The SatNav takes me to a side street on the outskirts of the city, somewhere near Harpurhey and Collyhurst- hardly bastions of public safety- where I find a side street and find my friend getting out of a taxi next to a new-build block of flats and a college. There's hardly any other buildings around. A shifty-looking guy with a heavy Manc accent asks us where Manchester is. We need to find this club quickly.
There's a pub up ahead with minimal signing and a doorman- it's the only place nearby likely to be accommodating a burlesque night. And it is! We have found Cirque.
We're welcomed into the reception area- which is caged off and reminds me of a sheriff's office in a western movie- and our names are checked off the guest list. We're led into the prohibition-style bar area where there are leather-clad seats available and a stage set up, with Nu-Jazz playing in the background and a steadily-building crowd of people.
The compare introduces the burlesque act.
The closest I've come to a night like this is The Birdcage in Manchester, but this was much more friendly, intimate and fun. The dancers were talented and had time for the guests, and the performances were spot on and close to the audience.
After this we hit new Northern Quarter bar Lost in Tokyo, a small but busy Japanese-themed bar with good looking clientele and impressive wall murals. Spoke to a 1980s Kim Basinger lookalike who had never heard of Kim Basinger. Well. How old did I feel. Also spotted a Peter Sutcliffe lookalike, so there was a range of appearances, shall we say. I didn't let him know who he reminded me of, just in case. People were very drunk by the end of the night. Nice place though. I'd go back.
I went to this night out with Manchester Cool Bars and Clubs, their first event since Silvia took over. More events to come- get involved!