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The 11 Best Venues for Live Music in Manchester

The 11 Best Venues for Live Music in Manchester

We all know it—Manchester’s music scene is legendary, pulsating with a rhythm that’s been the heartbeat of the city for decades. It’s where live tunes spill out onto the streets, inviting you in for a night you won’t forget.

In this guide, we’re diving into the crème de la crème of Manchester’s music venues. From underground clubs to historic pubs, we’ve got the inside scoop on where to catch live beats any night of the week.

Band On The Wall

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Website: Band On The Wall

Address: 25 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 834 1786

Operating Hours: 

  • Mon – Tue 5PM-12AM
  • Wed – Fri 5PM-2AM
  • Sat 12PM-3AM
  • Sun 1PM-12AM

Right in the heart of the Northern Quarter, Band On The Wall isn’t just any venue; it’s a Manchester legend. This place has seen the biggest indie names – think Buzzcocks, Joy Division, and even an unsigned Elbow knocking socks off. 

It’s not all about the past, though; Band On The Wall is buzzing today with workshops, courses, and the famous Jam On The Wall Thursdays. Anyone can jam with their house band, making it a cracker of an opportunity to mingle with local talent. 

The sound here? Anything goes. Detroit house, techno, reggae, jazz—if it’s good, it’s on. With a bar that fits 180 for club nights and 140 for live music and the whole venue welcoming up to 600, there’s room for all sorts.

Pro tip:
Those Thursday jam nights? Can’t miss them. It’s where music meets community.

The Blues Kitchen

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Website: The Blues Kitchen

Address: 13 Quay St, Manchester M3 3HN, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 833 3333

Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 11AM-2AM

New kid on the block, The Blues Kitchen, has quickly become a Mancunian favourite, bringing a slice of New Orleans right to our doorstep. It’s not just a place to grab a drink; it’s a full-on sensory experience. 

Imagine tucking into some proper BBQ, bourbon in hand, while the live music lineup keeps your toes tapping. With a New Orleans-style bar and restaurant downstairs and a concert hall that hosts everything from blues and jazz to soul and rock ‘n’ roll, it’s a one-stop shop for good times. 

And with bar-side shows to boot, you won’t have to choose between a bite and a beat.

Pro tip:
Make a night of it. Start with dinner and stay for the concert. The vibes are unmatched.

Freight Island

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Website: Freight Island

Address: 11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 989 4040

Operating Hours:

  • Thur 4PM-11PM
  • Fri 4PM-12AM
  • Sat 12PM-12AM
  • Sun 12PM-10PM

Freight Island isn’t just a venue; it’s a phenomenon. Bursting onto the scene in recent years, it’s reshaped what a night out in Manchester can be. 

Mixing street food bliss with a relentless live music and entertainment lineup, it’s the city’s go-to for anyone looking to eat, drink, and dance their heart out. With everything from NYC-style pizza and juicy burgers to BBQ, wine, and craft beers, there’s something for every palate. 

And with indoor and outdoor options, it’s perfect year-round. Trust us, with a schedule as packed as theirs, you’ll want to keep coming back.

Pro tip:
Get in early to explore the food stalls before settling in for the night’s entertainment. The variety is unreal.

The Eagle Inn

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Website: The Eagle Inn

Address: 19 Collier St, Salford M3 7DW, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 819 5002

Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 12PM-12AM

The Eagle Inn is a Salford secret that’s bursting with character. Picture this: a terracotta brick beauty, decked out with eagle emblems, leading you into a cosy pub on one side and a buzzing multi-level music venue on the other. 

It’s like they’ve taken a classic boozer, added a dash of indie magic, and turned up the volume. The venue’s intimate vibe, complete with a sofa-room mezzanine overlooking the stage, makes it prime for up-close gigs and those nights when you just want to lose yourself to the music. 

Bands love it here too, with rehearsal spaces kitted out with everything they need. Eclectic is the word when it comes to their lineup, showcasing the freshest indie acts and seasoned DJs alike.

Pro tip:
Got an event in mind? Book it here if you fancy something personal and packed with personality. Just snag a date before they’re all gone.

Hip Hop Chip Shop

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Website: Hip Hop Chip Shop

Address: Unit 2, Sawmill Court, 11 Blossom St, Manchester M4 6AJ, United Kingdom

Contact Details: 

Operating Hours: 

  • Wed 5PM-8PM
  • Thur 12PM-2PM, 5PM-8PM
  • Fri 12PM-2PM, 5PM-9PM
  • Sat 1PM-9PM
  • Sun 1PM-9PM

Tucked away in Ancoats, the Hip Hop Chip Shop is as Mancunian as it gets. It’s where hip-hop beats meet some of the best fish and chips in town. 

With a side of funk and soul, and a menu featuring hip-hop themed dishes like Feastie Boys and Halloumi Myself and I, it’s the Northern Quarter’s quirkiest spot. They host open mic nights, and charity events, and it’s all about good vibes and community here. 

Expect to bump into a lively mix of hip hop, turntablism, soul, and MCs. With space for 60 standing or 35 sittings, it’s cosy, making every night feel like you’re at a mate’s.

Pro tip:
Hit this joint for the vibes, stay for the scran. The Feastie Boys is a must-try.

Eastern Bloc

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Website: Eastern Bloc

Address: 5A Stevenson Square, Manchester M1 1DN, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 228 6555

Operating Hours: 

  • Mon – Fri 7:30AM-6PM
  • Sat 9AM-6PM
  • Sun 10AM-4PM

Eastern Bloc is a proper chameleon. By day, it’s a record shop and café, and by night, it’s all about the beat. 

Situated in Stevenson Square, it transforms into a compact but mighty venue for the finest in techno, house, jungle, and more. Ben, the events manager, is all about the local scene, focusing on those who dig through their vinyl by day and play their records by night. 

Their regular ‘New Territories’ night is a beacon for new talent, offering a stage to those ready to break through. The vibe here is electric, with a capacity of 75, ensuring an intimate yet thumping experience.

Pro tip:
Keep an eye on their nights; ‘New Territories’ is your ticket to seeing the next big thing.

Night and Day Café

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Website: Night and Day Café

Address: 26 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 236 1822

Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 12PM-2AM

Standing proud on Oldham Street for over three decades, Night and Day Café is what you’d call the backbone of Manchester’s music scene. Guy Garvey from Elbow reckons it’s ‘the jewel in Manchester’s crown’ – and he’s not wrong. 

Imagine this: Elbow’s entire first album was penned here, and it’s where they first got spotted. With acts like A Certain Ratio and The Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio hitting the stage, this place doesn’t just play music; it makes history. 

Hosting the crème de la crème of indie rock, from Elbow to Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian, it’s got a reputation for nights you’ll be telling your grandkids about. With room for 250, it’s cosy but legendary.

Pro tip:
Swing by for a gig, stay for the story. You’re walking into music history here.


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Website: YES

Address: 38 Charles St, Manchester M1 7DB, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 273 2725

Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 12PM-4AM

YES is where the cool kids hang out. Right off Oxford Road and a short hop from Manchester Met and Uni, it’s a student favourite, but don’t let that fool you. This old auction house turned music paradise spans four floors of indie and electronic bliss. 

Fancy a pizza slice on a terrace? YES. Want to catch acts like Warmduscher in The Pink Room? YES. 

It’s all about fresh indie bands and electronic acts here, thanks to Now Wave’s knack for spotting what’s next. With a capacity of 120, it’s intimate, making every gig feel like a private show.

Pro tip:
Their free parties are legendary. Don’t miss out – your new favourite band might just be playing.

The White Hotel

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Website: The White Hotel

Address: Dickinson St, Salford M3 7LW, United Kingdom

Operating Hours: Open 24 hours

The White Hotel is an absolute game-changer in Manchester’s dance scene, hiding out in a Salford industrial car park. It’s not your standard venue; it’s a rave haven with an atmosphere thick enough to slice. 

The whole place is a nod to the underground, from its top-tier sound system that rumbles through the night (without a neighbour in earshot) to the enveloping smog that adds to its leftfield vibe. 

With their in-house series ‘The White Hotel Presents’, they’ve brought in electronic royalty like Helena Hauff and Anz, and even dipped into the post-punk and shoegaze pool with acts like A Place To Bury Strangers. 

Pro tip:
Ready for a night that’s anything but ordinary? This is your spot. Don’t forget your dancing shoes.

Deaf Institute

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Website: Deaf Institute

Address: 135 Grosvenor St, Manchester M1 7HE, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 276 9350

Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 12PM-1AM

Deaf Institute is an iconic spot that’s been doing the rounds since ’78, standing proud on the edge of Manchester Met’s campus. 

This Grade II-listed building is a treasure trove of musical delights spread over three floors, with a ballroom that boasts a giant mirrorball setting the scene. It’s a place where indie bands shine, club nights thrive, and the vegan menu pays homage to The Smiths with ‘This Charming Naan’. 

With acts like Jeshi and Master Peace gracing the stage and indie darlings like Bartees Strange and Caitlin Rose lined up, it’s clear the Deaf Institute is all about pushing the boundaries of the live music scene in Manchester.

Pro tip:
Indulge in some vegan fare while you’re there; ‘This Charming Naan’ is not to be missed.


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Website: Gorilla

Address: 54-56 Whitworth St W, Manchester M1 5WW, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +44 161 826 2998

Operating Hours: Mon – Sun 11:30AM-4AM

Gorilla, tucked under the railway arches, is a haven for music lovers right in the city centre. It’s famed for its intimate vibes, like when The 1975 picked it for a charity homecoming gig – yeah, it’s that kind of special. 

The place buzzes with energy, boasting an eclectic lineup that ranges from Paul Draper’s heartfelt melodies to Biig Piig’s soulful tunes. With a capacity of 800, it’s the perfect middle ground for gigs that feel both intimate and explosive. 

Plus, with its bar stocked with an impressive selection of craft beers and cocktails, it’s the perfect spot to unwind before the show starts.

Pro tip:
Keep an eye on their events calendar; Gorilla’s gigs are the ones you’ll be bragging about attending years from now.

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