Football Bars in Manchester
Football – the national sport, heck, some might argue the nation’s favourite past-time, well, alongside the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol. So put the two together and what do you get? The football bar! And with two top teams fighting it out within the one city, it is Manchester’s time to shine. Below you’ll find a list of four hotspots from which to enjoy your nectar of choice whilst you take in the beautiful game - as well as a few cheeky suggestions for when the final whistle blows!
Shooters Sports Bar:
Situated at the back of the Bierkeller complex in the Printworks, Shooters Sports Bar can only be described as a haven for any football fan – with giant projectors, numerous 3D TV’s and HD flat screens serving to provide unrivalled coverage of any Premier League game (yes even the 3 o’clock’s!). Not only that, the venue is also home to a host of 8 ball pool tables to keep you occupied at half time, and an American-style food menu guaranteed to satisfy anyone’s appetite – in fact, you can have them cordon off a section for you and your party to watch the game in style: with ample seating, wait service and your very own pool table, what more could you possibly need?
And after the game you’re in the perfect place for a genuine lad’s night out! You can continue with the pool tournament (killer anyone?) or sit, chill out, and soak up the post-game atmosphere – why not grab a passport and take on the ‘Around the World in 80 Beers’ challenge? Alternatively, you could make a night of it and book a seat to see British comedic Oompah band ‘The Amazing Bavarian Stompers’, where you’ll be up, down and shaking it all around before you know it!
Though if you feel like a change of scenery, there are plenty of bars, pubs and clubs right on the door-step: including two very different American-style drinkeries in the form of Henry J Beans and Hard Rock Café – rock on! A quaint little Irish haunt in Waxy O’Connors (where you’ll be able to see a 250 year old tree!), and urban nightspot Norwegian Blue. Not to be forgetting the areas resident JD Wetherspoons brand, Lloyds Bar! And for those looking to bust a move, the Tiger Tiger jungle offers three floors of unadulterated revelry, whilst at the Birdcage you’ll be treated to a fantastic selection of comedy drag and show-girl acts – you’ll feel like you’re in Vegas! (Ok maybe that’s a bit too far).
Offering a unique cinematic setting that only an old cinema can, aptly named ‘The Footage’ is one of the first bars in Manchester’s ‘student land’ – meaning value for money drinks at the ready! The two storey venue boasts two massive screens and three sky boxes – so you won’t miss a second of the action (barring the odd toilet break). And if you get a bit peckish, there is a comprehensive menu that offers everything from giant burgers and delicious dogs to jacket spuds and a couple of salads – and what’s better, it will barely make a dint in your wallet! This place is not for the faint-hearted however, as the atmosphere can get quite raucous, which we feel only adds to the excitement!
Whilst a bit of a walk to the majority, the Oxford road area is home to such an array of bars that it would be rude to just try one: with everything available from the speakeasy New York style dwelling Black Dog Ballroom, with pool room, roof top terrace and basement bar and club as standard, to typically British ‘The Salisbury’, which is complete with juke box, pool table and an array of ales on tap. Fancy a spot of bowling? Well head over to Dog Bowl and down pins and cocktails alike, or indulge in some live music at Retro Bar, and it seems almost criminal not to visit Revolution! Though in close proximity you’ll also find Zoo – a cosy, eclectic pub with a mix of students and locals alike, and The Deaf Institute – a three floor, independent fun-loving establishment housing a plush basement bar, café-bar and an upstairs music hall. And the best thing is, it’s the designated student area, so the majority of places are dirt cheap!
For the football fan that’s looking to watch in a more relaxed environment, Montpelliers offers the perfect rest-bite after a hard weeks work. The Northern Quarter café bar is tucked away in the labyrinth of alleyways that connect Thomas Street and Chapel Street (a definite GPS job if you’re a newbie) and is the perfect place to wine and dine the Mrs whilst not having to miss out on the big game – win win? Its Francophile name serves as a huge hint as to what’s inside, with stripped back and stylish décor including an oak bar, pine floors and exposed brickwork, a range of home-cooked French inspired dishes and a wine and beer list ‘selected with love and care’, whilst there are also plenty of nooks and crannies around in the light and airy ground floor of the building – perfect for some intimacy either side of the match (Before is not advisable, you could get too comfy and miss part of the game!). Downstairs is where all the action is however, where you’ll find the Basement TV Lounge with a big screen in place allowing you to catch all the action. And if the other half isn’t into the football, why not enrol them into a Cocktail Masterclass – just try not to get yourself roped in eh?
Just outside, the Northern Quarter is full to the brim with some of Manchester’s best and most diverse independent bars and traditional pubs – as well as a club or two. The venue that is said to represent the Northern Quarter more than any other, Odd Manchester has served as a local for many residents and a go-to place for visitors for over a decade, whilst Bar 21 is seen to be at the forefront of the ever-changing culture of the area, with a quirky interior filled with posters, memorabilia, and eye-catching props. The Shamrock Irish Bar will provide you with some of the city’s best Guinness whilst listening to some outstanding Irish bands, meanwhile Hula Tiki Lounge offers all that is expected from a Polynesian-themed paradise – with over 100 rums and even more Hedonistic fun, and it would be wrong not to mention the second Black Dog Ballroom, with more pool tables and a foosball table to be found inside – get there early though, or be prepared to queue!
The nation’s favourite Aussie-themed bar, Walkabout provides much for any football fan: with fruit machines, table football and a pool table in tow amongst a cluster of Plasma screen TV’s – the most in the high street (including a cheeky 3D screen), making it almost impossible to miss a kick! Follow the game as you enjoy some real Australian food and drink – including a wide selection of craft beers, wines, spirits and cocktails, as well as a selection of burgers, hot dogs and steaks (they even serve kangaroo!). Why not get yourself a Mates Rates card and take advantage of cut price drinks? Including £2.00 Fosters and £1.50 Jager Bomb!
And the beauty of watching a game in Walkabout? You’re already in a nightclub – so no entrance fee! Get up and boogie as the DJ plays some of the best chart, House, Dance, Electro and Dubstep until3am – they will also be announcing competitions and offers throughout the night, so you must be on your guard! Though if you find yourself getting itchy feet, there is also plenty around to whet the appetite (get a stamp though, as you may want to come back!). The Alchemist, for one, is definitely worth a visit, even if it is just for one of their crazy cocktail concoctions, whilst Epernay offers that relaxed environment that only a Champagne bar can (for the football fan with a posh side) – and there’s a balcony to boot! Head over to BrewDog for the finest in Scottish brewed craft beers, or grab a taste of the Caribbean at Revolucion de Cuba, where you’ll find a tantalising array of rums. And if you decide against heading back to Walkabout, 42nd street will cater for all your Indie needs, and at The Venue you’ll be treated to everything from 1960’s classics to funk, pop, soul and a little bit more Indie – something for everyone indeed!
By Calum Dewsbury.