Manchester's Best Independent Music Venues: The Castle Hotel

Ever wondered how The Castle Hotel got to being so class?!

By Emma Davidson | Last updated 19 April 2022

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The Castle Hotel, ultimate NQ boozer, music venue and home to a whole host of legendary locals, has sat on Oldham Street since 1776. Apparently, the venue has always been a pub, which makes total sense given its cosy feel, class line-up of ales and welcoming nature.

Walking into the venue is like a comforting pit stop at a country inn after getting lost on a dreaded hike.

Over the course of a century the pub changed names several times, trading first as The Crown and Sceptre, then The Crown and Anchor and later The Clock Face.

In the late nineteenth century the pub was acquired by Kay’s Atlas Brewery and started a new chapter as The Castle Hotel, which is probably when the current tiled façade and bar were added. In the early 1930s Frederic Robinson took over Kay’s Atlas Brewery and, consequently, The Castle Hotel.

The Castle fell on hard times during the early noughties and, in 2008, the pub closed its doors, but not for long as good pals Johnny Booth and Rupert Hill took over in 2009 and set about sprucing up the rundown venue.

There’s way more to the pub that meets the eye, too, as, over the years it has become a real cornerstone of the Manchester music scene, becoming a supportive space to champion new and upcoming talent. Its music hall and theatre were unveiled in 2010, and artists including James Bay and Bill Ryder Jones have passed through to perform on its stages and sink a pint of ale.

We can even go back to the days of local Manchester legends Joy Division’s career, as this was the exact pub frontman Ian Curtis was infamously interviewed by John Peel for the Northern Lights zine. 

2022 will see even more grassroots artists perform at the pub to potentially follow in the footsteps of previous music royalty, and, here’s a quick round up of who to see at the iconic venue early next year!

Saturday 22nd January 2022
A.O. Gerber is a singer-songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles. Throughout her first full-length record ‘Another Place to Need’ she invites you personally and warmly into rooms she’s crafted with sonic intensity. Rich vocals deliver hauntingly intimate lyrics while lush arrangements of synths and horns billow and build, offering an ecstatic catharsis.


Tuesday 1st February
Huddersfield-based artist PENNY is pure pop-perfection and will be bringing big pop ballads from her EP, which will be released in 2022, to The Castle this February. Her songs explore her queerness and mental health journey through angelic vocals and gorgeous lo-fi bass led beats.


Douglas Dare
Wednesday 23rd February
Douglas Dare’s music is stripped back and raw. It blends heartfelt vocals with piano balladry, but splices in synths and enigmatic electronica making it impossible to pigeon hole the talented young artist. His most recent album ‘Milkteeth’ explores the pain that comes along with youth, and draws on his own experiences of identity, giving voice to anyone who has ever felt different or out of place.


Le Couleur
Tuesday 8th March
Mega French babes, Le Couleur are real disco delights. If you don’t douse yourself and glitter and pretend to be at Studio 54 whilst listening to their music, you’re doing it wrong! The band is made up of Laurence Giroux-Do (vocals), Patrick Gosselin (bass), and Steeven Chouinard (drums), who deliver rich and irresistibly danceable performances through their vintage influences rooted in 70s disco, psychedelia and upbeat French chansons.


Fair Play Fest 2022
Saturday 2nd April
After being cancelled due to COVID-19 for the past two years, Fair Play fest will make its eagerly awaited debut across The Castle and many more Northern Quarter institutions in 2022. The line-up is a cross-genre mix of artists including; Big Joanie, Bull, Deathcrash, Jessica Winter and Yaang, with a cemented focus on promoting and championing local talent.


You can find tickets to all the above events by following the link below.

Listings & Tickets

The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE
0161 237 9485