pubs all over the city, but diversification and outside influences are spearheading the growth of artsy bars and quirky drinking dens. From live music venues like Matt and Phred’s to traditional Manchester boozers and drinking dens, hidden watering holes and bars under the arches in Deansgate and Castlefield, Manchester has something for everyone. Most of the top nightclubs in Manchester are gathered in the city centre and Northern Quarter, while the hub of gay nightlife is on Canal Street and in the Gay Village. All over the city you’ll spot old men nursing pints in classic British pubs, barmen doling out advice over pints of beer, students heading out for the night in costume attire and whatever else Manchester spits out at you. Understanding Manchester by night is crucial to getting under the skin of this city, so head out with a sated stomach and an open mind and choose your own nocturnal adventure.

Matt & Phred's Jazz Club

Neighborhood: Northern Quarter

Even people who don’t like jazz like Matt and Phred’s. Rock up on a weeknight for a Charlie Parker pizza, a cheeky beer and anything from house band action to sweet sounds from Brazilian samba trios. With live music six nights a week—“jazz is our first love but we are also enthusiastic about other creative talents,” the owners say—and poetry readings, lit fests, acoustic bands and other musical genres filling the seventh night, you can’t go wrong. Book ahead for weekend gigs, because the place fills fast.

More Details on

Matt & Phred's Jazz Club »

Cord

Neighborhood: Northern Quarter

Cord hung out in the Northern Quarter before it was cool and it’s proven to have serious staying power. Initially a traditional Manchester pub, a recent refurbishment has created sleek lines, drinking nooks and distressed black leather sofas that look like they’re out of a cool film set. There’s beer on tap, killer cosmos on the cocktail list and DJs on the weekends. Chow down on giant Mediterranean-style platters (olives, hummus, warm slices of Lebanese bread) if you get hungry.

More Details on

Cord »

Temple of Convenience

Neighborhood: City Centre

The temple, as it’s known, has two obvious selling points (other than the fact that it’s, you know, a bar). The first is its jukebox, which is better than anyone’s iTunes collection we’ve ever come across. The second? This underground drinking spot was once a public toilet. The lavs have been flushed away (well, they’ve left a few for you to use) the sinks are gone, but space is still a bit tight, which makes for a convivial atmosphere and a great place to meet new people.

Cinnabar

Neighborhood: City Centre

Cinnabar looks like a futuristic Japanese garden, with low-lit drinking pods, bubble lighting, hues of amber, Qing Dynasty-style vases and hooded sofas smothered in cushions. Whether that sounds like bar heaven or hell to you (the local pub this ain’t), this place is worth a visit for its impressive cocktail menu (try the Gateaux Blaster with vanilla) and walk-in tasting cellar. The adjacent Vermilion restaurant does a fine line in Asian fusion food and also offers cooking classes.

More Details on

Cinnabar  

Dry Bar

Neighborhood: Northern Quarter

Manchester’s Dry Bar is only dry if you’re Oasis’ former front man Liam Gallagher, or Black Grape’s Shaun Ryder. Both Mancunians are barred from this late-night watering hole, which gets pretty much everything right—wicked tunes, live acoustic gigs, football screened live, a quieter area to catch up with friends and a good drinks list. A good place to meet for drinks before heading out to dinner and equally good for late night beers. In the Northern Quarter, so it is conveniently located, too.

More Details on

Dry Bar »
See All Manchester Nightlife »
ADVERTISEMENT