How Manchester does retro: Places to get a nostalgia trip in the city

Manchester’s got plenty of options if you like the idea of partying retro-style. Check out some of the ideas below for a fun night out that can give you an overload of nostalgia for your mis-spent youth.

Eyes Down & Have a Blast Playing Bingo

One retro hobby that’s seen a huge rise in popularity in recent years is the simple game of bingo.

Once dominated by old ladies with a blue rinse, the game is now played by millions online. It’s easy to see why bingo websites have revived enthusiasm for what was once considered a dying game as they offer instant entertainment with games running 24/7.

Some sites like Sun Bingo also keep their players sweet with a range of free bingo games. The prizes may be smaller, but the games are just as much fun. At Sun Bingo, free bingo games run from 7pm every day and any new player opening an account with £10 will receive £40 to play with.

One knock-on effect of the massive uptake of online bingo is the evolution of a traditional bingo night. You can experience a twist on a bingo night at pop-up events hosted by Rebel Bingo and Bongo’s Bingo.

Both offer the old-fashioned version of the bingo game, with dabbers and cards, and a caller up on stage. However, that’s about where the similarity ends.

The bingo games take place in a rave-like atmosphere, with plenty of dancing, drinking and general merriment to be had. It’s all quite far removed from the traditional bingo hall, but somehow stays connected to its retro past.


Fatman Scoop in the building! 88. x

A photo posted by @bongosbingomanchester on

This month, Bongo’s Bingo will be in Manchester at The Albert Hall every Tuesday night.

Hosted by Jonny Bongo, Sweaty Betty and Slutty Sue, the event’s described as “the bastard child of traditional bingo complete with rave rounds and dance offs”.

This gives you a good idea of what the night’s going to be like…especially as the terms and conditions include agreeing not to dance on the tables and accepting that if you do, it’ll be at your own risk!

Retro Music Nights

Of course, bingo may not be your thing, but there are other ways of going retro on a Mancunian night out. With a name like the Retro Bar, you know you’ll be in for a night of reminiscing at the Sackville Street venue.

Upstairs the Retro Bar is set up like a traditional student bar, where you can get food all day as well as drinks, and the prices are pleasantly reminiscent of student days too.

Downstairs, you’ll find the Retro Bar’s Basement Club, venue for live bands and alternative club nights.

On the first Saturday each month there’s the Refuse To Lose club night, featuring Punk, Emo, Indie, Gruff, Rock and Pop-Punk. Entry is from 10pm and costs £4.

And on the last Saturday of every month, the Basement Bar is turned over to Sin City – a night of Industrial, Synthpop, Punk, Goth and alternative 80s tunes. Again, doors open from 10pm and there’s a £5 entry ticket.

Roll Back the Years at a Roller Disco!

Remember those roller discos you used to go to in 80s? Well, now they’re back and you can relive those days as you rediscover your balancing skills.

For real retro experience, you need the quad-wheeled version of skates – and most venues hire these out as part of the ticket price, so you don’t need to invest in your own pair.

But if you get into it all and want your own pair, plenty of stockists now sell retro-style quad skates.

There are numerous roller discos in the Greater Manchester area. Try Stretford Sports Village Roller Disco, the Skate Station in Ashton, or the Atherton Roller Rink. 

While some sessions are for families, and some for kids, there are also adult-only sessions.

Strictly for grown-ups, there’s the LoveSpin Retro Roller Disco at Tiger Tiger in the Printworks and other venues.

Alternatively, if you like the idea of roller skating, but don’t just want to boogey on your skates, then head to Roller Derby Manchester.

Roller Derby’s a full-contact competitive team sport and anyone can take part, no matter what their fitness levels are.

At Roller Derby Manchester, there’s a training programme for new skaters called Zero to Hero, where you can learn all the skills you need to play roller derby.

There are lots of other ways to get your retro kicks in Manchester, of course.

Head to the beloved Afflecks Palace and rummage through the vintage clothing stores or go to Piccadilly Records and sort through their amazing vinyl record collection.

At the weekends, explore Castlefield Artisan Market for vintage furniture and Chorlton Art Market for crafted goods and works by local artists. If turning back the years is your thing, Manchester has plenty of options that hum with a retro vibe.

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