The Essential Guide to the Gay Scene and Gay Bars and Clubs in Manchester
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The Essential Guide to the Gay Scene and Gay Bars and Clubs in Manchester.
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Manchester Gay Scene
Manchester’s gay scene is famously one of Britain’s friendliest, busiest and most welcoming. There’s a huge range of stylish bars and clubs in the Gay Village and while here you’ll find shopping heaven, an arts scene to match anywhere in Europe, and more trendy restaurants than you can shake a credit card at…
Manchester Gay Scene
Gay Clubs Manchester
Canal Street, Manchester
Drinking in the Village
The Gay Village is numero uno for bars and clubs, but where to start? Well, probably your first stop will be one of the massive gay café-bars lining Canal Street such as Spirit, Queer or View. Stylish, buzzy and full of very dishy men and women, they're the spiritual home of gay Manchester. Grab a drink, whilst you meander through the gothic labyrinth of Via or for the classy Shirley Basseys among you, you may want to try Taurus, Velvet (don't miss the fabulous fish tank in the staircase) or AXM, perfect for whiling away the hours sipping chic cocktails. Or perhaps you fancy reclining the night away on a bed (yes, a bed) at the uber-trendy Tribeca. The Gay Village is a big place and has room for all. Company Bar attracts an older, male crowd - many dressed up in leather and rubber, whilst Coyotes on the other hand attracts mainly women and hosts a range of themed nights. The Rembrandt and Churchills are proper Manchester pubs for the more mature crowd, meanwhile Napoleons, just round the corner, is very proudly the oldest pub in the village and is usually filled with the highest heels, biggest wigs and thickest lipstick!
Put on your Dancing Shoes
We’ve lost count of the number of awards Vanilla has won, and rightly so, for being in its own words “the lesbian Mecca of the north”. A fantastic place with great music all week. And for the boys, well why not try Cruz 101 (the clue is in the title) for some old-fashioned drinking, dancing and who knows what else? Head on down to Kink @ Sub101, this men only night takes place on the first Saturday of every month, with a dress code of rubber, leather uniform, lycra or even just your underwear! It's the biggest gay club in Manchester with so much energy it probably powers its own glitter balls: it really is Essential – three floors of dance, pop, funk and house. And thank the Manchester god for Poptastic, at Mutz Nutz – a haven of indie, cheesy chart and disco classics. Make sure you try out the shagtags there: the original and still, for many, the best. Gay clubbing wouldn't be complete without mentioning the naughty, but still very nice with it, Legends. This huge pleasure-spot has something for everyone, from the (relatively) well-behaved Dorothy’s Bar to wild and wonderful foam parties in the (men-only) Mineshaft. You know you want to...
Beyond the Village
There's more to Manchester than the Village. Take the Northern Quarter. It's stuffed full of cool bars such as Socio Rehab, Bluu or the funky, very now Mint Lounge. Visit the sumptuous Malmaison, or chic Obsidian... there's nothing else quite like them for making you feel like Audrey Hepburn for an hour or two. Then there's Cloud 23 at the Hilton on Deansgate: situated in the dizzying heights of the 23rd floor at Beetham Tower, it's even got its own express lift to whoosh you up to vodka martini heaven. Last, but by no means least, head across to the bar at Harvey Nichols, to enjoy a glass of very satisfying bubbly.
How much culture does one person need? However much, you're sure to find it in Manchester. The Palace Theatre is home to world-class shows and plays, as is the well-respected and much loved Royal Exchange Theatre (even if you don't fancy the play, check out the fabulous pod theatre). Then there's the Opera House, where you can catch smash hit musicals such as Chicago and Joseph, as well as smaller, more experimental venues such as the Contact Theatre, the Library Theatre, the greenroom, and the seriously stunning The Lowry. The Bridgewater Hall is a world-class venue for a wide range of music, regularly hosting concerts from the Hallé and BBC Philharmonic Orchestras. Even Dolly Parton has played here before! Don't forget to check out who's playing at the MEN Arena, which is used to being graced by stars such as Madonna, Elton, Kylie and Dame Shirley Bassey.

Reader Reviews
If you want cheesy music and fun people, make sure you go to Essential on a Friday night! There’s also nothing better than sitting outside by the canal enjoying the great food that Queer offers. The people just so friendly – I love Mancunians.
Glen – Manchester, 30/10/07

As well as enjoying a night out in the Gay Village, try and experience the café culture of Manchester, by watching the world go by in one of the many pavement cafés. Spirit and Via Fossa both play great music and offer a really relaxed atmosphere.
Natalie – Stockport, 29/10/07

Check out Company Bar – this male only bar attracts a slightly older crowd including bears and leather chaps. Manchester’s Gay scene is just so friendly and welcomes absolutely everyone.
Dave – Manchester, 29/10/07.
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