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13th February 2023

Canal Street and beyond: The highlights of Manchester’s gay scene

Manchester is home to the world famous Gay Village with various hotspots for a fabulous night out. Get the rundown on the gay scene and what bars to dance the night away to
Canal Street and beyond: The highlights of Manchester’s gay scene
Canal Street – Photo: Esme Jackson @ The Mancunion

With LGBTQ+ history month upon us, where better to spend it other than in Manchester’s infamous Gay Village: Canal Street and beyond. From bars to clubs to cafes, Manchester has it all when it comes to safe spaces for the Queer community in this city.  Making your way down Canal Street, there is a selection of bars and nightclubs to sink your teeth into. 

The New Union Hotel

First up we have the New Union Hotel, which has a show bar, club, and hotel.  New Union was one of the first openly gay venues in Manchester, established in 1860. The Hotel has something for everyone: pool and a quiet pint during the day, or a dance floor if you’re looking to dance the night away. 

Themed nights are hosted throughout the week including Karaoke, Bingo, The Slightly Late Show (a cabaret night on a Sunday) and my personal favourite Alternative Nights on a Thursday. All nights are hosted and DJ’d by Manchester’s notorious drag queens. Sometimes it can take a while to warm up, but once there’s a crowd, you’re guaranteed a good night. 

G.A.Y on Canal Street – Photo: Esme Jackson @ The Mancunion


Just over the way we have G.A.Y., one of the more well-known clubs in the Village. If you’re after some singalongs, then this may be the club for you. With two floors and a very large dance floor, G.A.Y is an institution in Manchester (and other cities). The cheesy tunes and cheap drinks keep flowing until the early hours of the morning making G.A.Y one of Manchester’s late-night destinations. 

The Brewers 

Down the other end of Canal Street, we’ve got The Brewers. With two floors, Brewers is well known in the Village for its legendary weekly student night: Filthy Gorgeous on a Tuesday. Arguably one of the best nights in Manchester. 

A host of Drag Queens from the House of Filth take to the stage every Tuesday with ever-changing weekly themes from Mario Kart to Filthy Airways to Disney Princesses. Throughout the night, the Queens take to the stage to perform sets choreographed to perfection. 

If you happen to find yourself in Brewers on any other night, don’t fear you as won’t be disappointed. Lit up with rainbow lights, Brewers is a safe bet for a good night with some great music and plenty of space on the dance floor to let loose. 

The Molly House – Photo: Esme Jackson @ The Mancunion

The Molly House 

A stone’s throw from Canal Street you’ll find The Molly House tucked away on Richmond Street. You’ll know you’ve found the right place when you see the large mural on the side of the building with five famous Queer icons including drag queen Anna Phylactic, feminist Emmeline Pankhurst, and scientist Alan Turing. 

The Molly House is a vintage pub in a three-storey terrace house, beautifully decorated and one of the more cosy spots in the Village. They serve a selection of wines, beers, cocktails, and tapas. The Molly offers an alternative experience to the bars and clubs in the Gay Village for the community. If you’re looking for a spot for a relaxed pint, this is the place to go. 

The Feel Good Club

Stepping slightly away from the Gay Village and into the Northern Quarter you will find The Feel Good Club on Hilton Street. You might have also seen their Sunday reminders series on Instagram or their iconic pink billboards around the city. The Feel Good Club has a more relaxed vibe, the perfect place for a coffee date, a catch up over brunch, or an after work cocktail. 

The coffee shop and bar is owned by wives Kiera and Aimie, who are on a mission to make everyone feel good. The Club aims to be a space where everyone feels safe, good, and comfortable being themselves. 

Not only are the vibes good, but the food rivals every brunch spot in Manchester, the cocktails are classic and iconic, and the cake, bakes, and cookies come from local independent bakeries with a daily treats board. 

That’s just a small selection of the Queer bars in Manchester. The city’s Gay Village has an extensive selection of spaces with somewhere and something for everyone.

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