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6 of the Best Bars in Manchester

6 of the Best Bars in Manchester main image

By Matthew Lewis

Since the late 80s/early 90s, Manchester has cemented its place as the mecca for all things musical and cultural within England. Musical institutions such as the Hacienda Nightclub, the Free Trade Hall, and even the Albert Hall steered the youth of the time into an era now called the ‘second summer of love’. Bands such as the Stone Roses, Oasis and The Happy Mondays just to name a few, have all exported the vibrancy and energy of this northern city worldwide.

Standing on the shoulders of this huge legacy before it, Manchester has pushed itself into the new millennium and only continued to blossom and grow. Whether you prefer the laid-back sophistication of a cocktail bar, the high intensity of an all-night rave or the chance to see the next big band over an inexpensive pint, Manchester has it all! Read on for a selection of our top picks in this vibrant city.

The Deaf Institute

A three-floored venue, The Deaf Institute is located just off Oxford Road, a perfect location for students attending Manchester Metropolitan University, whose campus surrounds the area. The main bar is tastily furnished with leather booths and sharing tables, ideal for enjoying the wide range of craft beers and local ales on offer. With an elaborate menu, covering vegan and meat eaters alike, it is the perfect place for a bite to eat before making your way to the party atmosphere of the next floor.

On the first floor you’ll find the heart of the Deaf Institute, which is a sight for the senses. Immediately you are dwarfed by the enormous mirror ball that dances from the domed ceiling, surrounded by velvet curtains and vibrantly decorated walls, you are instantly transported. Deaf Institute hosts a variety of club nights; such as “Girls on film” Manchester's most celebrated retro club night, playing the best pop, rock and guilty pleasures from the 80’s and 90’s. Or if rock and metal are more your thing, attend The Deaf Institutes “Kickstart My Heart” night, taking you back to the days of hair metal and big sing along choruses. There is rarely a night in the week where The Deaf Institute doesn’t play host to a live band or artist, so pass through their doors and you too can claim to have seen the next world-dominating band in such a small venue.

Bunny Jacksons

Bunny Jacksons is the all-American experience, wander through their doors and you could easily believe you’re not in the streets of Manchester, England, but in the mists of the United States itself! Everything here is catered to give you the American dive bar experience. With American football, basketball and baseball games shown on their TV’s, and a wide range of American whiskeys and beers, Bunny Jacksons will take you stateside with only a short walk through the Manchester streets. Bunny Jacksons is the perfect place to go and socialize in the days off studying, bring out your competitive side on their many pool and beer pong tables, or get a bite to eat with their famously cheap chicken wings, the cheapest costing only 10p!  

The Liquor Store

Situated just off Manchester's famous Deansgate, Liquor Store has become a popular nighttime retreat for students from across the city. Combining the subtlety of American bar culture while still paying homage to the great and good of Manchester gives the Liquor Store a truly unique feel. Sample their plethora of liquors from around the world, watched on by portraits of Manchester's extensive alumni. The laid-back and quirky atmosphere is then amplified come 5pm, where the sound of your favorite indie, rock and roll and pop music is played well into the night, only closing its doors at 3am.

256 Wilmslow Road

Located in the southeast of the city, 256 Wilmslow Road blends the perfection combination of stylish open space and sophisticated bar culture. With a large wooden cladded beer garden, Wilmslow Road is the place to be on those sun-soaked afternoons. In the evenings the bar is frequented by students of Manchester searching for cheap drinks and a great sociable atmosphere. Wilmslow Road also brings a vast range of events with a packed schedule of entertainment. DJ sets, local bands and comedy nights keep both students and locals returning.

South Nightclub

South prides itself as Manchester's number one original underground club night, and with good reason. Launched in 1995 by the promotions manager of the famous Hacienda, it has continued to stand on the shoulders of Manchester's historic club and underground scene. Located in Deansgate, South Nightclub provides an extensive range of club nights and awe-inspiring DJ sets. Friday nights “Flight Mode” is a constant favorite, playing a range of house, techno and minimal well into the early hours. So if you're a student looking to dip your toes into the famous music culture of Manchester, South is the place to be.

Dive NQ

Supplying you with everything you would want from a pub as a student in Manchester is Dive NQ. Placed in the heart of the vibrant streets of the Northern Quarter, Dive NQ is a multifaceted venue that caters to all your needs. An affordable menu offers an extensive range of custom burgers, burritos and chicken wings. With 11 ultra HD screens dotted around the venue, it’s no surprise that Dive HQ has been selected by Sky Sports as the best place to watch live sports in Manchester. On your lecture-free weekends pay a visit and find it transformed into vibrant nightclub and dance away the stress until the sun comes up, since Dive HQ’s doors don’t close until 5am! Whether it be a pub quiz, a burger with friends, or cheap pint watching your favorite sport, Dive NQ is the venue for you.

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