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Manchester unplugged:

top music venues

Manchester is widely regarded as one of the world’s most important music cities. Over the years, it’s given us The Smiths, The Buzzcocks, The Chemical Brothers, Joy Division, Oasis – the list goes on. And while the city’s musical reputation is still commonly associated with 70s punk, 80s post-punk and 90s Britpop, there’s also a new generation of artists boldly picking up the Mancunian torch and proving just what England’s Northern capital can do. For those looking to catch the best up-and-coming artists in Manchester, pop down to one of these cutting-edge venues next time you’re in town.


The Night & Day Café

This laidback café/bar/live music hybrid is a favourite Manchester haunt for those looking to catch on-the-rise groups from the city and surrounding areas, as well as from farther afield. With shows scheduled nearly every day, expect to see local favourites alongside international acts.

The Deaf Institute

Another winning combination of café, bar and venue, The Deaf Institute has the additional bonus of occupying an old (you guessed it) deaf institute. The historic building features an outdoor terrace and its upstairs performance space feels like half disco, half attic – in the best possible way.


O2 Ritz

Though it’s a certifiable destination for global, high-profile acts, O2 Ritz also shows off Manchester’s hometown heroes. This venue is also made destination-worthy by its unique springy floor, which adds an extra bounce to your “dance” steps.

Ruby Lounge

Not quite inside the lively Northern Quarter, Ruby Lounge hosts some of Manchester’s best live shows. In addition to themed dance nights, it has given the stage over in the past to local up-and-comers like Ren Harvieu – a chanteuse who soulfully blends pop with classic ballads, as well as a selection of harder-rocking acts.

Image credits:

Ruby Lounge © Ruby Lounge

The Night & Day Café © The Night & Day Café

All other imagery © iStock