The legendary Hacienda nightclub may be long gone, but Manchester’s live music scene continues to set trends. Here’s a brief guide to the city’s hottest venues, which are never more than a cab ride away from any number of Manchester hotels.
A bouncy dance floor keeps you jumping at The Ritz, a magnet for Mancunian partygoers since 1928. In the mid-20th century it was transformed from dancehall to music venue. This buzzing spot hosted The Happy Mondays and The Smiths in the 1980s and early 1990s, and continues to draw top acts today.
Close by is the Albert Hall, an abandoned Wesleyan chapel turned music hall. Stained glass windows and old organ pipes provide a backdrop for live gigs by the likes of Hot Chip and Franz Ferdinand.
Night and Day Café
This hip district is jam-packed with bars and clubs. Entertaining music fans since 1991, Night and Day Café has welcomed big-name musicians to its stage, including The Smiths’ guitarist and local hero Johnny Marr. Regular evenings showcase up-and-coming Mancunian bands.
Matt and Phred’s Jazz Club
A short stroll away on Tib Street, jazz aficionados head to Matt and Phred’s, where you can enjoy the music of Manchester artists and visiting guests while sharing a Charlie Parker pizza. Gigs are free on Mondays to Thursdays, with a small cover charge on weekends.
Classical music in Manchester
The Bridgewater Hall
If you prefer classical tunes to boot-stomping rock music, you’ll want to take a seat at The Bridgewater Hall. Staging more than 250 performances annually, this international concert hall is home to three resident orchestras and a gigantic, dazzling pipe organ.
Royal Northern College of Music
Alternatively, you can see stars of the future performing solos, opera and orchestral works at the RNCM (Royal Northern College of Music). As well as student acts, the college’s four concert spaces play host to visiting ensembles and artists.
Best of the rest
A few more hotspots for music-lovers in Manchester:
The Deaf Institute
The Deaf Institute is housed in a converted 19th-century school for deaf children and sprawls over three floors. Gigs, live DJs and comedy nights bring crowds to its first-floor music hall.
The Warehouse Project
House and techno fans bag tickets early for The Warehouse Project, a three-month programme of warehouse parties featuring international DJs and live performers.
Looking for a large-scale concert? The biggest names in pop and rock play at the Manchester Arena.