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5 best independent music venues in Manchester

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As the city’s students continue to navigate their new home, what better way to get accustomed to Manchester than embracing the live music scene. Manchester has an iconic music history and is filled with venues serving up sticky dance floors and the best new bands.

After a year of no live music, it’s great to see its return. aAh! Magazine rounds up some of the best venues in the city for you to check out.

Night & Day Café

Since opening in 1991 on Oldham Street, Night & Day Café has always been a creative hub for artists, musicians and creatives. The venue serves as a quirky cafe during the day and a bar at night. Regularly showcasing incredible bands and hosting club nights with an eclectic array of music from a wide range of DJs. The much-loved venue celebrates its 30th anniversary this November.

Night & Day Café, 26 Oldham St, Manchester M1 1JN.

The Peer Hat

Photography: Nick Alexander

Hidden behind an alley in the Northern Quarter, The Peer Hat is a hidden gem of the Manchester music scene. Expect an eclectic range of art strewn across the walls and a live DJ spinning an array of records. The venue is located downstairs and hosts bands most nights of the week. The Peer Hat also hosts Heart of Glass club night every last Saturday of the month which features the best of glam, punk and new wave such as Blondie and T.REX.

The Peer Hat, 14-16 Faraday St, Manchester M1 1BE.

The Deaf Institute

After nearly closing down last year due to covid, The Deaf Institute has been saved and is back open for business. The venue is spread across two floors, with the large music hall upstairs, offering up a selection of fantastic bevs, gigs and other events. It’s just a short walk from Manchester Met’s All Saints campus. Themed club nights regularly celebrate each decade, the next one being a 90s Club Anthems Party.

The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor St, Manchester M1 7HE.


Photography: Jody Hartley

YES has become a firm student favourite since opening back in 2018. The venue consists of four floors. The basement often hosts new bands and the Pink room offers up some of the best touring talents. As well as music, YES has delicious pizza and vegan grub by Döner Summer on the menu. They also do buy one cocktail and get another for just £1 every weeknight on the roof terrace.

YES, 38 Charles St, Manchester M1 7DB

Band on the Wall

Another great Northern Quarter venue, Band on the Wall is set to reopen its doors in February 2022 after a massive renovation project and expansion. Over the years the venue has hosted Manchester icons such as Joy Division, The Fall and The Buzzcocks on its stages. It also functions as a charity, helping to support local musicians with the cost of equipment and provide young people access music lessons. They also run the World of Music programme featuring weekly online and in-person choir rehearsals based at Halle St Michaels, Ancoats, Manchester.

Band On The Wall, 27 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ.

The world of independent venues has suffered massively due to the pandemic and lack of funding. We can support grassroots venues by attending gigs and backing the Music Venue Trust. With tour season kicking off and an incredible number of musicians and bands out there for you to discover, it’s an exciting time to be a music lover in our city.

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Kiah-Azriel Freer

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