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Manchester Gig Guide: Here's a breakdown of the best live music venues in the city

Manchester has always been at the forefront of the UK's hottest music, and these five venues prove why.

Manchester Gig Guide: Here's a breakdown of the best live music venues in the city

Manchester has been a hub of great live music for decades, seeing the rise of global sensations like The Smiths and Oasis, and that reputation still holds true in the fantastic venues the city offers.

O2 Ritz

Inside the O2 Ritz

The O2 Ritz is situated right in the centre of the city, perfect for those nights that don't plan on finishing until the early morning. 

Built in 1928, the Grade II venue has been home to notable music legends for nearly a century. Stars like The Beatles and Frank Sinatra have graced their halls, with world's hottest rising stars still playing their stage nearly every night.

Not only is the venue famous for its live artists, it is also renowned for hosting popular events such as Propaganda or Erasmus Parties, easily hosting the masses with it's 1500 capacity.

O2 Ritz provides a perfect mix of those smaller, more intimate shows whilst accommodating for a larger audience.

Bridgewater Hall

Outside the Bridgewater Hall

If you’re more of an orchestral buff, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester’s international concert venue might be more your style.

Located just outside of the city centre, the hall is home to the BBC Philharmonic, as well as the Hallé and the Manchester Camerata.

The acoustics of the building were designed to give the audience the best possible listening experience, with the entire building resting on isolation bearings to insulate it from outside noise – the first concert hall to be built with such technology. 

Bridgewater sees a hugely diverse range of acts visit to play it's rooms, including musicians from all over the world from the taiko drummers of Japan to tribute acts, choirs, orchestras and spoken word. 

The Deaf Institute

Inside Deaf Institute

The Deaf Institute, a Grade II venue found close to the universities, is a bar come gig venue that has been to known to see the start of many famous artists. In fact, only two years ag the chart dominating music duo twenty one pilots played here to just 300 people.

Built in 1878, the Deaf Institute has always been on top of some of the hottest music in the country, with its three separate floors offering a variety of entertainment from gigs, to club nights and even comedy.


Inside Gorilla in Manchester

If you head down underneath the train tracks on Whitworth St, you’ll come across Gorilla, a Bar, Kitchen, Venue and Club.

Whatever you need on your night out, Gorilla will have. The central location is easy to get to (and get home from) with great transports links and landmarks nearby.

The venue is a favourite for huge travelling artists host small show, with pop icon Kylie Minogue recently playing an intimate show before her world tour, and it provides the perfect place to refuel before and after a show with the bar and kitchen so nearby. 

Band on the Wall

Outside Band on the Wall in Manchester

Band on the Wall’s the name is taken from back into the buildings history when acts were quite literally suspended on a platform halfway up the wall to make room in the busy pub.

In the 70’s the venue found itself in the middle of Manchester’s famous punk scene when legends like Joy Division and Buzzcocks graced their stage.

In 2009 the band was recognised by the Brecon Jazz Festival as one of 12 venues that had made important contributions to jazz in the UK.

Today, the Manchester landmark is known for its fantastically eclectic range of acts, from blues to reggae to international music. 

Written by
Kestra Walker
4th July 2017
Updated: 14th June 2018