The Northern Quarter has established itself as the Queen of Nightlife in Manchester. The boho, yet quaint and traditional, district stretches for miles – located around the High Street and the original ‘Northern Quarter’, next to the Arndale Centre and Piccadilly Gardens. It has always been famed for independent boutiques and live music venues – the soul of the city – but it has stepped it up a notch to become the most vibrant area of Manchester.
Whilst you may not stumble (literally) onto a sophisticated rooftop terrace, you will come across a former fortune teller’s den… Dusk til Pawn, concealed amongst a treasure trove of vintage shops and cosy venues, is a prohibition era bar. Speakeasy bars may be commonplace today, but this is unlike anything you’ve ever seen – hidden behind a pawn shop exterior. The Grade II listed building, featuring eye-wateringly high ceilings and a Jukebox signed by Billy Ocean, is glamorous – renowned for exciting drink innovations, and even classic cocktails (hen weekend heaven). Similarly, The Fitzgerald is dedicated to the 20s, serving creative cocktails in cut glassware. Travel a little further forward in time, and into the 50s, into the Tiki world of Hula Manchester – an urban basement, beach-style bar with kitsch-style décor and vibes, DJs and exotic cocktails – before stopping in Japan on your hen do…
Lost in Tokyo, boasting a downtown capital city interior, is all origami, cosy booths and paper lanterns, with the concept centred around an extensive line of Japanese whiskies. Later in the night, move onto one of the best venues in the city, Q Cavern. Moonlighting as a café, serving African-inspired food, the evening air transforms this place into a house and dubstep club (unexpected). Packed with plenty of people, Q has guest DJs playing late into the night. Likewise, Walrus has been ruling these bustling streets of Manchester for many a year – with roots in reggae and hip hop. Speaking of music, you’ve got to enjoy the sights and sounds of a live music venue - you are in Manchester after all. Soup Kitchen (stay with us) is a kitchen serving food in an old warehouse, alongside an award-winning wine list, morphing into a late-night club – hosting international and local bands, legendary parties, and even film nights and comedy events.
Not to be confused with Deansgate Locks, over a mile away (a long walk in heels), Deansgate is one of the trendiest districts you’ll step foot in during your hen weekend. Rivalling the likes of North London – it’s super fashionable, home to a cultural melting pot of lively venues; Tiki dens, cocktail lounges, wine bars, mega clubs and the odd authentic pub.
Starting with cocktails (always), enter Manchester’s tropical hideaway and lush oasis, The Liar’s Club. Packed with all kinds of Caribbean craziness (and cocktail classes) – it packs a fruity punch (and we are not just talking about those cocktails…). However, speaking of booze – The Botanist is a bright and beautifully English bar, full of British whimsy. The drinks are delicately crafted and, typically, garnished, featuring a charming agricultural edge, echoed in the spectacular and eclectic interior. Carrying on the running theme of cocktails, The Liquor Store – voted Best Bar in Manchester at the Eat, Drink, Sleep awards – boasts a collection of liquors from all around the world. But, it’s still true to its roots and pays homage to the city’s best exports – Oasis, Davy Jones, Morrissey, you get the idea… Another cocktail institution, paving its way to immortality, is Be At One – a chain spreading across the country. It’s sweet and sour – reflected in the cocktails, Absolut Gangster, Cuban Zombie and English Country Garden to name a few. Bijou is another seriously sweet venue, with the city’s only riverside terrace and a celebrity guestlist that has included the likes of Justin Bieber, Drake, Rita Ora and you lot on your hen party…
The converted arches at the bottom end of Deansgate, affectionately known as the ‘Locks’, are synonymous with style. It’s a street of late-night activity, heady excitement and gorgeous terraces in the balmy summer (well, as sunny as the north can be).
Revolution is the start of any good hen night on the ‘Locks’. Retaining many of the building’s original features – such as the exposed brick and giant arches – Revs has a hip and warehouse-style feel. It’s also famous for its mind-blowing vodka flavours, and crafty cocktails – make of that what you will. We’ve got another Tiki-tavern for your hen do, in the form of lovely Lola Lo. This 560 capacity bar is bursting with cocktails and three floors of DJs, beach-themed drinks and even a fancy dress box, should you forget your L-Plates and wings. Just a one minute walk, is Lock 91. This is that bar were ‘everyone knows your name’ – attempting to bring Cheers to life – and serves cocktails, beers, wine to keep you hydrated on your hen weekend.
Spinningfields, dubbed as the ‘Canary Wharf of London’, is luxury personified. Business always comes first, play second – but these guys play hard. The area is brimming with swanky bars, cocktail dens and delightful restaurants – your LBD is going to come in handy.
Revolución de Cuba is a tale straight out of Havana – a South American-inspired bar, serving exotic food, fruity cocktails, live Latin bands and even salsa classes, all under the watchful eye of Che Guevara. Australia has also found a second home in Manchester, at the aptly-titled Australasia – entered via a glass pyramid (your hen weekend is going to be fancy pants). This modern bar, with an Australian, Indonesian and Japanese feel, is a subterranean and stylish venue, serving, of course, expertly crafted cocktails. Up high in the sky, Manchester House keeps a proud watch over the city. Set at Tower 12, this venue encompasses the top floor – featuring a bar/lounge with 360 degree views. The Refinery is another sophisticated stop, with plush seating boasting faux fur lining, copper candle holders, monochrome furniture and fresh thyme as table toppers. It’s well known for cocktails, as is The Alchemist. Masters of the dark arts of molecular mixology, their bartenders create cocktails that almost double up as magical potions.
This is Manchester’s world-famous LGBT scene, home of the Queer as Folk drama. It’s thought of as the LGBT centre, outside of London, and regularly hosts massive annual events – including the busy Manchester Pride.
The Molly House bills itself as inventive, discerning and alternative – and it wholeheartedly deserves that reputation. It’s a South American/Spanish/vintage spot for tea and drinks, with an outdoor veranda to soak up the views. Moving along to Churchills, one of the most popular pubs on the street, you can get close to the city’s finest drag queens, along with awe-inspiring cabaret shows and classic karaoke. Velvet Bar is a hub of activity in the district, a hotel bar with a twist. It attracts anyone and everyone, with DJs on at the weekend, a sumptuous bar and an impressive cocktail list. G-A-Y is renowned in the city, the sister of the London venue, and is big, brash and bold. It also serves up cocktails inspired by the weather, such as the Snow Plough, Thunder & Lightning and Deep Puddle.
The Printworks & Millennium Quarter
We’re not finished yet… The Printworks and Millennium Quarter are hugely busy areas to get glammed up for on your hen weekend. The entertainment complex is VIP and exciting…
First up, you’ve got the Bierkeller. Bringing Oktoberfest up north, the Bierkeller is dedicated to the German feast of beer and food, as well as dancing on the tables and live Oompah bands. Tiger Tiger, a massive landmark in almost every big city in the country, also has a home in The Printworks. Get lost in one of the eight rooms, from Hip Hop to the White Room, or belt out some songs in the Lucky Voice karaoke pods. You’ve even got a slice of Las Vegas glamour at The Birdcage. Popular with stag and hen groups, this place offers a dazzling performance of drag artists, showgirls and dancers.
We assume you’re now experts on Manchester nightlife, and you can go straight to our Manchester hen weekends page to see exactly what we offer for your northern hen party.