Saturday night. The Eurovision Song Contest is on the telly. The right time for a night out and my first visit to The Birdcage.

I’m not usually out on the town at the weekend so the trepidation on my face must have been evident as I made my way past the Saturday night revellers thronging The Printworks, promising myself I would put in a quick appearance to meet a friend who was celebrating her birthday, and be home well before midnight.

The flamboyant club, which opened in 2006, plays host to dazzling cabaret performances by drag artists, showgirls and showboys throughout the night. Bright showbizzy lights and exterior video walls give you an idea of what’s to come when you get inside, where the atmosphere is decidedly feminine.

The Birdcage’s predominantly female clientele meant there wasn’t a scent of testosterone when I arrived.  In fact, I was the only bloke in there – apart from the performers – until after 11pm.

It’s clearly a popular location for a hen night. The dress code is anything goes so there were plenty of nurses, sailors, pirates, angels and brides-to-be. I even spotted a posse of Where’s Wally characters.

Who needs Eurovision with this Vegas-style cabaret night out right here in Manchester? I Love Manchester

All this before the show started. And what a show it is. Headed up by the immaculately made-up resident drag artist DJ Miss Jay, the music is predominantly big hits from the 70’s/80’s/90’s that have the dance floor packed, interspersed with live cabaret featuring the Birdcage Starlets every 30 minutes, featuring great use of the obligatory dance poles on either side of the stage.

The range of cabaret and drag acts is absolutely fabulous with male and female dancers performing eye-poppingly choreographed dance routines, and featuring well-known songs by Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, Madonna, Liza Minnelli and The Spice Girls, and a hilarious nod to Sister Act performed by some erotic singing nuns.

Inhibitions are definitely lost in a truly let-your-hair-down kind of night. I was surprised to still find myself there four hours later, finally leaving at 2am with a smile on my face.

I can’t recommend it more. So why not get away from it all with Birdcage’s unique fusion of glitz and glamour? You might not meet your Prince (or Princess) Charming, but you will have one hell of a night to remember.

Visit their website here where you can pre-book your table to grab the best seats if you want to watch the show.

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