Visit some of Manchester's best gay bars whilst you're at Queer Contact
The eighteenth century equivalent of a gay bar, a Molly House was once a place where men could meet others like themselves, without fear of prosecution and public hanging. These days, the only worry is finding a space at the bar.
As the Manchester branch of the well-loved London nightclub, G-A-Y boasts a prime position within the city’s gay scene – both geographically, with its location in the centre of Canal Street, and in reputation, as one of the most popular bars of the area. That’s not to say it’s necessarily the best, but it’s certainly the king of the roost, enjoying a sturdy stream of trade throughout the week.
As the date bar of choice to many, TriBeCa has the right mix of Village influence without feeling like a typical gay bar, transporting you to New York with the cool aesthetic of its many jazz lounges and late night drinking dens.
Set within the heart of Manchester’s main gay area, Velvet is a boutique hotel, restaurant and bar that adds a touch of class to the revelry of Canal Street. As one of the few proper cocktails joints in the Village, Velvet has become a forerunner in luxurious drinking and canal-side dining.
Just shy of the main gay quarter, Sackville Lounge is part of the Village’s more refined elite, standing back from the main hyperactivity of Canal Street to usher in something a little more urbane.
This men-only basement bar opened just a few years ago but is a well-established addition to the Gay Village. While its doors open for a more sedate experience from 5pm daily (2pm on a Sunday), it really finds its crowd late into the night of a weekend.
Established back in 1998, Vanilla has become one of the UK’s leading bars within the LGBT scene. Claiming to be ‘where the girls are’, Vanilla is branded primarily as a lesbian bar, but the joint still enjoys a healthy and diverse mix of men and women despite the clientele being predominantly female.
Set right in the heart of Canal Street, Via is always a popular choice for those after something beyond the usual gay bar offerings. Attracting a slightly older crowd, it isn’t exactly classy, but in comparison to some of the camper bars nearby, it does offer a slightly more upmarket vibe.