Sankeys, The Boardwalk and Paradise Factory – the long-lost nightclubs that Mancs miss

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 4th March 2022

Manchester’s nightlife scene is world-famous for good reason – we’re not known as the 24 hour party people for nothing.

As the years have gone on, our city’s nightclub industry has evolved and changed beyond recognition.

The world-famous Hacienda days are long gone, but now Manchester is famed for huge clubnights like Warehouse Project and its under-the-radar events at venues like Hidden and The White Hotel.

Most recently, we bid farewell to a student haunt that’s been around for years, when it was announced that Fifth Avenue was closing its doors for good.

We asked our readers which venues they miss dancing the night away in.


Here’s what you had to say.

Paradise Factory

On the corner of Princess Street and Charles Street stands a venue that’s been an integral part of Manchester’s music scene for decades.


Initially the headquarters of Factory Records, in the 90s it became the Paradise Factory, a lively gay club.

Alexier Mayes said the Paradise Factory was the ‘best nightclub ever’, and dozens have agreed with her.

Cedna Jo said: “No other club like it.”


Maria Telford added: “Indeed! Where else could you bump into the iconic Sue Pollard and Paul Nicholls together in the toilets?”

The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk was a mecca for fans of alternative music, and an iconic live music venue in the 1980s and 1990s.

Its stage was graced by the likes of Oasis, The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, James and The Verve.

These days it’s an office block, but back then the action took place well outside the hours of 9-5.

Jim Covert-lly remembers it as a ‘great live venue and indie joint’.


He wrote: “Bit more effort to reach than its rivals and felt like more for those there for the good tunes than to just get battered.”

Janine replied: “I worked there and loved Molotov pop. Great night which luckily moved to the music box.”

Marvin Deans also posted: “Yellow on a Friday night was my first experience of clubbing regularly. When we were allowed in of course. Got turned away a few times.BUT also saw my favourite ever concert there…Maxwell ‘96 and cost £7”

Brahms & Liszt

The old site of Brahms & Lizst on Brown Street, Manchester. Credit: Google Maps

A lot of Mancs seem to remember the trip to the toilets in Brahms & Liszt the most, describing it as the ‘staircase of doom’.

But the venue was also a popular bar in the 1980s, named after Cockney rhyming slang rather than the classical composers.


In the space that is now Habas, and was previously Panama Hatties, The Manc readers remember some ‘strangely good nights’.

Julie wrote: “Oh the hangovers after the beer kellar… But brahms and list was a little less crowded, so it gets my vote”

Jilli added: “Brahms & Liszt with that very dodgy spiral staircase to the loos”


They just don’t make nightclubs like this anymore.

DeVille’s and its neighbouring bar Lazy Lil’s were a staple of the Madchester days, but at the heart of the bar was something a bit more unusual.


The nightlife spot was home to an actual bucking bronco that would fling revellers around regardless of alcohol consumption.

Mike King said: “Devilles with the bucking bronco – great fun when you were hammered”

Damian added: “Devilles, more for the people than the club”


Sankeys is one of those nightclubs that everyone remembers, even if you never stepped foot inside.

The super club was in Ancoats, before the area was filled with the apartments and restaurants.


Over the years of openings and closures, the venue expanded across several floors of Beehive Mill and added features like a beach (with 50 tonnes of sand), a glowing ceiling, and a non-stop roster of huge names in the world of dance, techno and house music.

Carrie Caffrey said: “Water dripping off the ceiling, bodies tightly packed, bass thumping in your chest and no mobile phones sucking the joy out of living in the moment. Excellent memories”

Will added: “Hadmy best nights in that place! Absolutely rocking”

Michael remembered: “Sankeys – nothing compared to those resident Kaluki parties around 2010 when the basement was only half full but full of absolutely sound heads and not a single d*ck head in sight. Unreal times. We didn’t know how good we had it.”

Adam wrote: “Sankys with resident DJ Avicii RIP! The sad thing is, there really isn’t another superclub in Manchester anymore?!”


Chris posted: “Met my beautiful GF in Sankey’s in 1996, 26 years later we’re still joined at hip!!!! Forever old house cats!!”

The Hacienda

The Hacienda was arguably Manchester’s most famous nightclub of all time

This one’s pretty obvious – even 25 years after the Hacienda shut down, its traces linger in the city.

The venue was the cornerstone of the Madchester era and credited with changing the face of rave forever.

Lee Berry commented: “The Hacienda was the mecca of house music in Manchester and i had some amazing nights there.”

Nicola said: “The hac, hands down, but I expected most answers wld be, but lots of others named! Just shows how fantastic Manchesters club scene was!”


Rhys wrote: “we use start at the Athenaeum than workaway along all the bars up to the hacienda … cheerleaders before before the hacienda and then big jugs of beer. Thursday nights were good”

Caravan added: “Hacienda, only went a handful of times but was banging everytime.”

Jilly’s Rockworld

Jilly’s Rockworld shut down in 2010. Credit: Google Maps

Jilly’s Rockworld was one of Manchester’s best nightclubs, a haven for indie rock and alternative music.

The legendary Oxford Road venue shut down for good in 2010, but Mancs will never forget the friendly, welcoming vibe of the venue.

Ursula Tucker wrote: “Jillys. Used to love it. Always felt safe in both and had a great night out.”


Natalie Power said: “Easily Jillys rockworld! Such an awesome place filled with amazing people, it was the heart of the rock/alternative culture in Manchester, so many good memories from there! Miss it nowhere else compares”

Gavin added: “Jillie’s rock world by far. Everyone was respectful of each other, and in general people would be more than happy to help each other. It wasn’t just a club, it was a community hub.”

Featured image: Flickr