Skip to main content

17th May 2022

Celebrating post exams: Manchester bar crawls

Congratulate yourself on surviving the deadlines, tests and essays of university exam season with a bar crawl through best student bars in Manchester
Celebrating post exams: Manchester bar crawls
Photo: Southside Tequila Bar, Annabel Benton @ The Mancunion

The end of exam season is in sight! That means it’s bar crawl season. Despite being a more expensive option for a night out, bar crawls are great for exploring different venues, drinks, and your limits. They’re great for big groups, especially in fancy dress.

The Mancunion has mapped out two routes for bar crawls – one in the student hub in the South and the other towards Manchester’s centre. So, wherever you live, you’re sorted for inspiration.

Withington and Fallowfield:

Photo: Withington to Fallowfield route, Google Maps

The first bar crawl we’ve designed includes seven bars from Withington to Fallowfield. Being in such a popular student area, you can guarantee cheap drinks and a promising atmosphere.

Starting in Withington, stop one is Southside Tequila Joint. Perhaps the priciest venue on our list, it’s a great place for a treat post-exam season. Plus with it being a tequila joint, you’ll need to pace yourself anyway. There’s a good selection of tequila-based cocktails, as well as £1 tacos and loaded nachos for lining your stomach. Head downstairs for a game of darts and a mini-bar.

The second stop on our crawl is Fuel, also in Withington. Fuel is a vegetarian restaurant and music venue, with various drinks available. With it being relatively small, it’s worth visiting at the start of your crawl before the venue gets busy.

Next, you can either take a five-minute bus or fifteen-minute walk to stop three: The Friendship Inn. Friendship is a classic cheap drinking spot for the student community, with outdoor seating for warm evenings.

Photo: Annabel Benton @ The Mancunion

Another Fallowfield bar worth a visit is Nest, a lively venue opposite the big Sainsbury’s. Nest has two for £5 cocktail offers, great for keeping the bar crawl budget down.

The Fallowfield bars continue up Wilmslow Road with 256 and Studio Bar. Both offer outdoor seating and cheap drinks, and are handily found next door to each other. This makes them the perfect venues for the second half of the bar crawl, where energy might be running low. 256 has particularly low prices, multiple seating areas and an interesting interior.

By 10pm 256 ‘transforms’ into a club – by that I mean the bouncers kick you out of the garden and they turn up the music. If dancing with three middle-aged men isn’t for you, just head next door.

Studio has more of a pub atmosphere with pool tables if you’re wanting to start some friendly challenges. Although be warned they don’t sell food, so no chips I’m afraid.

Our final stop on the list is Squirrels, because where else would you finish up in Fallowfield? The fresher’s bar might not be the favoured place for students after first year, yet you can’t argue with the ridiculously cheap drinks (£2 cocktails anyone?).

They have pool tables, darts, and even a laundrette! It may look like an ugly youth centre filled with 18-year-olds, but it’s an easy way to end the night. Simply drink away the rest of booze budget and reminisce about your fresher golden days.

Route: Southside > Fuel > Friendship Inn > Nest > 256 > Studio > Squirrels

University of Manchester to the city centre:

Photo: Manchester City centre route, Google Maps

The second bar crawl we’ve designed is a more central option, meaning the drinks will probably be pricier and nicer. This route begins at the UoM Student’s Union’s 532 Bar, perfect for those who’ve just finished exams and want to celebrate asap. The SU also has lots of good offers and student friendly prices.

As does stop number two: Kro Bar. Kro is a student favourite, with lots of seating both inside and on Oxford Road. It has a bit more of a homey cafe-bar vibe too. You’re also less likely to be surrounded by students.

As you walk along Oxford Road towards Manchester city centre, stop off at venue number three Brewdog for a cheeky pint of craft beer. If you’re feeling worn down, fill yourself up with some Brewdog grub, including burgers and chips.

The following walk is slightly shorter, as you pass through three universities to reach The Deaf Institute. Although best known for its intimate live music and themed club nights, the independent venue has a spacious bar area, as well as vegan curry if you’re already needing some sustenance.

Stop five on the list is Hatch, an outdoor venue only a minutes walk from The Deaf Institute. There’s a selection of independent drinks retailers on offer on the online ordering service, meaning there’ll be something for everyone at whatever strength seems sensible. Though, with the venue being outside, maybe bring a jacket.

After enjoying the atmosphere in Hatch, take a trip to The Courtyard. As the unofficial Manchester Met bar, the venue has tons of space as well as a jukebox machine to get the tunes flowing. Despite being closer to central Manchester, the prices here are still ideal for students.

Photo: Annabel Benton @ The Mancunion

The final two spots take the bar crawl into central Manchester, and are my suggestions for places to treat yourself with something fancier. You could really finish up anywhere after reaching the top of Oxford Road, however I’d suggest passing through YES. YES is a four floor bar and club with both food and drink options – a great place to let loose near Gay Village.

Finally, if you’re still up for one final walk, Escape to Freight Island is a fitting venue for finishing a celebratory bar crawl in style. The huge converted freight depot has multi-layered seating areas, seven different bars and the occasional live entertainment. Even if it’s not for a bar crawl, I’d recommend a visit with a group of friends (you can find it next to The Warehouse Project).

Route: 532 > Kro Bar > Brewdog > Deaf Instute > Hatch > Courtyard > YES > Escape to Freight Island


Hopefully we’ve given you some inspiration for how to relax with friends after the end of exams, whether it be for a full bar crawl or just a couple of drinks. Either way, its always a good idea to plan some fun post-exam activities to give you the motivation to get through the deadlines!

Annabel Benton

Annabel Benton

Co-Culture Managing Editor at The Mancunion // Twitter: @AnnabelBenton_

More Coverage

Three years at university: What have I learnt?

As the academic year draws to a close, here are some of the more unexpected lessons I have learnt from three years at Manchester University

How do we tackle the student loneliness crisis?

At a university where 45,000 students cross paths every day, it should be impossible to feel lonely

Keeping on top of the news cycle: How to stay up to date as a student

Being a student can mean an incredibly busy schedule, so how can you make time to find out what’s happening in the world?

Houseplant heaven: The best plants to brighten up your student home

With the RHS Urban Show coming to Manchester, we’ve found some of the best houseplants to enhance your student accommodation