Five 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.

O2 Ritz

The o2 Ritz is situated right in the centre of the city, perfect for a night out on the town that won’t end until 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 future shows from talented the musicians the likes of  and Kate Nash. Not only is the venue famous for its live artists, it is also renowned for hosting popular events such as Propaganda or Erasmus Parties. Boasting a 1500 capacity venue, o2 Ritz provides a perfect mix of those smaller, more intimate shows whilst accommodating for a larger audience.


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. Catch the Best of James Bond or Last night of the Autumn Proms later this year.


The 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. Only two years ago, the chart dominating music duo twenty-one pilots that we know today 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. Celebrate your graduation at The Rad Grad Party or grab tickets for the 80s party GIRLS ON FILM every Saturday. Get there early to get the best spots near the front or the balcony!



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. With good food and good drink in hand, you can settle down to listen to your favourite band like Puddle of Mudd, or fuel up before dancing the night away to talented local DJs like Paleman and Walton.


Band on the Wall

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. Don’t miss out on the Craig Charles Funk & Soul night or Scotland favourites Skerryvore.


Ryan Noakes