I'm an opinionated bastard when it comes to nightlife in my home city. I've made my opinions very clear about the places I don't like and won't go to and I've listed the places I'm planning to go to. So what are the places I recommend the most so far? Where might you see me on a Saturday night? And where might you enjoy if you've like my last few posts? (It's worth pointing out in advance that there are a lot of good looking women in all of these places, that being a factor in them making the cut.)
There's no particular order to this list, and the quality of a venue always has a subjective element. These are the places I've enjoyed, and the places you might see listed on Manchester Social Group in the next few months.
A small, smart venue near Manchester Cathedral. Great back bar. If you like your whiskies, try their Aberlour A'bunadh. You'll spot the odd celeb here and there- it's a choice place for big-name birthday parties.
Great underground bar (as in it's literally underneath Deansgate) next to John Rylands. Good chilled house music being played from the iconic touchscreen glass DJ booth. Look out for High West whiskey behind the bar. Don't turn up in a group of more than 3 men- you won't get in. Friendly clientele.
There are two branches of this cocktail bar in Manchester- one in Spinningfields and one hidden away on New York St behind Piccadilly Gardens. Their unique cocktails- some concocted over a bunsen burner- are to die for and the décor is an unforgettable blend of rustic and chic modern.
An L-shaped bar in the heart of Spinningfields, The Lawn Club first struck me as a country clubhouse with its racket-adorned walls and full-length windows. The wicker seats inside contribute to the summery feel of the bar. Summer is the best season to visit: for a small charge you can rent out a deck chair and sit with your Pimms on the lawn. In winter, the grass space is converted into an ice rink, and the club's menu changes to suitably warm the cockles after a skate. The real log burner has a similarly pleasant effect.
A smart, apartment-like bar in The Avenue. If you can get there early, bag yourself a couch next to the floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Spinningfields. Plush and homely (if your home is full of nubile tipsy young women).
Superb Chinese restaurant in Spinningfields. Incredible nautical themed building, including fixtures wrapped in thick rope and huge ship's wheel-style door handle at the entrance. Try to get seated near the huge dried blossom tree for the best experience. For the quality you're getting, the price of food is fair.
I've only experienced the bar area of this pan-Asian restaurant on Peter st. It's quite a small roadside section to the establishment, but it's nicely designed with polite staff and a good drinks range, all to a chilled house soundtrack.
Manchester's premier celebrity haunt, LIV frequently hosts birthday parties for soap stars and pop princesses. You'll spot them by following the sparkler-clad champagne bottles (normally a crateful) as the staff make their way from the bar to the celeb's table. Recent patrons: Dean Gaffney (Robbie in Eastenders), Leigh-Ann Pinnock from pop group Little Mix, Ricky Hatton, Will I Am and, erm, Leigh Darby from Babestation. (Pic.)
A friendly atmos and not as pretentious as you might imagine.
The Twitter feed describes the venue as “a forgotten Wesleyan chapel”, but the building itself is hard to forget- the lower floor of the building played home to nightclub Brannigans until 2011. (This has recently been reopened as Albert's Schloss, and I have yet to check it out.) The club occupies the church, one floor above the street. The set piece of the huge organ, the DJ booth positioned directly in front of it, the lights, the exposed 1910 brickwork and the sheer size of the building make a night in The Albert Hall a unique one. The club's lineup features a mix of rock bands and house music DJs. James Morrison, The Kooks, Danny Tenaglia, Mike Pickering, Belinda Carlisle and Franz Ferdinand are among the names to have graced the stage.
A small and welcoming members bar on Deansgate, professionally ran with exquisite décor and friendly staff. Their monthly Soul Purpose event has seen many big names grace the club, from DJ Dimitri from Paris to Caron Wheeler from SoulIISoul, and at other times celebs like boxing great Chris Eubank and the cast of Real Housewives of Cheshire have dropped in for a drink.
A plush small venue on Longworth St behind Deansgate. Intimate and smart, Suede occupies the unit that once was Ampersand, a private members bar created by Carrol Design, who also brought us the fine interiors of The Milton Club and Panacea. The club still holds up well, and the music at their Saturday Kinky Lips event conjures great memories (if you're old enough) of the nightlife scene in the early 2000s with its old-skool garage and house mixes.
Have you been to any of these? Do you agree / disagree? If you agree on most of these, what might you have included? Which of these is your favourite? Drop me a comment...