Edited by Holly Stark
Manchester is a fun and friendly city. Its easy-going evening entertainment scene covers everything from live music in cozy pubs to world-class restaurants. If you go somewhere in Manchester and it’s not the right vibe for you, you can easily find somewhere you like by heading to one of its eclectic neighborhoods. Despite the city’s historic past, Manchester feels young and alive. The list of things to do in Manchester at night is endless and there's something for everyone. From the iconic Band on the Wall to hidden bars in Manchester. At unconventional venues like Twenty Twenty Two ping pong bar, you’ll be sure to have a good time in the city. Manchester nightlife is about friendly faces, good vibes, and good sounds. Here are my top tips and things to do at night in Manchester.
The Northern Quarter
Having a drink with my friends in any of the independent places in the Northern Quarter is one of my favorite things to do in Manchester at night. Located between Piccadilly and the Ancoats, the Northern Quarter has a unique character and charm, which grows with its ongoing development and regeneration. At Manchester's creative and urban heart, the area has cool independent fashion stores, record shops, cafés, bars, and restaurants and the world-famous Afflecks Palace, which provides affordable outlets for independent designers and traders. After dark, The Northern Quarter allows for a unique Manchester experience. Try Odd Bar for continental beers, The Bay Horse Tavern for a game of pool, Trof for a quirky yet chilled vibe, and Mint Lounge to don your dancing shoes. The Northern Quarter has the potential to cater for everyone.
Photo credit: manchestereveningnews.co.uk
Mackie Mayor Market
Wondering what to do in Manchester at night that’s a little more unusual? Check out the food stalls at Mackie Mayor market. A superb market from the industrial times, now recently renovated and thriving with different vendors offering all sorts of food and drink, Mackie Mayor on the edge of the Northern Quarter is a great place to spend the evening. With a great feeling of community and some of the city’s best food, the 1858 Grade II listed market building is not to be missed when looking for things to do in Manchester at night. With some of the best Manchester bars inside, the spot is great for a night of beer, wine, or cocktails with friends. The lively Mackie Mayor market has something for all; with possibilities for a sit-down meal, a quick on-the-go bite, or a coffee.
Curry Mile Rusholme
You haven’t truly lived like a local Mancunian until you’ve eaten a curry in Rusholme. Home to Manchester's famed Curry Mile, Rusholme boasts many restaurants, and many shisha bars have also taken over the strip in recent years. In the 1970s and 80s, Curry Mile was a boomtown, full of enterprising immigrants from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. An area of diverse housing, Rusholme includes large, Victorian villas plus tower blocks, social housing and student accommodation. It’s an interesting area to walk around for a glimpse of local life in Manchester. Curries at Rusholme are a huge part of local nightlife and you haven't properly seen Manchester without a trip to this area. Check out the University grounds, enjoy some delicious must-eat Manchester food at Mughli, one of the Curry Mile’s most highly-regarded restaurants, and soak up the vibe where all cultures and flavors mix.
I love going to Charles Street to see the upcoming bands and artists playing at many of the older outlets of music from the 80s, and the new venue YES Manchester. At a time when music venues and clubs are closing at a startling rate in the city, the recent opening of YES was music to the ears of gig-goers. The former auction house has been transformed into a four-story sanctuary for musicians and music-lovers, with a different vibe on every level and live music every day. Downstairs, there's a basement space that gives a platform to emerging artists, with a free entry weekend club night. On the first floor is a bigger, 250-capacity gig venue hosting some great live music. Between these is a ground floor with a kitchen and bar serving up delicious food offerings; vegan burgers, pizzas, and craft beers. There’s also a rooftop terrace with hanging plants. Kickstart your night out in Manchester at YES with great food, good booze, and top Manchester music.
Band On The Wall
Band On The Wall, near the Northern Quarter and the Ancoats, is an iconic space that has been showcasing great music and Mancunian spirit through time. One of the cornerstones of Manchester's music scene for the greater part of the last century, Band On The Wall shows the real passion, and dialogue of the Mancunian connection to music. It was the center of Manchester's punk scene in the late 70's where artists like Joy Division first played. Since then it has played host to many internationally acclaimed artists, showcasing a vast array of musicians. It's also known as a venue that promotes equality and diversity through music. One of my favorite Manchester night activities, Band On The Wall is not to be missed for music and history lovers in the city.
Nightlife Hidden Gems
There are many hidden gems in town; many of them being great old pubs or funky little bars. You might miss them if you don't wander through the streets and weave around the little secret corners. I particularly like Twenty Twenty Two, for its fun ping pong tables. 17Below is great for arcade games and pool tables. There's also the Old Nags Head, where you can uncover Manchester's history while you sip a pint. If a visitor had only one night in Manchester, I would tell them to try and see Chetham’s Library and John Rylands Library. Take a wander around the Manchester Cathedral and The Corn Exchange Square. Then have a drink at The Old Wellington, see the Town Hall, do a quick art run at the Manchester Gallery. Grab a little snack in Chinatown if you're feeling hungry. Finally, take a stroll around Castlefield and check out the vibrant music scene in the Northern Quarter. Sounds like a busy night, I know!
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