Mancunians love to party, as the notorious Renaissance-esque street scenes of 2015’s New Year’s Eve testify. But Manchester drinking and socialising doesn’t have to go the way of Printworks chaos. There’s a huge array of bars spread across the city, from hip craft beer bars to cosy pubs to flash cocktail bars to sophisticated wine bars to sticky-floored student dives with half-price shots and a cheesy jukebox. There’s something for everyone.
You might want to begin your Manchester pub and bar odyssey in the city’s Northern Quarter, where a new bar seems to pop up weekly. Some venues may be trying too hard to be achingly hip, but you’ll also find some gems of the Manchester pub scene in this jumble of old warehouses and renovated mills.
Port Street Beer House is the place to go if you're wandering around the Northern Quarter with a craving for craft beer.
You’ll also find a nice range of beers in Northern Quarter institution The Castle and its sister venue across the road, Gullivers. Not only are they cosy pubs with friendly, welcoming atmospheres, they also host some of the best live music in the city, as well as regular spoken word nights (The Castle is Bad Language’s home, while the likes of Tales of Whatever and Quippodrome take place at Gullivers).
Another Northern Quarter favourite is Common, which recently swapped its charmingly cluttered mural walls for a stripped-back interior with minimalist furniture that give it a bit of a Alpine chalet-vibe, but it still has a fine beer and wine selection, a cracking food menu and great DJ nights.
If you’re after a pub in Manchester’s city centre, you could do a lot worse than Gorilla. Nestled beneath the arches of Oxford Road station, Gorilla is a multitasking venue encompassing a bar, restaurant, live music venue and club. Further along Whitworth Street you’ll find HOME, Manchester’s art, theatre and cinema hub, which has an airy bar perfect for a pre-theatre drink or post-film chat. Another gem in this part of town is The Briton’s Protection, a Manchester institution with one of the best whisky selections in the city.
You’ll find a plethora of cocktail joints and flashier bars down Deansgate and around the Spinningfields area, but subterranean drinking den Gaslamp – with its smartly curated craft beers selection and cosy vibe – is the place to go in this part of town.
Towards Manchester Metropolitan University you’ll find a trio of great bars on Grosvenor Street popular among students: The Deaf Institute (also a key gig venue), Sandbar (its stonebaked pizzas are pretty special) and The Pub/Zoo (home of award-winning comedy night XS Malarkey).
If you’re looking for a pub in south Manchester, you’ll find Fuel (Withington’s best pub), Electrik and Dulcimer (Chorlton’s key bars), and Folk and Volta (Didsbury’s favourites).
You’ll also find some great bars across the Irwell in Salford. The King’s Arms, The Crescent, The Eagle Inn and the recently renovated Pint Pot are all worth a visit.
Here you’ll find the best guide to Manchester’s pubs and bars. Our annual Food and Drink Survey will tell you our readers’ favourite pubs, bars and drinks each year. If you’re organising an event or spot any information which needs listing or updating, let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org with the event and venue details.