Ultimate Manchester Travel Guide for Lesbians

buildings, Manchester tram on tram rails, skyscrapers

Hey folks, welcome back. We’re here for another location article with fun stuff to do, but this time we’re up north! We’re in the land of the Gay Village, Parklife, the Northern Quarter, rain and so, so many pigeons. (Any guesses?) Nope, not heaven, not paradise, we’re in Manchester! Looking for lesbian/sapphic spots in Manchester? Look no further, then. Whether you live here, you’re passing through or you’re just stopping by to say hello, we’ve collated some of the top spots for you to add to your list to visit, including bars, books and other cute sapphic spots! 


Anyone remotely aware of queer culture in Manchester, or Manchester at all, has heard of the Gay Village (see the link for more info on our lovely Canal Street!). We know her, we love her, we wish we were her, she’s all we can aspire to be. Though, as queer women, it’s important to be aware of sapphic-specific spots around the village. Meet Vanilla, an award winning “lively women’s den” you’ll find in the village. The drinks are well-priced, the decor is pretty, and we think it might be one of the top spots for sapphics up north!

Queer lit 

One for the bookworms, of course, Queer lit is a very honorable mention. Ever been wandering through town and thought, “hmmm, I do wish we had a huge queer bookstore around here”. Hey, we do! As “Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ bookshop”, this is one to visit. Found on the fabulous Great Ancoats Street, this store not only stocks a fabulous array and variety of reads, but you’ll also find pride apparel and even Social Refuge, the cafe/bar created by the same team! Looks like a good one, if we may say so ourselves. 100% worth a visit! 

Whilst in the northern quarter, why not stop at…

Gay Pride Shop, Afflecks

Another iconic one. We all love Afflecks right? Like a department store for independent businesses, she’s not just a building, she’s an experience. Located in one of Manchester’s coolest areas, this is a stop for anything quirky, retro, or even queer! On the second floor of Afflecks is the Gay Pride Shop, the “UK’s Biggest LGBTQ+ Shop”, selling items across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, this one’s a must-visit. They also share 15% of their profits with charities, so shop there. 

LGBTQ+ Bookshop, Afflecks

Okay, yes, Afflecks again, we know (but it’s just such a cool place, what are we supposed to do, not include it twice? Please.), this time with LGBTQ+ Bookshop. It’s actually Manchester’s longest-runningLGBTQ+ bookshop! It’s also on the second floor of Afflecks as well, so frankly it’s looking like we might as well just move into the second floor of Afflecks at this point (and we would, too, if that were an option), but it really is worth a visit up there. Guess what? They also share part of their profits for charity! Run, don’t walk (unless it’s raining because, well… Manchester. Then walk carefully, don’t run, and bring a brolly.)

G-A-Y club

Back to the Gay Village we go. (Oh no, not more fun Gay Village spots!) Yes! More fun Gay Village spots! We are talking about the very well-known G-A-Y club on our beloved Canal St. Probably one of the more famous of the village clubs, it’s definitely worth a visit! Special prices on drinks from Sun-Thurs (see the linked Facebook profile for more info!)

Lesbian and Bi Women’s Book Group

For those of us who aren’t so much into the party scene and got a little more excited about the idea of Europe’s largest bookshop being in town, this might be another one for you guys! On meetup.com, you’ll find the Lesbian and Bi Women’s Book Group, which meets once a month in town at The Molly House. (Interested in learning more about the history of the term ‘Molly House’? See this linked article for a history of London’s queer scene.) This one may be a good way of getting together with some other queer women and being social if you’re looking for a way to do so that doesn’t involve bars or partying!

So there we have it folks, some of our favourite picks for lesbian/queer women to visit in Manchester, though most of these spots are open to queer people of any description or allies too! Let us know if you visit any of these very very cool spots. We would also recommend having a look at any of your guys’ favourite queer artists or performers to see if they’re stopping by here any time soon! We would absolutely adore it if you would let us know any of your own ideas in our comments. We love to hear about your guys’ experiences with our recommendations as well as any other suggestions you feel we may have missed out on!

All of our love, always, Team Nonchalant xx

Jo Carter
Jo Carter

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