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GigPig's guide to indie venues: Manchester


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30 years of history and some of the biggest bands in the country passing through, making names for themselves and countless memories within these four walls on Oldham Street. Beloved doesn’t even come close to covering it. One of the finest gig venues not just in Manchester, but the entire UK.

YES Pink Room

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Just off Oxford Rd, the Pink Room has rapidly established itself as one of the top places to catch the most exciting indie gigs in Manchester over the last few years. A regularly packed calendar is paired with three more floors of boozing, dancing and scranning for revellers to immerse themselves in before and after their gig.

New Century Hall

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A blast from the past brought swinging into the 2020’s in scintillating style. Once the place to bear witness to the likes of Jimi Hendrix, now the hottest acts of the modern era are flocking to New Century for a new generation of fans to become obsessed with.

Albert Hall

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Not quite Royal, but still retaining grandeur aplenty and a plethora of top acts, both established and prodigious, Albert Hall is a pretty majestic space to take in a gig (or lose your mind at Bongo’s Bingo). Located on Peter St, Albert Hall’s proximity to another Albert, the Schloss variety, makes it one of the most perfectly situated venues in the city for some seriously big nights out.

The Ritz

The name may suggest old school glamour, but The Ritz in Manchester is actually old school rock ’n’ roll, housing some seriously sweaty sets over the years. A Grade II listed building and former ballroom, the dance floor is always bouncing, no matter who’s on stage. Although you can always rely on a few local favourites, such as Liams Gallagher and Fray, to generate some of the most monstrous reactions.


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Opposite The Ritz, Gorilla is always teeming with gig goers, with their upstairs venue constantly seeing crowds flock towards it as some of the hottest tickets in the city are handed over at the entrance. This Whitworth Street stronghold narrowly avoided closure at the start of Covid and is now thankfully thriving more than ever, with a calendar almost as rammed full as the gigs they host here. The bar downstairs is dangerously good, too.

Deaf Institute

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Let’s face it, more live music venues should be housed in old Gothic deaf and dumb institutes where the main room is akin to a Shakespeare theatre production where you can also sink cans of San Miguel. Deaf not only lays on some of the finest gigs in the city, but club nights like Girls on Film have also become the stuff of legend here.

The Castle Hotel

Even when one of Oldham Street’s finest isn’t turning out excellent indie gigs in their hallowed back room, they’re in possession of one of the world’s finest jukeboxes and exceptionally poured Guinness, so this is literally a can’t lose situation the second you step through their doors.

Manchester Academy

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Live music venue royalty. Deep in the heat of student country on Manchester’s Oxford Road, the Academy has long been one of the go-to establishments for all manner of touring bands and artists. A proving ground for newcomers and veterans alike, you can regularly find queues snaking out of its doors, always leading to some of the hottest crowds at any venue in any city in the country.

Band On The Wall

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A historic spot with centuries of memories, redesigned and revitalised for the modern generation, BOTW feels like the sort of venue that would survive a nuclear war. It’s been battered and bruised over the years, yet still remains vibrant and vital as ever. Gigs and club nights galore still light up the stage at this Ancoats institution, which has served as a showcase for some of the best music in the world for decades now. The recent £3.5m restoration has reinvigorated BOTW and breathed new life into one of Manchester’s most important venues.