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Manchester has been christened Europe's Dance Capital, as they really do know how to party, particularly over Pride weekend. Manchester boasts more gay households per capita than any other in the UK city apart from London - way over the national average. OutUK correspondent Adrian Gillan hits Manchester and can't resist where else but Canal Street, arguably the gayest street on Earth - amidst Earth’s most perfectly-proportioned queer quarter!

SIGHTS

But first, on arrival - before all-things-gay - do take a quick look around! Browse Manchester Cathedral, Manchester Town Hall and the City Art Gallery; or jump a tram to renovated Salford Quays for The Lowry arts centre and Imperial War Museum North.

Catch a play or show at the Royal Exchange Theatre or Palace Theatre. Definitely hear a concert at the state-of-the-art Bridgewater Hall, home to the world-renowned Halle Orchestra, oft under the baton of Sir Mark Elder, and offering an eclectic programme to suit all tastes, all year round. Shop at the mammoth Arndale Centre; or eat well in China Town.

Imperial War Museum North
Imperial War Museum North at Salford Quays.
Courtesy: Marketing Manchester
Enjoy the Manchester United Museum & Tour and National Football Museum). Then, wait for it boys: that world-famous scene!

MANCHESTER PRIDE
Manchester Pride is an LGBTQ+ charity which campaigns for equality; challenges discrimination; creates opportunity for engagement & participation; celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life; and fundraises to enrich and empower LGBTQ+ organisations, charities and communities throughout Greater Manchester. Highway Police Car at Pride
Pride Contributors drive a Highway Patrol Police Car
Photo: ilbusca
They deliver an annual programme of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans + events throughout the North-West. This includes the Manchester Pride Spring Benefit, a year-round calendar of art & culture events, and their flagship Pride events.
Manchester Pride
Manchester Pride in all its glory - I Robertson
CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Manchester Pride is one of the UK's leading LGBTQ+ charities. Their vision is a world where LGBTQ+ people are free to live and love without prejudice. They’re part of a global Pride movement celebrating LGBTQ+ equality and challenging discrimination.

The Manchester Pride Festival takes place in the heart of Manchester's city centre and is an award winning event celebrating LGBTQ+ life. This year it takes place between Wednesday 24th August and Bank Holiday Monday 29th August 2022. Manchester Pride Festival is a ‘party as protest’. They're a part of the largest LGBTQ+ liberation movement in the world, celebrating queer people, culture and expression as loudly & publicly as possible in a refusal to hide in shame.

The current lineup includes: THE GAY VILLAGE PARTY the ultimate LGBTQ+ street party celebration from Friday 26th to Monday 29th; THE PRIDE PARADE with a theme this year of March for Peace on Saturday 27th; ESSENTIAL SUPERCLUB back as the OFFICIAL Saturday night party on 27th August with super hot dancers, muscle boys, confetti and CO2 cannons; THE CANDLELIT VIGIL which is free and closes the bank holiday weekend on Monday 29th with a moment of reflection in Sackville Gardens; SUPERBIA WEEKEND a series of arts and culture events from Wednesday 24th to Sunday 28th; HUMAN RIGHTS FORUM bringing together prominent activists and thought-leaders to discuss the challenges that continue to face LGBTQ+ communities today; YOUTH PRIDE MCR a free-to-attend event especially curated for the younger members of our LGBTQ+ family on Sunday 28th and FAMILY PRIDE MCR with events suitable for little ones taking place all weekend from Saturday 27th to Monday 29th August 2022.

Manchester Pride is famous for tens of thousands of people coming together to celebrate, with pride, some of the biggest names in music and entertainment. The Parade on Saturday normally has around 150 entries, and over 4000 colourful participants and is for many, the highlight of The Manchester Pride Festival. The city is turned into a kaleidoscope of colour, as floats and marchers weave their way throughout the city centre in front of tens of thousands of spectators who are out to show their support to the LGBTQ+ communities. Superbia aims to support, curate, fund and celebrate LGBTQ+ life across Greater Manchester with debate, film, comedy, literature, music, sport, theatre, family and community-led projects.

The Candlelit Vigil on Bank Holiday Monday evening sees Sackville Gardens turned into a sea of flickering candles as the community takes a moment to remember those lost to HIV and reflect on the stigma that even now still exists. The gardens are the home of Alan Turing's statue and memorial, The National Transgender Memorial and the Beacon of Hope. Manchester Metro's Pride Tram
Manchester Metro's Pride Tram
Photo: Michael McNiven
The vigil provides a space to remember those close to us who may no longer be alive and presents an opportunity to stand together in a united front as we recognise the many challenges that still exist and on an everyday basis face LGBTQ+ communities from Manchester and around the world.

SCENE

Whether you are in Manchester for Pride or there at any other time of the year there's always lots to enjoy. Here are some of our top tips to check-out, although there's a lot else besides!

The New Union in Princess Street, of Queer As Folk fame, is an earthy punters’ pub which has strived more recently to revert to its former gay glory days so crowds of come-and-be-cool hens aren’t bumping the froth off your beer! An equally established option is the Rem Bar in nearby Sackville Street, just along the canal – now all modern with a spacious bar.

Those happiest to just sip-and-stare-and-sip in a comfy local can safely hang out in The Goose. Catering to more dragged-up glitzy, cheesy tastes, check out friendly New York, New York in Bloom Street. Via boasts a busy, sprawling Gothic-themed wooden interior.

On Bar is an all day venue from lunch food and drinks to early hours of the morning, with up to the minute sounds & a bespoke cocktail menu. It's operated by the gay club promotion company Orange Nation.

If you are out to eat then try the nearby bohemian and rather swish Velvet which is both a restaurant and hotel - it's great food and their rooms are wonderfully decorated in different styles.

Canal Street Manchester
Canal Street. Courtesy: Marketing Manchester
Napoleons is a very established venue in Manchester's Gay Village. It is open five nights every week (Wednesday to Sunday) until very late, with a host of nights to suit everyone. The Eagle Bar offers a unique experience for MEN from all over the UK and beyond. Each of the different segments of this incomparable venue aims to explore the depths of your mind, and promises to deliver a diverse night out in a relaxed enviroment.

In a lighter vein, Company Bar is designed for gay men to visit after work for a relaxing drink before the trip back home with a happy hour drink offer going on late into the evening. Within the same building The Molly House serves up real ales, beers, wines and spirits alongside fresh, authentic Spanish and South American tapas.

Cruz 101 Manchester
Cruz 101. Courtesy: Apex - Cruz 101
All that's enough to set you dancing? Cruz 101 in Princess Street is Manchester's longest-running gay club - a real stalwart, arts ‘n all, busy all-week-round. It's a wonderful place to go dancing and frankly what Queer As Folk was really all about. It's open from Wednesday to Sunday and offers a range of Gay clubbing nights with music policies from Pop & Chart to Vocal & Commercial House.

Bar Pop right in the heart if the village on Canal Street is a classic bar food & a full drink menu, dancing, & live shows, in a buzzy space with coloured lights.

Close by on Sackville Street is The Thompsons Arms which boasts an array of classic cocktails with moody lighting, lounge seating and events.

Across the village many other tastes are catered for with gay bars such as: Churchills on Chorlton Street, Centre Stage which is halfway down Bloom Street, and back on Sackville Street where you'll find EVA & Lounge by EVA.

For all your shopping needs there's Clone Zone which opened its first shop right here! For something even more steamy don't forget to check out the Basement Sauna in Tarriff Street, it's just a short distance away.

PLACES TO STAY

Adrian stayed at the stylish, modern 4-star Novotel Manchester Centre, slap-bang in the middle of Manchester, near all scene and sights. There is a wide choice of accommodation including both hotels and apartments in the city centre and you can get the best prices at our hotel partners Booking.com.

THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK

Bar Pop (10 Canal St; T: 0161 236 0446; Website)
Basement Sauna (18 Tarriff Street; T: 0161 236 9664; Website)
Centre Stage (51 Bloom St; facebook)
Churchills (37 Chorlton St; T:0161 236 5529; facebook)
Clone Zone (36-38 Sackville Street; T: 0161 236 1398; Website)
Company Bar (28 Richmond St; T: 0161 237 9329; Twitter)
Cruz 101 (101 Princess St; T: 0161 237 1544; Website)
Eagle Manchester (15 Bloom St; T: 0161 228 6669; Website)
EVA & Lounge by EVA (27 Sackville St; T: 0161 278 8882; facebook)
Manchester Pride (Manchester City Centre; Website)
Napoleons (35 Bloom St; T: 0161 236 8800; Instagram)
New York, New York (94 Bloom Street; T: 0161 236 6556; Website)
Novotel Manchester Centre (21 Dickinson Street; T: 0161 619 9003; Website)
On Bar (46 Canal St; T: 0161 207 2107; Website)
Rem Bar (33 Sackville Street; T: 0161 236 1311; Website)
The Goose (29 Bloom Street; T: 0161 236 1246; Website)
The Molly House (26 Richmond St; T: 0161 237 9329; Website)
The New Union (111 Princess Street; T: 0161 228 1492; Website)
The Thompsons Arms (23 Sackville St; T: 0161 228 3012; Website)
Velvet (2 Canal Street; T: 0161 236 9003; Website)
Via (28-30 Canal Street; T: 0161 236 6523; Website)

For general info on Manchester: visitmanchester.com
There's a detailed guide to Canal Street: canal-st.co.uk
Manchester Pride runs every year, late August: manchesterpride.com
Manchester Piccadilly is just 2 hours away from London Euston by Omio Trains: omio.com

Revised July 2022.

 

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