Gnarly dive bar that hosts intimate gigs and counts a few Manchester music legends among its regulars
Housed between a florist and a kebab house, Big Hands is a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of place. A deceptively small entrance belies the Alice in Wonderland adventure that dwells within, where backstage passes and posters from bygone shows adorn the walls and are, in some parts, so dense that they may even be load bearing.
With a classic drinks menu (featuring ten types of bourbon and lashings of Euro and US lagers by the bottle) and staff with a will to get you drunk, the bar is a den of iniquity that’s as comfortable and homely as it is a genuine dive bar. Bands play, but they really shouldn’t; the main room is neither fitted with the auditory nor the spacial ability to house a ‘proper gig’. But Big Hands is the kind of place not to let that get in the way of a damn good night. They also have a terrace where they hold impromptu BBQs when the weather can be bothered turning up.
Ostensibly the house that Elbow built, the band are still regulars, as are I Am Kloot and any other band with an eye for a dark corner and a good pint. Its proximity to Manchester Academy makes it a popular option for post-gig drinkers, and for those who have just played seeking respite from the sterile walls backstage.
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296 Oxford Road