A definitive ranking of Manchester’s club smoking areas from worst to best

Just let us smoke inside again, please


Whilst elf bar enthusiasts and vape maniacs are mostly allowed to vape inside venues and clubs, smokers are banished to the unforgiving harshness of Manchester weather in outdoor smoking areas, like misbehaving children being sent to the naughty corner. Club smoking areas can have a sort of girl’s bathroom vibe to them; people will compliment you, cry about their boyfriends, and make lifelong friendships while standing in the cold clutching a pouch of Amber leaf and a borrowed (unfortunately menthol) filter. Here is a definitive ranking of the worst to the best.

7. Factory

Every Manchester student has horror stories about this club. The most harrowing, however, is the fact that you have to pay two whole great British pounds for a neon yellow wristband to access the smoking area. A blinding yellow band of shame that screams smoker, it seems the Factory smoking area has one objective: Humiliation.

 6. Satan’s Hollow

Not to be dramatic, but Satan’s Hollow is a perfectly apt name for the hell that is their smoking area. To get there, you cross a road that is far too busy for 1am on a Tuesday night, take a few lefts, and end up on the corner of a barely lit car park. It is pretty much how I imagine Satan’s actual exile felt.

 5. 42’s

If you’ve ever been a student in Manchester, you’ve been to 42’s. While the club itself is a Dark Fruit’s indie haven, the smoking area is more akin to the streets you’d catch wannabe indie bands busking on. If you enjoy 19 year olds in bucket hats screaming Champagne Supernova and getting stared down by the customers in the nearby takeaway, or are just generally a masochist, 42’s smoking area might be for you.

4. Hidden

While the pavement kerb outside of an industrial unit may seem a bleak choice for number four, it is not the worst. Better yet, inside the confusing concrete rooms and heavily graffitied corridors is a backdoor stairway to another smoking area; a large outdoor yard with an open roof and plenty of decorations. In the summer it’s great; the rest of year, it’s wet and cold with a pungent smell of damp wood and sweat. We’ve seen better.

 3. Deansgate Locks

Home to Hot Mess, an event you’ve probably had loads of emails and messages from reps about as a fresher, Deansgate Locks is a group of six bars overlooking the canal below. The smoking areas, despite being crammed with freshers and men in skinny jeans with skin fades, is actually decent. Situated slightly above the canal with benches, tables, and fairy lights, it feels less like an act of public condemnation to people who smoke, and more like an actual nice place to be.

 2. Joshua Brooks

Also overlooking a canal and the Lass o’ Gowrie, the smoking area at Joshua Brooks is a nice break from all the dancers packed in the sweaty sound system basement. Just try not to drop your new box of filters directly into the canal.

1. G.A.Y