Manchester Starting Uni Student-made

A Guide to Manchester’s Nightlife

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As a student in Manchester there are endless options of where to spend your Friday night, thanks to the diverse range of clubs and bars that offer something for everyone. With two years of nights out now under my belt, here is my summary of Manchester’s staple venues, which is by no means an exhaustive list! 


256 – A fresher’s staple bar/club hybrid with cheap drinks and many free events. 256 plays pop classics and is absolutely packed out on sports nights. 

Squirrels – A cheap bar located within Fallowfield campus opposite Oak House, perfect for grabbing a quick drink, pre-drinks before a night out, or watching sport. 

The Friendship Inn – Friendly pub with lots of seating and a large beer garden, good for casual drinks, and holds quiz nights twice a week. 

Nest – Perfect for relaxed drinks, with two for £10 cocktails before 8pm, free ping pong tables downstairs, and a Sunday quiz.

HAUS – Pizza and drink deals, really cosy vibes and free live music on weekends. 


Southside Tequila Joint – The best happy hour in Manchester with delicious 2-for-1 cocktails every evening. Cheap food, nice décor and good music. 

XLR – A small basement club that hosts local and student DJs. Plays genres like techno, electro, and drum and bass, and sells out quickly, so advance tickets are a must!

Fuel – A veggie café bar perfect for an evening of drinks and snacks, as well as offering an upstairs room that hosts local bands.

The Victoria – A traditional pub with plenty of drinks and the option to bring your own food. Great for a catchup or pre-drinks. 

City Centre

Factory 251 – A massive club with multiple floors of music and cheap drinks. Always popular with freshers and it is most people’s first clubbing destination when they turn 18. 

42s – Plays indie and alternative music characteristic of Manchester’s rich musical history. Fairly cheap drinks but the line to get in is often quite long. lt’s worth paying for queue jump tickets. 

YES – Really cool venue with amazing food, nice drinks, and fantastic décor. A little on the expensive side but worth it for the vibe, there’s often gigs on too. 

Gay Village – There are too many great venues in the Gay village to narrow down just a couple. Classic music, really fun vibes and often very cheap drinks, with many of the clubs staying open until the sun comes up. 

Hidden – Describing itself as a ‘music and arts playground’, resident and guest DJs come together to create a vibrant, packed atmosphere. Thursday is the most popular night, and plan your route beforehand because it’s located North of the city centre. 

History – A hip hop, R&B, and house ‘super club’ in the centre of the city. I’ve never been here myself but have heard there’s a fairly strict dress code, so bear that in mind. 

Northern Quarter bars – Again, there are too many cool bars in the NQ to pin down just a couple, but check out Tibb St, Oldham St and Thomas St as a starting point. The area is littered with quirky places to grab drinks, listen to live music and dance, although prices aren’t always that student friendly. 


Deansgate Locks – A strip of clubs in converted railway arches, many of which have a sophisticated, dressy vibe and the price tag to match. Great if you want a night of heels, cocktails, and dancing.

The White Hotel – One on my list that I haven’t been to yet, The White Hotel is an experimental, converted garage which hosts DJs and upcoming artists. Packed with projections and visual metaphors, it makes for an immersive and unique night out. 

The Warehouse Project – These seasonal club nights are a student staple that attract visitors from around England due to the highly-regarded line-ups full of well-known names. Events sell out really quickly, so sign up to the mailing list. 

532 Bar, Student’s Union – Many of my nights out have started here with a quick drink after the library, as the drinks are cheap and you will bump into everyone you know. 

This list represents just a few of the many pubs, bars, and clubs which Manchester has to offer. You will never get bored!

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