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  • Writer's pictureGabrielle Bossy

The Deaf Institute: Manchester, England

Updated: Mar 28, 2018

In the late 1800s, if you walked down Grosevnor's Street in Manchester, you'd come face to face with an institute for the deaf and the dumb, proudly written in large letters across the front. Built in 1877, the building was open to Manchester's deaf-dumb population(note, we don't use that terminology any longer) for entertainment, moderation and general aid. Costing 6000 pounds at the time to build (, you may be surprised (or not judging by the fact that I'm writing this), that the building still stands today.

Today, from the outside you'd think the building served the same purpose save for a few concert posters taped to the window and the fact that we really do not refer to people as dumb anymore (or deaf-dumb, deaf-mute for that matter). The stone outside remains well in tact, the facade has been well-preserved. Step inside though and you'll experience one of the coolest music venues out there.

On the main level is a hipster-style bar with long wooden tables and benches, cozy round tables and booths. The bar hosts a selection of local beers and ciders and some pretty good-looking food (I can't personally attest to the taste). The bathrooms are lined with Dolly Parton wall paper and gig posters. The staff is friendly and excited about music.

The real deal however is up on the second floor. Where the gigs happen, the bar upstairs is a real beauty. High, peaked ceilings (that I can only assume made up the former chapel of The Deaf Institute) welcome you into an incredibly small venue. A small stage at the front stands fairly high above the crowd who stand barrierless against the stage with big red, velvet curtains. The floors are made of dark hardwood and the walls are lined with funky, tropical wallpaper. One entire wall is taken up by a large bar, lined with stereo speakers and more To the opposite wall, a small (and I mean small) balcony stands. To the back, the wall is carved out like a large cubby hole to make space for bleacher-style seating. The best part though? Look up to a wickedly massive mirror ball twirling above your head (Neil Young would be oh so proud).

This is by far one of the raddest venues I've visited in my travels so if you get the chance...GO!

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