The Deaf Institute
The name might seem like an ironic joke, but as the engraving on the building’s façade attests, The Deaf Institute was actually once a school for the “deaf and dumb”. These days, it’s a bar with an excellent venue upstairs. The centrepiece is the array of speakers and radios assembled above the venue’s bar, like an enormous shrine to sound. It’s part of the Trof family of venues, which also includes the Albert Hall, Gorilla and Trof NQ.
Trof have been instrumental in resurrecting spaces and turning them into some of the city’s best live venues. Their signature move is intriguing décor that makes the whole experience that little bit more special. Gorilla is no different, The Guardian describing its walls as looking like “the controls from a 1950s Spacelab”. Along with an eclectic calendar of gigs and club nights in its 700-capacity venue, Gorilla’s bar and restaurant does one of the city’s best brunches, if you can face returning to the scene of the crime the following morning.
If this is your first trip to the Albert Hall, arrive early as you’ll need a little while to stop staring in awe at the stunning surroundings before the band comes on. The Manchester International Festival teamed up with Trof back in 2013 to restore the room to its past glories and the results are breath-taking. It makes every night there more than a little magical, akin to seeing your favourite band playing at Hogwarts.
While Trof’s contributions to Manchester’s music scene are notable for their emphasis on the décor, Soup Kitchen is decidedly rougher around the edges. Its intimate space in Manchester’s trendy North Quarter holds just shy of 200 people, making it the perfect place to get right up close to the action. Its events are an incongruous mix of up-and-coming bands, cooler-than-thou DJs and the occasional surprise gig from bands used to much bigger surroundings (Oh… hello Ryan Adams).