A bit of mystery is cool. Every city has its secrets – and Manchester is definitely no exception. When you first arrive in a new city it’s sometimes a good idea to explore and get lost. Because, when you look up, you discover things even locals haven’t found – locals don’t tend to look up enough. Those little backstreet, hard to find but life-changing places known only by the discoverer.
Manchester nightlife has some great little secrets tucked away, from members only drinking dens to small underground rock ‘n’ roll bars. So if you’re tired of the big city joints, then check out our list of the best hidden bars in Manchester. They’re not all secret or even hidden; mostly just unassuming, quirky or quaint.
Sorry for ruining your secret. Soz.
1Under New Management
Formerly named Corridor, this one was voted one of the hardest bars to find in the world – the perfect drinking den if you fancy a challenge. Hidden away down a discreet back alley in the Chapel Street area of Salford, the hard-to-find Under New Management is a late night speakeasy bar with smashingly creative cocktails, a cool crowd and excellent resident DJs playing late into the night every weekend.
6 Barlow’s Croft, Salford, Manchester, M3 5DY
Corbieres Wine Cavern is a hidden gem of a Manchester bar and one for the little black book of impressing your friends. Discreetly located down an access only side street of St Mary St (near St Ann’s Square), descend the stairs to find a cavernous drinking den with a buzzing atmosphere. Oak barrels, a cave-like roof and splendid lighting add to the feeling of drinking in a rather special place in Manchester. The icing on the cake here is the jukebox which certainly ranks highly in the Manchester jukebox stakes.
2 Half Moon Street, Manchester, M2 7PB
A crafty subterranean drinking den on Bridge Street heading towards Salford. An underground space, in a building that used to be a children’s mission, is a beautifully white tiled Victorian cellar – which, although having the feel of a butcher’s slaughter room, is not a reason to be put off.
50 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BW
4Dogs & Dough
Situated down a small side road at the Albert Square-end of Cross Street is a very cool, New York style entrance to Dogs & Dough. This quirkily titled joint offers gourmet hot dogs and pizzas with a side of craft beers, cocktails and crisp music in an underground setting. Want to get tipsy thriftily? Try their £4.50 cocktails! Alternatively, order a bottle of prosecco and two hot dogs for just £25.
Bow Lane, Manchester, M2 4JN
Hidden away from the city hustle and bustle, Épernay Manchester is a spectacular little secret. In the up and coming area of Petersfield (Great Northern), Épernay Manchester boasts a beautiful balcony overlooking the square and surrounding areas where seating is available all year round. Here, you can enjoy the taste of world class champagne or, if you prefer, any one of many expert cocktails.
Unit 1a, Great Northern Tower, Watson St, Manchester M3 4E
Suave. Vintage. Oozing cool. And that’s just the Northern Quarter. Hidden above Rosylee is the newest hidden gem: The Fitzgerald speakeasy bar. With suitably attired 1920’s staff and decor, the whole place echoes the prohibition era where the likes of Gatsby ran the show. Elegant and cool with a huge selection of drinks, this cocktail bar is exclusive yet welcoming. But remember, it’s our dirty little secret.
11 Stevenson Square, Manchester , M1 1DB
7The Liquor Store
8Dusk Til Pawn
9The Milton Club
Hidden away on a Northern Quarter back street, it would be easy to walk past Montpellier’s without ever realising it was there. With not much to give it away from the outside, this hidden gem of a cafe bar rewards the curious visitor with two higgledy piggledy floors of great food, fantastic wine and cool rustic decor.
Back Turner Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1FR
More of a hidden gem than a secret bar, Lock 91 deserves its place on the list for constantly surprising us with innovative events, unique offerings, cool crowds and great interiors. A stand out joint, in what is a largely commercial bar strip, this late night lounge is a cosy hideaway that’s fun and lively, yet chilled out and stylish.
Kraak Gallery is renowned for creating live music and art events in a custom built space nestled deep in the city’s Northern Quarter. Kraak gallery opens to the Manchester house and techno following with underground parties that don’t need an invite. The mysterious Kraak gallery does its best to convince you it doesn’t exist, but when you find it you realise the importance of keeping it secret and safe.
The Alleyway, 11 Stevenson SQ, Northern Quarter
Sandwiched between Kosmonaut and The Whiskey Jar on Tarrif Street, El Capo has an infectious vibe. This understated Mexicana bar, now part of the northern quarter neighbourhood, only opened earlier this year and has already established a crowd. It’s authentic and has some experienced clout behind the bar. They have some decent craft beers; try a Cave Creek Chilli Beer.
12 Tariff St. NQ Manchester
Formerly The Temple of Convenience, is a strange little bar with a great atmosphere. You’ll find it on your left down some stairs if you head from the Cornerhouse to St Peter’s Square. The Temple is definitely a conversation starter. The fact that it’s a Victorian Toilet transformed into a Quirky Baronly adds to its charm. It is one of Manchester’s smallest bars, very popular due to a vast array of foreign bottled beers (with a few others on tap for good measure) and a jukebox packed with some amazing Manchester bands, many of whom frequent The Temple. The intimate seating plans encourages a relaxed and sociable atmosphere.
100 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester, M1 5JW
15Twenty Twenty Two (TTT)
Formerly spelt 2022NQ, Twenty Twenty Two is a unique music, arts, bar and ping pong space in the heart of the Northern Quarter in Manchester. Heading towards Tarrif Street off DaleStreet, have a peek down the back street to a discreet, what looks to be an loading access. It’s a creative space with a bar hosting a pingpong room, late night dancing, and exhibitions – an event space for hire.
20 Dale St, northern quarter, Manchester M1 1EZ
Cask is quite simply beer drinker’s heaven. Located in the heart of Castlefield, opposite the Science & Industry Museum on Liverpool Road, you’d be forgiven for not noticing this friendly little bar with it’s unassuming exterior. Squeeze through the tiny doors however and you’ll find a lively place crammed with everybody from businessmen unwinding at the end of their hard day’s work to unpretentious celebs revising their scripts over a bottle of import beer or two (in the Granada days). With a vast selection of imported ales, the beer list is without doubt the most comprehensive in town.
29 Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4NQ
17The First Floor Bar, Cane & Grain
The First Floor Bar within Cane & Grain is a much more subtle affair. Think PDT and Little Branch in NYC, antique glassware, copper bar tops, homemade bitters and syrups, world class bartenders, sit down only – a relaxed hideaway with a constantly evolving cocktail list.The Rib Joint’s full food menu is available for order in the bar. Find the door & relax with the best cocktails this side of New Orleans.
49 – 51 Thomas Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1NA
Manchester’s most secret bar. A bar that is foremost a laundrette. The WashHouse is one launderette you’ll want to visit. When you find The WashHouse (I’m not telling you where it is, as finding it is all part of the fun) ignore the guy as you walk in. Walking through that washing-machine-door is a very Narnia-esque experience in itself. You arrive at The WashHouse – a well refined, dark, leather cladded, table service speakeasy. The cocktails are as naughty as the dirty deep house orchestrated by the DJ in the corner. And as good as any other discerning cocktail bar in Manchester. It’s difficult to believe why anyone would keep their lips sealed about this chic drinking den.
Shudehill, Manchester, somewhere.