Situated on the fringes of the Northern Quarter, this recently revived venue lacks the associated precociousness. The jukebox is one of the best in the city
Up until recently, Gullivers offered a gleefully shambolic room for hire above a similarly rough and ready pub. In 2013, the venue was purchased and refurbished by those behind The Castle, which sits over the road. Without alienating the regulars, it reopened in a much finer state, and with much better ales. The gig room upstairs is now a subtly lit, quietly elegant space for an indie gig, club night or even live theatre. It’s now a world away from its previous state, which was known for its boiling temperatures and a small occupation of live bats in the ceiling.
The tail end of Oldham Street deviates from the rest of the Northern Quarter in that many of its pubs, including The City and The Crown and Kettle have yet to be gentrified into the NQ’s standards. Gullivers, more so than The Castle, is a sort of middle ground, with a genuinely offbeat crowd mixing with the pub’s more seasoned regulars. The walls are littered with alternative rock posters and memorabilia, with one of the city’s strongest, most varied jukeboxes providing the soundtrack. Expect to hear The Smiths, Inspiral Carpets and other Manchester classics mixed in with reggae, soul and more.
Gigs upstairs usually cost between a fiver and a tenner, and as well as local promoters such as Now Wave hosting up-and-coming international acts, there are usually local showcases with three or four bands on the bill, as well as the occasional punk or ska all-dayer. Gullivers is one of the more idealistic venues in the city in terms of genuinely off-the-radar, uncommercial music, and anyone slightly put out by the Northern Quarter’s perceived bearded precociousness might well feel at home here. The drinks selection isn’t the widest in the city, but served well and cheaper than most.
109 Oldham Street