Last night I checked out Manchester's “newest” nightclub / concert venue. The Albert Hall, the building on Peter St that formerly housed Brannigans, has now reverted back to its original name and reopened as one of the most unique entertainment venues in the city.
I went to see Italian techno DJ Marco Carola and to see how the building's restoration has been pulled off.
The main room of the venue is the adapted church on the upper level of the building, above where Brannigans bar used to be. It's an incredible transformation from an old, dilapidated worship hall to a sophisticated blend of classic-build communal venue and hi-tech club, complete with laser shows and an immense DJ booth positioned right on the alter. The stained-glass windows remain intact, along with the giant organ and upper-level seating area. No pews, which would have been a good touch, but hey, you can't have everything.
The queue to get in was horrendous and security was rigorous, but it was worth it once inside. The venue must have sold out as it was heaving with a good-looking, young crowd but it was gracefully air-conned. The music was a little heavy/repetitive for a house fan but I still got into it.
The chillout room- a quiet area with exhausted clubbers lounging on seats and the floor- is back downstairs, in what was the cocktail bar of Brannigans. A nice touch!
Side note: Manchester is getting RIDICULOUSLY busy at the weekend. If you're a designated driver you must get out to the city EARLY or you'll be parking right on the outskirts of the city. On-street parking fills up fast. Cooperation St on the edge of the Northern Quarter is free at night and always has spaces, but it's a mission to walk to from most bars and clubs. Particularly, I believe, if you're in stilettos.