We all know Manchester’s nightlife is second to none. The city centre is full of fancy cocktail bars, traditional pubs, delicious restaurants and even a quirky drinking spot or two to make your night out one to remember. 

However, sometimes, whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just fancy a chance, it’s nice to do something a little bit different. Eating, drinking and dancing are all great but sometimes, you need to switch things up. 

It doesn’t matter if you’re gathering a group or simply looking for an activity a few pals can enjoy, Manchester has plenty of alternative night-out offerings that will add a bit more excitement to your evening. 

Pirate Studios 

Ever fancied yourself as a musician? Wondered what it’s like to be in rock and roll rehearsals? Or fancied making your own mixes on the decks? Well, Pirate Studios in both Manchester and Salford are open 24/7 to give you and your pals the chance to play loud with professional drum kits, amps and more provided for free. Pirate is a worldwide network of DJ studios, recording and rehearsal studios giving people round-the-clock access to create. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro, these specialist studios are the perfect place to create, write, produce, practice and mix with no distractions. In Salford, there are 12 spaces ready for you including DJ studios and rehearsal Studios. In Cheetham, there are 13 spaces including DJ studios, rehearsal studios and recording studios. Learn more. 

Pirate Studios


Taking video games to a new level, enjoy a night out with a difference at the UK’s biggest and wildest virtual reality arcade X-GENVR in Stockport. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lifelong gamer or a complete beginner, there’s something for people from aged 7 to 70 and abilities with a huge range of games, simulators and more. In one night you can ride rollercoasters, visit prehistoric lands, soar through the skies, race your pals in Mario-like karts and even play a bit of fruit ninja. The possibilities are endless, but fun is guaranteed. Choose from a VR arcade or book a luxury VR room for groups of up to four people and get ready to be transported to another world (virtually of course). 

Whistle Punks Axe Throwing 

It doesn’t get much more different than axe throwing, but trust us, it’s fun. Whistle Punks have brought Axe Throwing out of the woods and into the Great Northern Warehouse for friends, dates colleagues and groups to try their hand at. Sessions are designed for first-timers, but you’ll soon be throwing like a pro. Don’t worry, you’ll be in the hands of expert instructors and with great music to set the scene, it has the makings of a cutting-edge night out. Who will be victorious? There’s also a fully licensed bar and pizza available on-site to help you make a night of it. 

Axe Throwing

Immersive Gamebox 

Kick off your night out with an immersive digital adventure. Play together at Immersive Gamebox in the heart of the Arndale Centre. Simply select your game and prepare to enjoy a truly unique immersive experience with your group. With motion tracking, touch screens, surround sound and drinks delivered during your game, Immersive Gamebox is like nothing you have experienced before! The hyper-interactive rooms use a high-tech combination of touchscreen technology, projection mapping and surround sound so you won’t miss a second of the action. You can choose from 9 different games that are fun for adult groups, and families with children aged 5+. 

Meetspace VR 

Meetspace VR offers mind-blowing experiences in the heart of Stretford. This totally unique VR experience gives players a range of ways and opportunities to enjoy VR whether it’s in teams or losing yourself in a game. With VR Escape Rooms, a VR Arcade, a new immersive play zone and the unique Zero Latency VR Experience which offers warehouse-scale VR missions for up to 8 players, Meetspace VR can provide endless entertainment. Whether you’re competing, collaborating or playing solo, you’re sure to lose yourself in another world, and there are plenty to choose from. This night out is in your hands. 

The Spirit of Manchester Distillery Gin-Making Experience 

Why drink gin, when you could make it? Manchester Gin offer a fully immersive distillery tour and gin-making experience for a night out with a twist! You’ll learn all about the production process as well as your palette and the botanicals that really set your senses alight. You’ll then be able to put your expert knowledge to the test as you distil your own bottle to take home to continue the party. Gin lovers, this is a fantastic experience that you’ll remember forever and may change the way you look at your favourite drink for years to come. 

Gin workshop

Treetop Adventure Golf 

Mini-golf may be quite an obvious alternative night-out activity, but it’s a classic for a reason. Enter a world where temples crumble, ancient spirits stir and mini golf is all that matters. With two 18-hole mini golf courses, Treetop Adventure Golf lies above the Printworks right in the heart of the city. Choose between the Tropical Trail or the Ancient Explorer route as you take on challenges, make your way through breath-taking scenes and put your putting skills to the test. It doesn’t matter what your ability is, grab your golf club and get ready for some fun. There’s also jungle grub, cocktails and refreshments available for any golfers. 

Hukd Golf Bury 

Sticking with the golf theme, for those of you who aren’t fans of adventure golf, why not try a new indoor golf simulator? If you fancy yourself as the next Tiger Woods or Rory McIlroy, head to Hukd Golf Bury, for a night out with a difference. Powered by the latest Foresight Sports technology used by coaches and professionals of the PGA, HUKD gives you and your friends the chance to play like a pro, without embracing the Manchester weather. Play on some of the most beautiful courses from around the world, and enjoy virtual driving ranges or pitch and putt for the perfect friendly entertainment. You can even grab a bite to eat at HUKD Kitchen and enjoy a relaxing café bar if you fancy refreshments before teeing off. For an alternative night out, this could be a hole-in-one. 

To learn more about nightlife in Greater Manchester visit our Food and Drink page. 

To find out about more events going on across the city-region, here’s What’s On.