Multi-purpose arts venue in Salford, where you can get involved with everything from yoga to club nights which, thanks to a 24-hour licence, can get very weird
*** Islington Mill is currently dealing with a serious issue around noise and neighbouring residents and as a result is running a severely reduced program with no club nights until further notice. ***
Having recently received a well-deserved £1 million grant from the Arts Council, Islington Mill has nonetheless been ticking along nicely for the past decade or so. A unique hybrid of gallery, club and studio spaces outside of the city centre (technically in Salford, it’s a 20 minute or so walk from Deansgate), it’s also the beating heart of Salford’s future-facing Sounds From The Other City festival.
The Mill, as it’s known locally, is not the sort of venue to pop into just for a drink. It opens only when needs be, and besides, you’d likely interrupt anything from a band rehearsal, a screen-printing session or a yoga class. There is, however, a rich and varied programme of events open to the general public, ranging from seasonal craft – the Christmas market is pretty unique – to regular life-drawing classes and percussion workshops.
As a club and gig venue, Islington Mill truly excels. Helped by a generally dedicated and up-for-it crowd who’ve taken the time to venture out of the city, not to mention a rare 24-hour bar licence, parties at Islington Mill are known to run until the sun’s up and beyond. Regular parties include Bohemian Grove, home of cutting-edge and underground house and techno, and the completely bonkers Gesamtkunstwerk, dedicated to boundary pushing experimental noise. The artsy venue also has links with New York queer performance artists Cheryl, whose glitter-fueled annual parties need to be seen and heard to be believed.
As you may have fathomed, Islington Mill is primarily an arts venue, rather than anything approaching a commercial club. Staff and security are more than friendly, but good behaviour is expected, and ensure you keep your voice down when standing in the courtyard. Drinks are cheap, the bar is well stocked and there are plenty of opportunities to chill out; including on a recently decommissioned dentist’s chair.