Despite its affinity with indie bands, Manchester’s nightlife is diverse as it is buzzing. If you and your date click when it comes to music then try our recommendations for bars that have a good vibe and a musical theme.
The Briton’s Protection
Winner of the Pride of Manchester award for Best Pub two years in a row this homely, traditional pub is perfect for a casual date between two music lovers, not just for its cavernous interior and extensive whiskey collection but for the fact that it’s conveniently located opposite the Bridgewater Hall, attracting musicians and music-lovers alike.
50 Bridgewater Street, Manchester M1 5LE
The rapidly expanding Mojo bar group stretches as far as Barbados, but for a taste of what they offer a little closer to home get you and your date down to Bridge Street. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of Bridge Street, Mojo offers a haven for rock lovers, with walls adorned with photography and an array of rock classics on the speakers.
19 Back Bridge Street, Manchester, M3 2PB
Located in Manchester’s bohemian Northern Quarter (hence the’ NQ’) Trof is a relaxed and vibrant hang-out for lovers with eclectic taste. By day it’s a trendy hideaway where you can enjoy coffee and cake, and nights kick off with a rather attractive happy hour followed by a range of entertainment from open mic nights to pop/soul/funk/disco DJ nights.
8 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1EU
Sandinista! comes with a Cuban twist which means two things: delicious, Latin-inspired food, and a quality range of rums. And if that wasn’t enough you can also dance the night away to an eclectic mix of party tunes until 3am every night of the week…which could come in handy if your date is successful.
2 Old Bank Street, Manchester, M2 7PF
Another winner of the Pride of Manchester award (this time for Best Bar), Odd Bar is part of a trilogy that also takes in Odder Bar (Southern Quarter) and Oddest Bar (Chorlton). While not quite as outlandish as the name suggests, Odd Bar still has a quirky flavour from the bohemian décor to the hipster DJs who spin a mix of soul, jazz, Afro, Kraut…the list goes on.
30-32 Thomas Street, Manchester, M4 1ER
Matt and Phreds
Specialising in jazz but showcasing a range of live bands, this live music venue is packed full of events meaning you can head down almost any day of the week and see some quality live music. There’s often an admission charge but some events, such as the monthly jazz jam, are free (check their website for complete listings). There is also a mouth-watering range of pizzas and nibbles on offer, and if you get there early enough you can take advantage of their ‘buy two drinks and get a free pizza’ offer!
64 Tib Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1LW
Made famous by Queer as Folk, and featured in Coronation Street, Via (formerly known as Via Fossa) is a mecca for gay couples and singles who enjoy classy surroundings and great music. The recent refurb now means that the place looks even better and a new menu ensures that Via is a credible recommendation for a glitzy date.
28/30 Canal Street, Manchester, M1 3EZ
Deemed by many to be the best rock and metal pub in Manchester, Grand Central wins on its jukebox alone, which features the likes of Aerosmith and Pantera. Often the go-to place before hitting the rock clubs, it can get busy, but for those couples looking for a midweek date serenaded by some headbanging anthems it’s worth a visit. Best not go there for a quiet conversation, mind.
80 Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5NH
Despite modestly describing itself as a ‘nice bar for normal people’ Common has been touted as ‘arguably the best bar in Manchester’ by the Guardian and praised by its clientele for its unpretentious vibe and super-cool interior. This bar also functions as an art gallery, and, in keeping with its artistic ethos, a host of vivid murals adorn the walls. Music-wise Common offers a host of DJ nights which are all free provided you get there early. Expect to hear an eclectic mix of pop, house and indie.
39-47 Edge Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M4 1HW