Manchester is the best place to go clubbing in Britain. Don't believe me? Then take the-man-who-sold-all-his-records-to-Seth-Troxler's word for it. Although the Haçienda is long gone, its history is revived in midweek student nights where drinks are virtually free and the hedonism is rabid. Nostalgia's great and all, but do you really want to be best mates with an 18 year old with a Roses obsession? More importantly, there are other institutions edging to rival that beast of a legend, pulling in the best DJs in the world. The Warehouse Project is one, Sankeys is another. Both have been in existence since you were actually pissing into a pot. Then there's Hidden, a super club for your generation to shape into the next chapter of Manchester's nightlife legacy.
But if you prefer your clubs more underground, alternative or straight up fancy a night at a sex dungeon, the Rainy City has you covered as well. While Canal Street's more Blackpool on a Friday night than Queer as Folk these days, the alt LGBTQ scene is thriving. And then there's Antwerp Mansion, the destination for grime, bass and the odd crustie trance night. Just make sure you take your ID as the bouncers are as ruthless as the walls are sticky.
What really sets Manchester apart from other cities in Britain though, is the proximity of all the rich variety on offer. Here, no Uber will cost you more than a tenner and the Magic Bus is still only £1. Better still, walk around and look up. The architecture is fucking amazing, as will be the memories you make as long as you follow this comprehensive and totally unbiased guide!
When you walk down into the basement of Soup Kitchen, you'll inevitably be hit by the stench of sweat and piss. But don't let that put you off. This is the best small club in the city. This is where Jamie xx goes on a night off from the Warehouse Project. It's where you can catch Murlo for a fiver as opposed to the £40 you'll need to cough up to watch him at Store Street, thanks to Swing Ting's commitment to keeping their prices dirt-cheap and their residents world-class. The smoking area is always as lit as the dance floor, and though we're sure you're all about the music, maaan, it's also where you're most likely to pull.
A Really Good Pub
If you Google Image Peveril of the Peak you'll see a photo of the Gallagher brothers standing outside. Nuff said. At the end of a street just off Oxford Road, its luminous green façade means you'll find it even if your phone battery's been killed off by Pokémon Go. Which you hopefully won't be playing this week. Hopefully. Inside the living room sized pub, it's all dark wood, WWII curtains and oddly, a football table. Most importantly, drinks are cheap. A pint will set you back a mere £3.50, which is unheard of elsewhere in the city centre. My editor also wants to mention the Marble Arch because it is the only pub he's ever been to in the city that isn't the Wetherspoons by Piccadilly.
A Decent Restaurant for Someone on a Budget
Rudy's Pizza might as well be Manchester's answer to Dorsia because you can't get a reservation. Not because you're more Patrick Bateman than Paul Allen, the pizzeria simply doesn't let you book a table, which makes getting into this coveted yet inexpensive Ancoats restaurant a hell of a lot more exciting than plodding along to the first Pizza Express you come across.
A Great Gig Venue
Two-for-the-price-of-one is music to your ears now you're in huge debt to The Man. Salford's Islington Mill is famed for acts more out there than the limp indie you might find at a couple of Oldham Street locations and there are always club nights after, not to mention exhibitions, workshops and a vegan café. Likely to be putting on events are promoters such as Fat Out Til You Pass Out, booking gender-fucking performers like CHRISTEENE. If you're lucky she'll take you under her wing and return you a changed human being after a three-day bender you'll never want to remember or forget.
A Record Shop
Stevenson Square's Eastern Bloc is smaller than rivals Piccadilly Records and Vinyl Exchange, but it boasts a late licence bar, where the city's leading independent promoters throw free parties every weekend. It's also steeped in history. Speak to owner John Berry and he might recount how the shop got charged for pornography putting a Flux Of Pink Indians cover in the window or taken to court for selling tickets to illegal raves back in the 90s. It's also where local techno specialists Kerrie and Black Eyes exchange hours for dolla, so don't be shy and introduce yourself—you might just blag yourself a job as well.
A Museum You Can Take the Person You Got off with on the First Night in Halls To
Now you've HAD SEX and discovered that you, your backwaters-ex and Kanye West aren't the only people into sticking fingers up bumholes, you're feeling confident about your sexual prowess, but dating is a whole different ballgame, trust us. Bankley is an art gallery in Levenshulme —a place you might choose to live in your second year (Fallowfield: smh). The fact the studio is only open Saturdays and by appointment should further impress your date, just don't fucking forget to call up yeah, otherwise, as Lisa Maffia once said, it's all over.
A Truly Local Spot That You'll Feel Really Smug Knowing About
According to their website, Portico Library's collection reflects "the cultural mindset of its Georgian and Victorian members during a significant period of Manchester's illustrious history" and when you walk in, you'll realise they're not lying with signs like "Polite Literature" adorning the shelves upon shelves of beautifully coloured spines. Aside from feeling like you've stepped into a time warp, you'll find the building as dead as the founders, even though it's a stone's throw away from Piccadilly Gardens, making it the perfect place to do what you've come to this city for...and no, I don't mean taking Suicide Tuesday naps on Chesterfield sofas, although you could easily do that here too.
A Place to Drink Coffee in Between Lectures Because You Will Suddenly Decide That You Drink Coffee Now Even Though You'd Rather Have a Squash
If you wanna be a caffeine cunt then you might as well go to the most cuntish place in the Northern Quarter—Foundation. The décor is an ode to slaughterhouse chic so it wouldn't be a bad place to get into a bit of Kurt Vonnegut, especially as so much effort goes into making each organic, shit-coloured taste explosion, you'll need to feel like you're travelling through time just to recall what you ordered when the lukewarm liquid in a tiny glass finally makes its way to your table.
A Good Bookshop
The Art of Tea is in Didsbury, which is where all the people who work at the BBC live, but don't let that put you off—they won't be around if you choose your time wisely. Stepping inside is like going to see the kind of psychiatrist who'll tell you the reason you take so much ket is because your parents fucked you up. Except that here there's no actual shrink, just books and tea. Which is way cheaper than therapy anyway, and FYI, you hoover up so much ket cos you're a greedy fuck, not because your ma had an affair with the next-door neighbour. Get involved with the literature and the loose leaves and you might just survive your twenties.
A Place to Laze About the Morning After the Night Before
Big Hands is dark, it's got a good selection of couches and most importantly the music is chill and the staff are likely to be feeling exactly like you. You probably already met half of them at the afterparty you've just come from. Situated on Oxford Road, the bar is also right by two of Manchester's universities, meaning you could still make it to your lectures if you start getting para about all the education you're flushing down the toilet along with the liquid remains of your night out. It's also got a roof terrace should you suddenly need some fresh air but can't face the world at ground level just yet.
And if you're still not convinced Manchester is the best place in the world, then you're in the wrong place mate. You'll need a whole lotta love for the city to deal with it pissing it down every single day.