Nestled in between an abundance of esteemed eateries and cult coffee joints, you’ll find Electrik, Chorlton’s independent suburban cafe bar and club destination, and a venue that has played a key part in the development of the suburb over the last 13 years.
The bar was established back in 2009 by the DJing duo Luke Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford (AKA Unabombers), taking its name from their legendary club night, Electric Chair.
The music played at ‘the chair’ transcended genres, and many of the world’s truly great DJs that came there to play had the freedom to explore their own musical boundaries. They were encouraged to push them further, making it one of the UK’s most loved, forward-thinking club nights.
Electrik can certainly say it carries the same ethos, too, pushing itself to embody everything notable about the club night with its low lighting and subdued interior scheme leading the way. It’s got a lot going for it, with an impressive line-up of booze, Detroit style pizza and music – which is inevitably the venue’s main focus.
Returning after a COVID-induced hiatus, the team at Electrik decided it was imperative for club nights to be at the forefront of the venue’s programming. Not only because it’s what the clientele had been deprived of for two years, but because it’s what the bar was made for.
“We attract quite a broad range of people here at Electrik,” began Chris Massey, DJ and events organiser at the venue. “We’ve got our quiz, which is always mint, alongside the One Deck event and Electrik Sundays that both bring in a different kind of crowd.
“We’re not like your bigger clubs in town so to speak, as we’re a fairly intimate local bar, so to be able to see some pretty big and exciting names play here is brilliant for the area.”
Over the years, Electrik has hosted its One Deck event, which has witnessed some big names turn up to its doors with a trunk full of their favourite records. It’s different to your usual club night or DJ set in that there’s no mixing, headphones, scratching or beat juggling, it’s strictly about delving into the personal music collections of whoever’s playing.
Its aim is to evoke deep conversations about influences, find a new favourite record or discover that you and Vicky McClure have the same undying love for Diana Ross. McClure is one of many stars that have shared a personal piece of themselves with Electrik’s clientele via the form of vinyl over the years. It has also hosted Maxine Peak, John Simm, Mr Scruff and none other than the mayor himself, Mr Andy Burnham.
Lined up for the next couple of months is a Jubilee special with outer space melodic disco trio, The Orielles, alongside sets from Emmerdale’s very own Jeff Hoardly (Cain Dingle) and potty-mouthed Manc, Terry Christian – all about to offer a part of themselves up through the medium of music.
“It’s a very laid back event,” furthered Chris. “It’s not even necessarily for people who know how to DJ, it’s mainly for people who are obsessed with music!
“It’s really interesting delving into people’s collections in such a relaxed environment, too. There’s no airs or graces, people can have a drink, a dance and some pizza, whilst also having a chat about music with a bunch of people off the telly!”
The venue also hosts its Electrik Sunday event every weekend from 3pm. It was launched back in April and sees a host of DJ collectives curate an exclusive mix for the bar, alongside special happy hour prices and deals on Electrik’s resident kitchen, Four Side Vegan Pizza.
The Detroit style plant-based pizza pioneers are open at Electrik all week, serving up mouth-watering selections of dishes, alongside accompanying sides and sauces. There’s really nothing better to revive you mid-set and avoid a sore head the morning after.
Set to perform as part of Electrik Sundays across June, July and August is Two Left Feet, Magic Island, The Devils Juke Box, Aficionado and Freak OUT. If you find yourself stumbling in on a Sunday, it’s a nice place to finish off the weekend. Again, embodying that very chilled vibe with some great guest DJs taking to the decks.
The Art Gallery
The space is not just renowned for just club nights, as the venue also hosts regular exhibitions from local artists, which you’ll find upon the walls as you enjoy the sips of your Pomona pint.
Currently, satirical cartoonist Tony Husband’s work is being showcased at the venue. His art delves into the humorous mundanities of modern life, often mocking the everyday moments we find ourselves in.
He’s created drawings for the likes of Private Eye and The Times, providing the visual gag for decades to take the sting out of the tough moments, and put the sting in where necessary.
He’s also brought out books detailing his struggles with his father’s dementia and his son’s battle with addiction. Every part of his work is personal, and you’ll get an exclusive glimpse at Electrik where you can also purchase some original hand-drawn canvases by Tony himself.
It’s not difficult to see why Electrik has a special place in the heart of its community. It provides a welcoming space for a laid-back drink, alongside decent grub, great music and a boatload of legendary Mancs!
The venue is open Monday – Thursday 4pm – 12pm, Friday 4pm – 1.30pm, Saturday 2pm – 1.30pm and Sunday 3pm – 11.30pm.