DIECAST. PHOTO BY sophie green

Your Guide To Nightlife In Manchester...If You're Not Into Clubbing

There’s not one club on this list.

Manchester, it’s the red-bricked wonder of the north. An industrial city by historic trade, it’s turned into a global music hub (the birthplace of a slew of Britpop bands) and also the home of two world-renowned football clubs. But now, beyond the stage lights — and stadium lights — there’s a creative undercurrent shaking up the city, pushing social and culinary boundaries, especially after the sun sets. The city thrives at night, with some of the best underground rave spots that keep the pulse alive. But for those who aren’t fans of clubbing, there’s plenty to see, do, and drink, all without having to endure a packed dance floor. So here is our guide to the best nightlife in the city — with absolutely no club in sight.


Eddie Shepherd at The Walled Garden 
With only eight seats available, this is possibly the most sought-after reservation in the whole city. In the home of Eddie Shepherd — the chef-owner of the event — diners are invited to a sophisticated 12-course vegan and vegetarian experimental underground supper club. It’s quite the mouthful, with technical precision and fantastically beautiful plating. A past hit favorite includes dandelion petal pastels on a roasted pumpkin soup with pine needles and whipped oat cream, or soaked burning pine with halloumi, capers, a chive sauce, and rhubarb molasses. 

Night & Day 
A legendary music venue smack dab in the Northern Quarter. When Night & Day opened up in 1991, this area was a little rough around the edges, but now, it’s transformed into a cool neighborhood with even cooler establishments — bars, restaurants, record shops, et al (and was even made over into New York City to serve as a backdrop to a royal TV show). Dutch founder Jan Oldenburg started by hosting small jazz shows to fulfill his music obsession, and quickly, the joint became a beloved space that saw the very early days of now-established bands. Today, it’s still considered one of the best venues for exposure for emerging bands (and doubled as a bar in a British TV drama series). Catch their sets at night, or eat wood-fired pizza and view exhibitions during the day.


The Carlton Club 
In the southwest suburb of Whalley Range lies The Carlton Club, a longtime institution that not only serves the late-night local residents, but is also a space sought out by good-times-loving folks all over the country. A former gentlemen's club, it’s now a thriving music, arts, and culture community, stuffed to the brim with pool tables, a fully decked bar, and one-off events. On any given night, it could be a cabaret club or a makeshift theater; the next, a live music venue or a drink-and-draw workshop.

Mackie Mayor 
If you’re looking for super-smash burgers and pizzas the size of your head, then Mackie Mayor is the place to be. It’s a spankingly smart food hall housed in the old Smithfield meat market (and in a beautiful historic building, too) — a must-visit food stop in between bar-hopping and Northern Quarter-exploring. We suggest grabbing craft beers from Blackjack Brewery before juicy tacos from Pico’s, steaming bowls of noodles from New Wave Ramen, and sourdough pizza from Honest Crust Pizza.

This four-story multi-concept space has a different vibe on every floor — a destination for those who are looking for a good time and good music. During the day, visitors can grab a coffee and peruse the latest exhibition — and listen to up-and-coming bands play at night. In the summer, the rooftop is one of the coolest places to be, where groups of friends or first dates sip on strong cocktails overlooking the post-industrious skyline.


Factory International 
Possibly the biggest opening of 2023 — this mega-new arts and cultural space is a nod to Granada Studios, a television studio and events venue that’s one of Manchester’s most legendary sites. Factory International found its home in Aviva Studios, a theater and exhibition warehouse space that puts on incredible performances and events. And because it secured a license to stay open 24 hours a day (and a liquor permit to serve alcohol until 4 a.m), Aviva Studios’ many social shows and gatherings are open well into the night. We love their artist socials that bring in a truly local creative community.  

Castlefield Viaduct 
Manchester’s answer to New York’s High Line. This Victorian-era steel structure has been transformed by the National Trust into a garden in the sky, with landscaped wispy ferns and pretty plants all above the city’s cobblestoned streets. It’s worth an evening wander, away from the busy bars, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be without provisions. Try KERB for its bold bottles of natural wine and the stuffed sandwiches from Fat Pat’s. 

Co-op Live 
Set to shine in April 2024, Co-op Live will be one of the biggest music venue openings that Great Britain has seen in years. A landmark step forward for Manchester, the 23,500-person stadium is set to become one of the best live entertainment spaces in the world, bringing in global stars for a music-first spotlight. And there’s already an impressive star-studded line-up for the year. 


DIECAST. PHOTO BY sophie green

Billed as “a new creative neighborhood,” Diecast has been luring in foodies, beer lovers, and partygoers since it opened its doors last year (its highly anticipated opening celebration sold out in seconds). The cavernous industrial warehouse is split into two, with one side taken up by Leno Ex Machina (a pizzeria, bar, and party space whose name serves as an ode to the textile weaving history of Manchester) and the other, the Brooklyn Beer Hall. There’s no shortage of fun to be had, from daiquiri drinking (there’s a whopping total of 49 flavor combinations), to pizza-slinging, to evening boogieing.

Man holding drink inside Ducie Street Warehouse

Ducie Street Warehouse. PHOTO BY sophie green

Ducie Street Warehouse
Good food, good music, good times — that’s the aim at Ducie Street Warehouse, an all-day multi-conceptual building that was once the home of the Manchester, Sheffield & Lincolnshire Railway group that flourished in the mid-19th century. During the day, spot remote workers tapping away with a matcha latte and a loaded focaccia, served by the slice. On the weekends, you’ll find big groups who are there for disco brunch or a life-drawing workshop. The space also regularly hosts indie film nights, pop-up shops, and DJ sessions.

Signage that spells out "Our Gay Village, Manchester"

Gay Village. PHOTO BY sophie green

Other vies of Gay Village

Gay Village. PHOTO BY sophie green

Gay Village
It’s a known fact that Mancunians like to party. And Gay Village — a stretch of busy bars and pubs along Canal Street — just happens to be one of the liveliest, most electrifying spots to do just that. The area is a LGBTQIA+-friendly oasis, and when Pride descends on the city every year, it’s really the only place to be.

Partisan Collective 
Over in Salford, a cool creative center of Manchester, is this queer-friendly and inclusive collective for events, talks, and gatherings. Members of the artist-led endeavor Islington Mill frequently get together for a wide range of community-backed projects that include printing workshops, DJ nights, choir sessions, and live gigs. It’s open to anyone who finds joy in working with their hands.