The best live music venues in Manchester

best live music venues in manchester


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. Here are just five of what we believe to be the best live music venues in Manchester.

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 Ritz famous for its live artists – it is also renowned for hosting popular events such as Propaganda or Erasmus Parties, hosting the masses with its 1500-person 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 Bridgewater Hall is home to the BBC Philharmonic, as well as the Hallé and the Manchester Camerata. The acoustics of the Hall 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 has a hugely diverse range of acts visit to play its rooms, including musicians from all over the world from Japanese taiko drummers to tribute acts, choirs, orchestras and spoken word. It is undoubtedly the connoisseur’s choice of Manchester live music venues.

The Deaf Institute

Inside Deaf Institute

The Deaf Institute, a Grade II listed venue found close to Manchester’s two universities on Oxford Road, is a bar-cum-gig venue that has been known to see the start of many famous artists. Only two years ago the chart-dominating music duo twenty one pilots played here to just 300 people.

Since opening as a gig venue, 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 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 transport links and landmarks nearby.

Gorilla is a favourite for large travelling artists hosting intimate shows, with pop icon Kylie Minogue recently playing an intimate show before her world tour. With the bar and kitchen attached, it also provides the perfect place to refuel before and after a show.

Band on the Wall

Outside Band on the Wall in Manchester

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

In the 1970s 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 Band on the Wall 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.

Now check out what’s happening at these Manchester gig venues!

You can look at all the upcoming shows at the above venues by using TickX, or check out live listings for the rest of Manchester here.

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