Manchester. So Far Up Its Own Arse It Hurts.

A long time fan of the city of Manchester tries to show the city off to his mates & ends up being embarrassed by the attitudes of some of the cities clubs.

I haven’t lived in Manchester since 1989, yet everytime I talk about where I’m from I’m proud of my Mancunian roots. This weekend my friends from London, where I’ve decamped to, are here to see the real second city and The Stone Roses show why Manchester was the centre of the universe over 20 years ago. Here is the story of the first night.

Delays on the trains from Euston is a common occurrence, but we met in the Lass O Gowrie at 10.30 to share in the wonder of Donkey Kong in the snug, the bizarre decoration and the friendly bar staff of one of Manchester’s finest establishments. All well and good so far. We’d printed off flyers to get in Factory for a penny before midnight. No age restrictions, and in light of the Roses gigs, the Madchester classics in room 1 were a great attraction to my Southern friends. At 11.30, we queued and immediately were told by the bouncers that we wouldn’t get in because we were too old. Despite the flyers, despite my patronage of the venue for gigs at weekends and despite the legendary all-inclusive policy of Factory Records.

Not deterred, Fifth Avenue was round the corner. No chance of getting in there either. Apparently on a Thursday night, the door policy is 80% student, and for the 20% you have to be, according to the bouncer, an attractive group of females.

After a quick pint in the still wonderful Garrett, we hitched a cab to Tiger Tiger. Despite being a soulless hole playing particularly terrible dance music, and refusing to play anything released over a few years ago, we did at least feel welcome. Although, £17.40 for two Jagerbombs was probably a bit excessive.

Fighting off the attentions of a couple of lovely young ladies in there, we headed to Mojo, which Twitter had advised us was somewhere we could all get in. Immediately, the female bouncer didn’t like the look of our sober friend, dressed in a checked shirt and cheapish looking glasses and refused to let him in because he was drunk, despite people struggling to stand being allowed in. He attempted to sneak in and tripped over an uneven stair entrance, which was apparently proof he was drunk, despite being an obvious health and safety hazard. This then formed a reason for our sober friend not to be allowed in.

The venue next door, once we decided to leave, seemed to be adopting an equally random door policy. If they liked the look of you, i.e. female with your tits out, then you got in. If you’re a single bloke or a group of blokes, you didn’t get in, and a random excuse was made up.

I’m proud of my city, where I was born and brought up. I was hoping to show my friends from Birmingham, London and Essex what a great open city it is. Tonight showed that it’s just as bad, if not worse, than anywhere else in the country. The door policies need to change and not be on the whim of some meathead or idiot on a power trip.

This weekend is all about showing off Manchester to be the greatest city on earth. Anyone out tonight experiencing the clubs and door policy would see it as exactly the opposite. If your pretty face fits, then you’re in. If not, then you’re out. I was ashamed of my city tonight.

All words David Brown. More articles by David can be found here.

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Having cut his teeth writing for Louder Than War, Dave set up his own blog Even The Stars and continues to make occasional contributions to Louder Than War. He also run Tim Booth from James' official website as well as the James fansite One Of The Three.


  1. The City still has some fab venues – if you’re still around on Sunday head to The Castle on Oldham Street – open till 12 and has live bands on in the back….Or Black Dog Ballroom underneath Afflecks if you want a dj.. Its open till 5am….Or The Thirsty ‘Squaller’ near the old Arches on Oxford Road facing The Palace Hotel…..Martin the Mod plays Ska all night and his funky dance moves – are enough to give anyone a good night..thats open till 3am……Tiger Lounge near Albert Square is a good night too but i’ve never been in on a Sunday…..I’m 38ish if that helps

    • We were last kicked out of the Castle on Friday night and a great night in South on Saturday as well as around the pubs in town both days. Thursday we just wanted something near the Days Inn, where my mates were staying, and of course as Factory, with the Hacienda connections, seemed like a decent option. It’s been great in there when i’ve stayed in at weekends after gigs, but won’t be going back in a hurry.

  2. That’s pretty laughable getting turned away from FAC251 for being ‘too old’, were any of your party older than Hooky? I presume he’s allowed in his own club?

    To be honest though, maybe you should wonder if maybe you are a bit old to be dancing to Madchester anthems in a student bar? You should have gone to The Castle, or Port Street Beer House, or 53 Thomas Street and had a great evening with the grown-ups.

  3. well i suggest you go back to london. you probably didnt get in because your all essex/ cockny wankers. oi oi oi etc fucking hate londoners which you are now

    • Joe,
      It’s ‘You’re all Essex/cockney wankers…
      Clearly the school system is no different than the bar/club life described in the text. Filled with poorly educated, useless, xenophobic benefit fraudulent dumb fuckers like yourself, with your
      shit breath and JD Sports lifestyle.

  4. You are obviously better off in London.
    We are definately better off, if you stay in London.
    You are out of touch and arrogant.
    London has that effect on people!

    Manchester, the heart & soul of the Uk.

    Twitter- Edna Clouds

  5. You should have gone to South Nightclub on South King Street-Always guaranteed a great
    night, even for us older kids who still love the tunes and dancing.

    • Is South open on Thursdays now? Thought it was just Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Had a great night in there last night with Clint DJing.

  6. Oh dear. Times have moved on as do clubs. Looks like you chose the wrong ones based on your out of touch knowledge or nostalgia. There are loads of places we can get in and enjoy at age 38.

  7. So in your view the Towns gone up its own arse because you and your mate got turned away from a few venues. Get a grip man

  8. So in your view the Towns gone up its own arse because you and your mates got turned away from a few venues. Get a grip man

  9. Christ. Some of the comments on here are almost justifying the post title. how small a box do you want?

    Manchester, one of the best cities in the world, but anyone who doesnt know the dodginess of some of the bouncers must of been going to a different city. Not a complaint, a fact.

    Stop acting like cunts and calling the author a cunt, who isn’t actually a cunt!

  10. Have to agree with Mike. The door policies have never changed and have always been that bad.

    Manchester is a brilliant night out but ‘know your audience’, each club has people it likes and people it doesn’t, you have to make sure you tick their boxes before you turn up or be prepared to get turned away.

  11. At what point in the article has the city gone up it’s own arse? That’s what i’d like to know. Because, all I’m reading about is a middle-aged buffoon trying to cling to the last remnants of his youth and ending up in Tiger-Tiger because he’s out of touch. That’s not the cities fault, that’s his fault. If anything, it’s him that’s gone up his own arse – Tiger-Tiger and 5th Av? Gimme’ a break.

    Yeah, a few bouncers turned you away from some clubs, so what? It happens to everyone – for a good reason or a ridiculous one we all know is bogus. Deal with it and stop being such a girl about it. I’ve been turned away from clubs in London, I don’t fuckin’ cry about it. And, I didn’t then subsequently base my decision upon an entire city ’cause of some fat idiot dressed in black with high-vis armbands.

    • I didn’t realise there was an age limit on going out to a club, must remember that and stay at home with my pipe and slippers and electric blanket. You missed out fat and bald in your description as well, remember that for next time.

  12. Thanks to those of you who made positive comments to the article. I know most of the places you’ve mentioned quite well – we ended up in the Castle on Friday night till kicking out time and South on Saturday (would have gone there Thursday but thought it was only Friday/Saturday/Sunday). Haven’t been in the Scholar since it got done up though.

    Joe – surprised you could even read my article with a response like that. You hate all Londoners. You need to get out more mate, broaden your horizons and learn how to punctuate a sentence.

    Dave Pye – the reason Manchester is the heart and soul of the UK is that it’s the most inclusive and open city in the country, accepting everyone and not judging people on race, age, sex, sexual persuasion. If your comments are your own parochial viewpoint, you’re the one that’s out of touch and arrogant.

    But glad to know a headline can still get such an emotional response from some people.

  13. i’m sure the shockwaves are still rippling across the city after your review

    oh i live in london and i expect the world to bend over and accommodate everything i do

    you’re a middle aged bloke trying to get in student clubs. what did you expect? ‘oh, the prodigal son has returned from the cultural epicentre of the planet. get him a microphone and tell the children to gather round. he’s sure to have some magical tales from his quest’. jesus christ.

    manchester is different because it feels different. ‘twitter told us we’d get in’. fuck off.. you’re an embarrassment, whatever roots you had have been left dry far too long. you should know better than to be googling ‘good nights in manchester’. it’s different here because you automatically get a sense of what’s going on. if you wanted to show people what’s great about the city then you shouldn’t be preparing for it like a stag do, looking on the internet for places that will let a bunch of sad-acts from out of town in. just go out and get on with it.

    if this night has led you to believe manchester’s got its head up its arse then you should probably cut all ties. if you had any remnants of the attitude you wanted to show your friends, you wouldn’t be checking twitter for places to go. you belong in london.

    manchester hasn’t changed, you have. did you ever consider that?

    • I didn’t google “good nights out in Manchester”. My mates were staying at the Days Inn, which is why we were in that area. We’d got in between ten and half past. I’ve been in Factory after gigs on Friday and Saturday and it’s been fine. I follow the venue on Facebook to get updates about gigs they put on. That’s hardly the most unusual thing in the world to do is it? And because of that, I knew they were open, it was cheap to get in.

      Manchester’s a great city that welcomes everyone – that’s what made it great and keeps it great. That’s what Factory and the Hacienda was all about It’s a pity it has people like you with your attitude to outsiders – if you oould, you’d probably stand outside the clubs and pubs you go in and decide who’s cool enough to come in and share your oxygen.

  14. Go to places aimed at dickheads, expect to be treated like a dickhead. I don’t mean that in an angry, reactionay way, it’s a simple rule to live by. Try more alternative places like Kraak, Soup Kitchen or Ruby Lounge, and if you have the same feeling, it’s probably you that’s the problem.

  15. Shame. I don’t think the whole of Manchester is like that, unfortunately it just seems you happened to pick most of the worst places to go, all very studenty as well. They would probably turn their nose up at me as well, and I’m 24. I think it’s like that all over the country in those kind of places, not a manc thing.

  16. Try the Gaslamp, nice underground bar on Bridge Street, good selection of booze, decent music and all ages in there 20s – 50s, was sat next to Guy Garvey from Elbow recently and his chums (all late 30’sish?) so seems to be pretty relaxed and inclusive age wise.

  17. This summary is a non-story. Assuming Manchester is up it’s own arse because some people couldn’t get into a handful of venues nobody can get into anyway is beyond dull. It’s like pointing out that those blue ‘pen rubbers’ don’t actually work. We all fucking know this but occasionally we’ll still try to disprove it and be annoyed at ourselves for being stupid, but not making enough of a song and dance about it because it’s embarrassingly obvious, like touching wet paint or showing off to your mates that you can get into a club that you can’t get into.

    Sod off back to London, lock yourself in your tiny, expensive flat and don’t bother coming out until you admit that what you posted was an extension of your back-firing, showing off weekend.


  18. Deaf Institute, Islington Mill, Soup Kitchen, Kraak, Antwerp Mansion, Ruby Lounge, King’s Arms, Castle, Band On The Wall, maybe Sound Control, Attic…
    Wouldn’t wish anyone to have a shit night out in the city, especially if trying to show it off to mates, but unfortunately the places you went are well wafty.
    Hope you have a better one next time you’re up, Dave…

  19. Have to agree with Damo, I’ve been out of Manchester for a few years now but when I still lived there I wouldn’t go near 5th/mojo/factory – they are all shit holes!

  20. Look how upset these ‘Mancunians’ (probably from Rossendale) get when someone dares criticise their shitty little clubs. I know you’re all ‘mad fer it’ because ‘The Roses’ are back together, and you’ve got your Gallagher-swagger back, and you’ve blown your wages on £60 tickets to stand in a swamp watching a man who can’t sing walk on the spot, but you come across like a bunch of sloping-browed twats with your ‘Go back to where you came from’ bullshit.

    You are the reason the title to this story is true. So what if this guy wants to take his mates to the Madchester Theme Park attractions this City has to offer, it’s out of towners these places are really geared toward anyway. Hooky’s Factory is just as Disney as that Unknown Pleasures Mickey Mouse shirt.

    This City HAS fucking changed, but unfortunately there are still some scumbags who think they like music because The Roses, Mondays and Oasis made it alright for scallies to like guitars, rather than Happy Hardcore.

  21. “You’ve blown your wages on £60 tickets to stand in a swamp watching a man who can’t sing walk on the spot”

    That did make me laugh alot….oh the truth hurts!!!

  22. You went to Factory, Fifth Avenue and Tiger Tiger.. Arguably the worst nights in Manchester (and it is common knowledge) and you’re complaining? You’re clearly not a true Mancunian if you don’t even know where to go in Manchester, back to London for you.

  23. I’ve been living in Manchester for nearly 2 years now and the place has almost drained the soul from my body! I’m leaving in the next few months before I turn into one of ‘them’.

  24. Im an Intercity Train Manager. Mancunians are by far the most self-absorbed wankers I have to deal with. They are up there with the coked up bankers of St. Albans.

  25. Ive been working in manchester for 4 months now.
    It is the worst city in the uk..the people are just rude untrustworthy and they dont care much for anything…Ive been to many cities in the u.k only in manchester have i heard prople being openly rasist…its shocking tbh if it wasnt for Manchester utd football club Manchester would be worst than it is now….a very dirty and unwelcoming city….im so glad to be leaving. I will never return.

  26. Manchester is the pits,truly the arsehole of the world, a rain drenched shithole & cultural backwater , take as evidence the embarrassing claim that Manchester was ” the place to be “because of the stone roses, ….jesus wept !!!


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