Pre-season Guide to the Best of Manchester’s Clubs

Manchester loves making claim to the nation’s best nightlife. Soon, the city will be revived with students returning to or starting their degrees mid-September and will be throwing parties all over the place to take care of this fact.
Posted: 11 September 2018 Words: William Baldwin-Pask

Guide to the newest club entrants on the bustling Manchester live music scene.

Manchester loves making claim to the nation’s best nightlife. Soon, the city will be revived with students returning to or starting their degrees mid-September and will be throwing parties all over the place to take care of this fact. Since this time last year, the city’s club structure has changed in some ways and is same-old-same-old in others. But just what should you be looking out for in the seasons to come? The formidable Warehouse Project will once again dominate Instagram stories, although for the last time in its location under the Piccadilly arches. For its final year in Store Street, the organisers have rehashed line-ups from the previous two years with the names as big as ever. Techno giants like Dixon, Seth Troxler and Nina Kraviz will surely be no less impressive than when they are spinning in Detroit or Berlin. But for most people, a Warehouse Project is one of those things you have to go to once or twice but no more than that. It’s more spectacle than experience and certainly a hassle. Thankfully, there are enough cheaper, shorter, better-lit alternatives to stop you feeling bad for missing one. Hidden is celebrating its third year and now unquestionable status as the student and raver favourite. Back in its baby-step days, it garnered support for being a loud but cosy affair. With an expansion of two more rooms, increasingly famous headliners and the closure of some competitors, the club grew into Manchester’s finest. There’s no denying they have the best sound system around and immersive interior décor to match, which pretty much makes up for the higher ticket prices (most well publicised nights cost between 15 and 20 pounds). It may have lost its intimacy, but Hidden still has enough of its original charm to be, for the time being at least, the city’s most fail-safe night out. The venue possibly challenging Hidden for the best club title right now is the White Hotel. The past few years have not been kind to Manchester students’ favourite shoe-dirtier clubs. The closure of Sankeys followed by Antwerp Mansion brought an end to well-established cheap, easy dancing spots guaranteed to ruin your footwear. But now the sticky void left by Sankeys and Antwerp looks like it’s pretty much been filled by White Hotel. Favouring the heavier sides to dance music, this club’s debut year was marked by big bookings – Helena Hauff, Ben UFO – and the best of the up and coming DJs. They’ll be looking to expand on this whilst not sacrificing their appeal, which lies in the endearingly grotty setting and cheap tickets. Expect to see crowds shifting away from Hidden to this relatively new dancehall of darkness. Joining the White Hotel in the Strangeways area is the Partisan Collective on Cheetham Hill. This is a ‘radical space’ that accommodates debates and yoga primarily but has recently revealed its potential for effective club nights. Setting an impressive precedent in August with an all night long pairing of Objekt and Call Super, the Partisan Collective hosted a well-received party that is definitely worth repeating. With Partisan, White Hotel and Hidden all within 5 minutes of each other, a real sweet spot is forming just north of the city centre. For a messy one, look no further than here. YES is a new venue yet to formally open, set up by band promoters Now Wave in partnership with know-hows from established Manchester venues. YES will be a four-storey performance space, which one can imagine will draw loads of quality given the experience of its owners – they’ve already made a good start their first big booking, Yussef Dayes of Yussef Kamaal, playing in late September. They have also guaranteed regular club nights, and with four floors and a roof terrace to play with, this can only end well. As new clubs emerge and old ones die, some stalwarts seem so well-versed in putting nights on that they are becoming cornerstones of Manchester itself. Gorilla, Soup Kitchen and Joshua Brooks have been the most consistent clubs for years and still insist on being affordable. A look at their upcoming line-ups suggests they’ve all but guaranteed their ongoing statuses as night out certainties. Taken with the positive additions to Manchester’s nightlife, these venues are painting a reassuring picture of the state of the city’s clubs. The city that boasts the nation’s best night out seems, for the time being at least, to be in very safe hands.

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