We’ve been shouting about how much is going on, venue wise, in Manchester for a little while now. In the context of places to host an office party, the capital of the north has a fine mix of spaces, ranging from the budget-friendly to the wonderfully unusual.
Perhaps it’s these two qualities that really sets Manchester apart from other cities, and, importantly, what makes it well worth the trip.
The Northern Powerhouse, as some now call it, has benefited from a lot of investment over the past few years – HS2 being the most obvious example – which has had a knock-on effect on the events industry. Besides reinvigorating existing party venues, there’s a whole host of newbies for you to book into.
Here are a few of our favourites:
1. Hotel Football
Manchester United legends Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs opened this fun venue in 2014. Of its six event spaces Heaven stands out the most, a 12th-floor rooftop for up to 180 guests, which has a football pitch, retractable roof and impressive views of the city below. The pitch, believe or not, is a popular spot for parties.
2. Victoria Warehouse
A popular party venue choice for big-name international brands, Victoria Warehouse
, close Old Trafford, is a sprawling blank-canvas venue for those with large numbers to accommodate. Smaller partying groups are catered for too in the Bays, found in the adjoining Victoria Warehouse.
3. The Jungle at All-Star Lanes
We love the private party room at All-Star Lanes on Brick Lane and the Manchester equivalent is no fun. There are two private lanes, a cocktail bar (with a dedicated bar tender) and space for 100 revellers. Most importantly, though, the carpets are ‘dangerous and exotic’ – enough to put this Manchester party venue in the ‘unusual’ category.
4. Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel
You don’t get a much better location for a Manchester party venue than the Mercure. Smack-bang in the middle of town, it’s also only a few minutes’ from the Manchester Piccadilly train station, making it easy for guests coming from out of town. There’s a selection of rooms than span intimate to enormous, with our pick for a fun but smart event being the triple-height International Suite.
5. The Deaf Institute
There aren’t many venues like the Deaf Institute around: this three-floor Victorian beauty houses a bar, restaurant and live-performance space, offering a range of characterful rooms to host your party. Look first to the Music Hall, which comes decked out with a huge mirror ball, velvet curtains, domed ceiling and an outside roof terrace.
6. Museum of Science & Industry (MSI Manchester)
By day, this quirky and unusual venue gives its patrons a view into Manchester’s rich industrial and scientific heritage. At night it comes alive as a characterful and fun party venue, with a host of artefact-filled rooms providing a colourful backdrop to events. Look first to the Power Hall, which will host up to 100 for a dinner dance.
7. Manchester 235
A Las Vegas-style casino in Manchester, this is a seriously fun spot to host an unusual office party. At the small end you have the VIP room, which comes with gaming tables and its own bar, or the Poker Room, which speaks for itself. For a more sizeable party space, there is the Private Events Suite, which has the flexibility to host a lively party with live music.
8. Flight Club Manchester
Taking the game of darts to the next level, Flight Club’s unique concept will have your party guests engaged and having fun for the duration of an evening event in central Manchester. There are 14 boards in all, along with a menu of sharing plates, pizza paddles and cocktails that will keep your colleagues or clients happily satisfied.
We really like the look and feel of Dive, found in Manchester’s happening Northern Quarter. Post-industrial-style decor and American-style sharing platters combine to create somewhere with a decidedly hipster vibe. There are a variety of flexible party spaces for hire, all with bars that go big on liquor, shots and cocktails. And there’s a 4am licence.
10. The Albert Hall
This ornate, deconsecrated chapel is now one of Manchester’s favourite music venues. The grade II-listed building in Deansgate will accommodate 300 seated or a whopping 2,000 standing for host of different fun and unusual corporate parties, from Christmas celebrations to gala dinners and summer bashes.
Late in 2017, trend-conscious Etc Venues opened a northern outpost in buzzy Manchester. Its new events destination includes a self-contained conference wing with exhibition space and a restaurant with a modish theatre kitchen. As ever, flexibility is key and each of the smaller meeting spaces has manifold configurations. You’ll find all of this up on the eighth floor of 11 Portland Street, where there are dramatic city views and lots of natural light.