NQ buzzes with cool, independent bars, still safe from the mainstream. They converge where Thomas Street meets High Street, and on Tib and Oldham Streets. Our favourite spots are The Blue Pig, Walrus, Cane & Grain and Kosmonaut. There’s also Apotheca (cocktails), The Liquorists (tequila), Black Dog Ballroom (dancing), Twenty Twenty Two (ping pong) and The Mint Lounge (Funkademia every Saturday). If you’re after live music, head to Band On The Wall, The Ruby Lounge, Night & Day Café, Dry Bar or Matt & Phreds Jazz Bar.
If you're after more than a pub, you’ll find suitably slick drinking venues in this ‘Canary Wharf of the north’. We love Artisan Kitchen & Bar, which serves bistro-style dishes in an art-festooned warehouse, and The Liars Club, with its speakeasy feel and rum cocktails. Mojo has a high-octane vibe of shabby chic New York, while The Lawn Club is an English garden oasis. For movie star decadence with wraparound views, head to the lounge at Manchester House on Level 12 of Tower Twelve.
In the converted railways arches of The Locks, near the site of the famous old Hacienda nightclub, you’ll find several swanky bars, all with summertime terrace drinking. Venues worth a peek include Revolution, Lock 91, Sakura, Atlas, Baa Bar, The Knott, Missoula, Sugar Lounge and BarCode. For laughs, head to The Comedy Store in arches 3 and 4. For opulence, it’s Cloud 23 on the 23rd floor of Hilton’s iconic Beetham Tower. We’re talking champagne, cocktails and stunning city views.
Stretching from city centre to curry mile, Oxford Road takes in all of Manchester’s university campuses and, with them, an eager student clientele. It’s no surprise then to find dozens of night spots with a cool, laid back vibe. They range from traditional pubs like The Oxford and The Thirsty Scholar to indie clubs like The Brickhouse and Joshua Brooks. Chains include Revolution and Black Dog Ballroom, with its Dog Bowl ten-pin bowling. Then there’s Gorilla (with gin parlour), The Deaf Institute (80s club night) and Sound Control (live music).
The cobbles of Canal Street have long since embraced a mêlée of both gay and straight revellers, with bars and restaurants spilling onto the street and a carnival-happy feel. Top spots in this pretty neighbourhood include Tribeca, a New York style bar, lounge and dancefloor; Urban@DoubleTree by Hilton, which serves cocktails inside the four star Mint Hotel; and Lammars, a multi-award-winning tribute to drag queen Frank Foo Foo Lammar. Other favourites are Taurus, Velvet, Churchills, The Parlour and Manchester’s oldest gay bar Napoleons.
Not to be confused with Deansgate Locks, Deansgate boasts some of the trendiest venues in town, from champagne bars like Cirque and Epernay to swanky clubs like Suede, Club Liv and Revolucion de Cuba. Along the way, you’ll find the lavish casino Manchester235 and traditional boozers The Nag’s Head and Mulligans Irish pub. Deansgate is home to the country’s first La Tasca tapas bar and The Living Room, plus favourite haunts The Mitre, The Milton Club, The Liquor Store, The Bijou Club and Elixir Tonic & Treats.