“ The Printworks Manchester is an entertainment centre including the Imax Cinema, Restaurants, Pubs, the Hard Rock Cafe and Bookshops. „
The Printworks is large entertainment complex located in the heart of Manchester City Centre. It is situated across the road from Manchester's Arndale Centre and is right by the Manchester Evening News Arena.
The Printworks was opened in 2000 and was opened as part of the millenium project.
I like The Printworks as it not only has so much to offer but it also supports a different charity each year, helping to raise money for them. This year they are supporting Christies.
The Printworks is operational both day and night with a large amount of bars, clubs, restaurants, a gym and a cinema.
I like the bars at The Printworks because they are so cheap, so it is often a good place to start your night out. Two bars in there are Norwegian Blue and a Lloyds Bar. If you want to go onto a club after being in a bar there then you are in luck as there is a good range to choose from. I don't tend to go in them these days though as my music taste has changed somewhat over the years and prefer to head over to Manchester's famous dance club - Sankeys. But if you like hip hop, R&B, cheese, chart music, commercial dance, etc., then The Printworks is a good place for you. Here you have Tiger Tiger, Opus, Pure, Entourage (formally Paparazzi). For those of you who want a different type of atmosphere there is a pub called Waxy O'Conner's and is a bit of a maze in there. As it is so close to the MEN arena, it is also ideal for drinks before a concert or after a concert, or even both!
There is a taxi rank outside so there is never a problem getting to and from The Printworks.
There are three cash machines inside The Printworks that are free of charge to use which is convienient when on a night out. There is also a newsagents that stays open quite late. This hasn't always been there but gets lots of custom from people wanting crisps and chocolate after leaving a bar or chewing gum before going out!
My main reason for visiting The Printworks is for the Odeon cinema there. It is a large cinema with 19 standard screens and it is also the only cinema in the North West with an IMAX screen. This makes for some spectacular viewing as IMAX has the capacity to record and display images of far greater size and resolution than most conventional film systems. The cinema also has a "gallery" viewing section where you are sat on sofa's and get free food and soft drinks - this is expensive, but well worth it and makes watching a film with a loved one extra special.
I really like using The Printworks as there is so much to do there. If you have never been then why not check it out. You can also buy vouchers to be used in there that would make a good gift for people who visit there frequently.
The Printworks do a loyalty card, I was given mine when I left university and joined the alumni, but you can apply to get one at: http://www.theprintworks.com/loyalty/ This will give you money off on certain things, for example you pay student prices at the cinema.
I would have given the venue five stars but there is an increasing number of fights in and around The Printworks on a night out these days. This is because it seems to be attracting a bad crowd of people at the moment, it is the place where people from outside Manchester often come to for a night out if they don't know the city. Just search on YouTube for Manchester fights to see videos from The Printworks security cameras.
The Printworks building in Manchester city centre used to house the Withy Grove printing press, but the business closed in 1987. The building was renovated and it reopened as an entertainment complex in 2000.
The Printworks is now a popular leisure venue that is home to a number of bars, nightclubs and restaurants.
Some people visit The Printworks on a night out, others stop off for drinks before they go to watch a film at the Odeon (which is also located within The Printworks building). The complex is also a good place to go to for drinks before you watch a show at the MEN arena (because it is only a short walk away), and if you're looking for somewhere to eat they you'll no doubt find a restaurant that meats your requirements here.
******************* How do I get there? *****************
The Printworks building is conveniently located in Manchester city centre, close to The Triangle shopping centre, the big wheel and the Arndale complex.
The nearest train station is Victoria (which is attached the MEN Arena - a popular concert venue). When you come out of the station, if you turn left and walk 50 metres then you'll reach the Printowrks.
You can also reach the complex via tram - if you jump on a Bury-bound tram at St Peter's Square, Piccadilly or Market Street and vacate it at Victoria then you'll only be a short walk from The Printworks.
You can catch a free metroshuttle city buses - they operate between 7am and 7pm within the city centre and they pick up every few minutes. Metroshuttle number two will take you directly past The Printworks for free and you can catch it from a number of bus stops located within the city centre.
There is also taxi rank conveniently located outside The Printworks, so getting home at the end of the night isn't difficult.
******************* What are the bars like? ****************
Within the complex you'll find a wide range of bars that you can visit. I think there's a bar to suit every taste and age range within The Printworks... Here are my recommendations...
Waxie O'Connor's - This bar is part of an Irish pub chain. Inside the décor is quite old fashioned, there is lots of wooden furniture and it has a rustic feel to it.
The bar is spread over three floors and it's a very popular venue, especially in the evening and before a concert at the MEN. The drinks are a little pricey, but this is the perfect place to visit if you're with a group that are all different ages because everybody will feel comfortable in here - the atmosphere is very relaxed.
Lloyds Bar - This pub venue is part of the Weatherspoon's family, so drinks are cheap, but they also have a music licence so you'll be able to listen to your favourite tunes while you drink and socialise.
Don't expect to get a table if you arrive past 7pm, because this is a popular bar that attracts party-goers and students that are starting their night out. If you are under 25 then you will particularly like this venue.
Opus- As well as being an R&B nightclub, Opus also has a bar attached. The atmosphere in here is very relaxed and they often run good drink offers - on a Sunday you can get any drink for £2.00 and 'buy one get one free' on cocktails.
I especially recommend this bar if you're going to watch a concert at the MEN arena and you fancy a few drinks beforehand, because when there is a musical act on at the arena they play the artist's music in the bar, so you can get in the mood for the concert while you have a drink.
****************** But I fancy food... ***************
There is also a wide range of restaurants located in the Printworks. You can eat American food in The Hard Rock Café, Henry J Beans or New Orleans; Chinese food in Yum Yums and Wagamama; Mexican food in Chiquitos, Greek food in Papa G's; chicken in Nando's; or sushi in Wasabi Sushi. There really is a restaurant to suit every taste and they all seem to be child friendly, so if you are in Manchester with the kids, then The Printworks is a good dining option. Here are my personal recommendations...
Hard Rock Café: If you want to go for a special meal with the family then I highly recommend this venue. They often have deals on kid's meals and it's very family-friendly. You will find typical American cuisine on sale here - you can order burgers, pizzas and steak. However it's not cheap and you may find that you'll be waiting a while for a table, so pop in and book at the beginning of the night to avoid disappointment.
Yum Yums: If you're not familiar with the Printworks then you might miss this venue, because it's located upstairs, but you will find the entrance and a lift towards the front of The Printworks, on the left hand side. Yum Yums offers an all you can eat Chinese buffet at a very competitive price. There are 100's of Chinese dishes on offer and prices are discounted during the day.
Nando's: This restaurant is often busy but the staff are really efficient. They offer a mainly chicken-based menu at a very reasonable price. If you're looking for good food on the cheap then this place is recommended.
Wasabi Sushi: This restaurant is a really friendly, quirky venue. It serves sushi on a rotating wheel and the set menu (which includes items on the wheel and noodle or rice dish) is very reasonably priced. If you're with an experimental group of friends and you fancy trying something different then I recommend you pay this Japanese restaurant a visit!
************ Are there any nightclubs within the venue? *********
At night the The Printworks fills up with party goers. The nightclubs within the complex include: Pure, Opus and Entourage - and The Birdcage is located just around the corner.
In general the nightclubs tend to cater for a young crowd, who enjoy R&B, dance and chart music, so if you prefer soul, indie or rock then you'd be best off heading somewhere else. But here's a rundown of what is on offer...
Pure: This nightclub is really big, with a number of different rooms spread over two floors. This is a really popular venue with students and young party-goers. When you enter the club it does feel like you're walking through airport security because you have to walk through a metal detector and all bags are checked. However this is obviously a safety precaution to make sure that nobody is taking items into the club that they shouldn't be. They have a range of different party nights on here, that cater for predominantly for Dance, House, R&B and chart fan.
To find out more go to:
Opus: This nightclub plays a lot of R&B music and stars such as JLS and Lemar have been knows to hang out here after gigs. They have a lot of high profile DJ appearing here and the entrance fee and drinks prices reflects this. Only go if you're a big fan of R&B.
The Birdcage: Technically this nightclub isn't within The Printworks, but it's located opposite and it's a great night out so I thought it was worth a mention. You'll find cabaret acts and drag queens putting on performances here. It's usually packed out, especially at the weekends and the venue attracts hen parties, stag parties, groups in fancy dress and others out for a good time. The music is pretty mainstream in here - so expect chart, dance and pop.
*************** Overall ******************
The Printworks is a great venue because there are lots of different pubs and restaurants within the complex.
During the day and early evening you can sit in a number of pubs and opt to eat in a number of restaurants.
This is a good place to go early on if you are on a night out with a mixed crowd, because you can hop between a number of good pubs and bars without walking very far. It's also a handy venue when the weather is bad, because everything is under one roof so you don't have to wonder around in the rain. Although the choice of nightclubs is limited I recommend this place, both by day and by night.
Four out of five stars.
This is billed as 20 places under one roof and that exactly what it is. You will find various pubs, clubs, and eateries to keep everyone happy. A quick selection of some of the places you'll find are -
Tiger Tiger (a bar, club and restaurant)
Waxy O'Connor's (pub that serves food)
Virgin Active Health Club
Norwegian Blue (nightclub)
Lloyds No. 1
Henry J Bean's
If you don't know where to go on a night out, I suggest here as there's something for everyone. The eataries range from pub grub, to Mexican to Chinese, so everyone should be happy.
It is also suitable for families and not just for Saturday night. They have many events taking place so it is always best to check their website.
There is a very visable security prescence, so even on a busy Saturday night you alwasy feel safe
The cinema, an Odeon Imax, is great with the latest and popular movies showing on their 18 screens.
As it is situated in the centre of Manchester transport is easily accessable as it is right opposite Victoria Station and just a few minutes walk from a bus stop and taxis. Due to its close proximity to other pubs, clubs and bars it's a great place to start the night.
The Printworks is advertised as being Europes first urban entertainment venue which claims to be a 24 hour facility. It claims to have everything that you could ever want when it comes to entertainment and comprises of a selection of bars, clubs, restaurants and shops. The creators of The Printworks claim that they owe its success to the fact that its daring to be different and creating rather than following the trends. The Printworks was started in 1998 and finished in 2000 with practically all the units now being occupied. Its a large structure which consists of three main blocks with a centre alley running between them which is handily undercover ideal for during the winter time. Its quite an impressive looking structure which is undoubtedly modern in design and visually attractive too.
Its located in the Manchester region of England in a city centre area known as Withy Grove it replaces the large Withy Grove Press which was the largest press plant in England and closed down in 1987 which left the site in a derelict condition. It was part of the renovation of the city centre following the terrorist bomb in 1996 which destroyed a substantial part of the city and affected its economy greatly.
There are a number of buses which regularly run to right outside The Printworks and public transport is probably the easiest way to get there. There is also a metro shuttle which runs in Manchester city centre and is completely free; it runs seven days a week from 8am until approximately 6pm each evening. You can also walk quite easily from Piccadilly or Victoria Station and from any place within the city centre really. There are two large car parks located within a 5 minute walk from The Printworks although they are quite pricey due to the city centre location you can expect to pay anything up to £10 for a days stay or approximately £5 for a couple of hours.
So whats contained in the complex
Café Rouge A French based restaurant which is part of a chain which opened in 1989 and can now be found throughout Europe. It offers high quality and slightly expensive food at all times of day. Its quite a relaxed place during the daytime while at night it turns into a cosy, candlelit bar style restaurant.
Wagamama The first branch opened in London several years ago now and offers a modern restaurant which is set out like a canteen in a sense. It mainly serves a variety of noodle dishes although there are also many Chinese options as well. Its unconventional and a really nice place to relax without being overly pricey.
Paparazzi This is the first of many night clubs which are housed within The Printworks and is arguably one of the most exclusive and posh that there is in Manchester. A small doorway shows the entrance before going downstairs to the main club; effectively its all under ground. Its classy and chilled but this is all reflected in the prices!
Yum Yum There seems to be a growing number of buffet style restaurants in cities these days offering all you can eat deals at all times of the day. Yum Yums is a Chinese buffet style restaurant which serves lots of delicious Chinese dishes for you to sample at your free will. Trays are refilled frequently throughout the day and food is always piping hot too.
Quiznos Most of you will no doubt have heard of Subway stores which are an American branded fast food restaurant offering freshly prepared sandwiches on submarine rolls. Quiznos is basically another variation of this same set up but also offers variations such as soup and salads also ideal if youre looking for a quick bite.
Waxy OConnors Quite a unique styled bar with three separate bar areas and six other areas in total which occupy four floors all linked by staircases and passages, its incredibly easy to get lost in here and forget which floor youre on! Its very popular during the evenings and theres something to suit every mood, from the lively bar area to the relaxing Sofa Lounge.
Urveda One of the three Urveda day spas in the Manchester area and arguably the largest of the three. They offer your typical beauty treatments as well as some not so well known including Colonic operations and the Leorex Challenge.
Holmes Place This is located along the top floor of the first block of The Printworks and is part of the chain of gyms owned by Holmes Place. Its incredibly popular with the more affluent members of the Manchester community and is probably one of the most luxurious gyms Ive ever looked round (needless to say I didnt join on my student loan)!
Tiger Tiger This is the second of the clubs contained in The Printworks and is arguably the biggest one and possibly the most well known also due to it being part of a chain. Its an incredibly popular venue with students during the week and also locals at the weekends. It typically plays r n b music and offers a relaxed atmosphere in which to enjoy a night out.
Hard Rock Café One of the larger units is occupied by the American branded Hard Rock café. For those of you who havent visited one ever before its decorated like an old rock club with priceless legends adorning the walls including The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Stone Roses.
Aleef News A small newsagents, again part of a chain which offers a chance to pick up any necessities including newspapers and snacks.
Norwegian Blue During the day this bar offers a comfortable and classy atmosphere in which to enjoy a quiet coffee or a bite to eat before being transformed into a lively bar in the evenings, again a great start to a night out at The Printworks to get you in the mood.
Nandos This is part of the Nandos chain that began over in South Africa before coming to the UK back in 1995. Its mainly a Portuguese style chicken restaurant that serves very little that doesnt contain chicken! Ive never actually eaten there before but a few of my friends have and have always enjoyed a pleasant meal without having to pay a fortune for it.
Lloyds Part of the Wetherspoons chain of bars which offers an informal bar area for both day and night time visits. Theres plenty on offer in this particular Lloyds including a great food menu, two large bars, a dance floor and large TV screens for all those important football matches!
Opus This is the most recent addition to The Printworks and is the third of the three main clubs in the area. It opened back in May 2006 and has also proved itself to be a large success as it regularly sees hundreds of people entering its doors every week. It offers a couple of student nights during the week as well as being open all through the weekend also.
Old Orleans This is another restaurant to add to the wide selection available on offer. This time it offers a taste of the Deep South area of the USA to The Printworks and serves some very tasty dishes indeed.
Odeon A large branch of the Odeon chain of cinemas which has over 15 screens on offer and also a special gallery area which offers unlimited food and drink as well as larger seats too.
Henry J Beans - Yet another eatery that is offered by The Printworks where the focal point in the bar in the centre which features rather clever cocktail making staff!
Hard Rock Casino For those of you who are a little daring when it comes to entertainment theres a real casino available which opened back in 2002. Theres a small café and also two bars contained in the casino as well as a huge gaming area.
So there we have it Europes first 24 hour entertainment venue. And my opinion? Well firstly Id have to disagree that its a 24 hour venue as strictly its not, the clubs seem to all close between 3 and 4am with the newsagents and the gym opening at 7am so if were being essentially picky then Id have to find fault with that claim! Apart from that though I think The Printworks is a great way to spend a day or an evening, everything is within a couple of minutes walk of everything else which makes it practical and simple to get around. Ive often spent over half a day there by having a meal, visiting a few bars and then going onto a club so its certainly ideal in that respect no need to worry about crawling onto a club when youve had a few too many drinks! Its very much suited towards quite a narrow audience, Id probably say 18 35 year olds will find something to suit themselves here at all times but theres very little for children to do or for those of you that have outgrown your clubbing era. As Im at university in Manchester I do tend to visit The Printworks a couple of times a month but I wouldnt make a large effort to get there again really as I feel theres very similar facilities offered in other towns and cities also.
For more information please contact: -
0871 230 5556
The Printworks in Manchester is a complex of restaurants, pubs, cafes and a cinema all under one roof covering about 360,000 square feet, and is described as Europes first entertainment and leisure complex. The complex has an American feel to it, with wet-look cobbled stone floor, a very high-up ceiling and plenty of neon! The building used to belong to a certain Mr Maxwell, and was used to print newspapers (hence the name), but was abandoned upon his demise and left that way until the IRA bombing ten years ago nearly destroyed the building. A lot of work and money has gone into refurbishing the building, and you can certainly see where it has gone. The exterior is festooned with neon signs and a plasma TV, whilst the spacious, airy inside is made to look like some back street in down town New York. Essentially, it is a street under a roof. You can walk from one end to the other in about a minute. The surrounding areas are still being redeveloped, so some places may seem off putting by their shabby appearances (though this has improved recently).
There was a lot of excitement in Manchester when this was about to open, but to be honest, it was a bit of a let down for me. Besides eating, drinking and going to the cinema, there is nothing to do! When I heard its description, I was expecting a leisure centre or a swimming pool or indoor fairground (Im a big kid!) or something similar. But I was just restaurants. Every so often, there will be a competition to win a car, or a stall offering prizes to anyone who can kick a ball into an impossibly small hole, but it is not somewhere to go if you want a day out rather it should form part of your day out. Every now and then, music bands will be featured, or even a film premier. But more often than not, it will be tourists wondering what to do, local office workers hurrying to and from work, and scallies being chased out by security.
Its difficult to say anything more about the Printworks, as it is really just a building encompassing lots of venues. If these venues sum up the Printworks, then Id better review the venues.
My visits have taken place over a good period, but not having been into every joint in here, not everything is reviewed (and venues seem to change every now and then). Apologies if you wanted a review on something I havent reviewed maybe someone else will include it!
Location : Nearly slap-bang in the city centre. It is situated opposite Urbis and the newly renovated Arndale centre. The Printworksis about 2 minutes walk from Shudehill bus and tram station and about the same from Manchester Victoria train station.
Entry : Entry to the Printworks itself is free of charge. Kids are welcome as are group bookings. There should be no problems with wheelchair access.
Cash Machine : There are a few machines at the adjoining Co-op bank, and a daylight robbery, sorry, privately owned machine inside the printworks.
Toilets / nappy changing facilities : none in the printworks itself, individual venues will have facilities, as does the Arndale Centre across the road.
Heres a list of what is inside (at the moment anyway!) in no particular order.
* Hard Rock Café and Casino : A must for music fans. The restaurant serves authentic US food and drinks (at astronomical prices a BLT with fries will set you back just under £8.00) and has a very contemporary look to it. The walls are adorned with various memorabilia of music, from Jimmy Hendrix to Madonna to Simply Red. The venue has live music shows of some top bands (I am told!). The venue hosts parties and also has outside seating (which is right next to a main bus route, so rather noisy!). Adjoining the Café is a casino for those who like a flutter. Games include blackjack, roulette (and electronic roulette) and slot machines. There is also a café and cocktail bar attached. Although I did not stay here, the room was VERY nice and cosy, and you could easily end up losing as many pounds in cash as you put on it weight! Hard Rock is not a particular favourite of mine, especially given the prices. It is a bit pretentious for my tastes (even the scallies and chavs who go in here would look down their nose at you), and the outside seating is spoiled by the incessant stream of buses that go past, plus the kids that sometimes pour out (kicked out?) of the Arndale centre across the road can be a bit off-putting.
* Norwegian blue : This is one of my favourites! The atmosphere is great in here, though it can be quiet at times, which is perfect for chillin out especially on the huge comfy chairs. Prices are pretty reasonable. Those wanting to get hammered should be able to do so without wrecking the bank balance, with shots costing £1, bottles of beer for £1.50 and cocktails (2 zombies will cost just a fiver) most of the day, you can be sure to gete paralytic if you wanted. However, this is a very easy going place and is popular with students and food, reasonably priced and well prepared, is available until late. However, the service is sometimes not that impressive. A couple of times, during quiet periods, I have waited over half an hour for a simple dish to be served, and one time the bar staff didnt know how to make the cocktails! It is over a month since I was last here, and apparently services have improved somewhat since. A good place to go after a hard day studying!
* Lloyds No 1 Bar : This used to be one of my favourite places in Manchester, due to the real ale served and the ridiculously cheap prices (as is food). Thats all changed now, and the main emphasis seems to be on serving food. I stopped going here because the place seemed to be going downhill. Gangs of very manly men would come in looking to get trashed before continuing their night elsewhere, thereby demonstrating their manliness. Your lucky if you can find a table that doesnt look like theres been a food fight going on, and dont even think of coming here if you want to strike up a conversation. Since they got their music licence, it seems that they try to get the most from it by playing at full volume! From what I have seen going past this place, the situation has not changed since my last visit over a year ago.
* Old Orleans : the name says it all really, except that service could not possibly be so bad in the real New Orleans. I went in here with anticipation of their menu crocodile steak among the more exotic. But alas, from five requests for different dishes, only 1 was available! The range of drinks are nothing to shout about really, either, they are in fact what you will find in most pubs. The actual restaurant was quite nice, though a bit bland. I got the feeling that I was walking into a big café and not a restaurant. There is also no smoking allowed at all. Old Orleans usually has quite a few offers on, such as two for one meals, and these can normally be found if you visit the adjoining Odeon cinema (formerly the Filmworks reviewed later). The cheap prices and offers may tempt people, but my first experience left me feeling like they need the custom.
* Henry J Beans : My god! If you cannot find the cocktail in here that you want, then it doesnt exist! Theres dozens and dozens of bottles lined up at the bar, all waiting and begging to be made into a cocktail! A good feature of this place is the open grill where they make their burgers (which are, simply, delicious). They also provide set menus and buffets, and serve English food as well as traditional American food. HJB is totally inside the Printworks complex, so there is no outside seating. But with the cool, wooden flooring and cosy atmosphere, you wouldnt really want to sit outside! Fans of American sports will also want to stay inside to watch major league games. Prices again are quite steep
* Waxy O Connors : Oooh! This is a nice place! Stone, gothic-like masonry, candle lit recesses (think of Via Fossa, if youve been there). Basically, its and old Irish church (I think) taken apart and reformed into the restaurant. A very nice and cosy place with three bars over 4 levels (easy to get lost!). Its also one of those places that are frequented by part-time Irish people on St Patricks Day, but abandoned by them for the rest of the year. Still, it does get busy with good reason. The food is gorgeous if somewhat pricey (but its worth it). Kids are welcome in the daytime, and evenings usually involve a band twice a week, and two big screens allow viewing of major sports events including Gaelic football! Music is kept to a minimum enabling talking (in the daytime anyway), and its another good place to relax after all that shopping youve done!
* Wagamama : A conveyor-belt like noodle bar. I say this as I felt like I was in one. Get your order, eat it and get out. Which is a shame because this place is so nice! It has a modern, minimalistic look to it which makes it look very pretentious, but it is rather friendly besides the rushed pace. The food is excellent though, and kids are welcome to sample the equally delicious kiddies menu (I know because I pinched my kid brothers food!). If you cant get your kid to eat anything other than a BigMac and crisp, though, then they may not enjoy eating here. All food is served fresh with no artificial ingredients. Hot and cold drinks are available in alcoholic and non alcoholic varieties, with the beers all coming from the far east. And the prices are wallet friendly too. If you want a meal with a difference (and are in a rush!), then waggle down to Wagamama!
Tiger Tiger : A very pretentious, stylish bar popular with office workers (possibly due to happy hour at home time).
Odeon : Formerly the Filmworks. 18 screens of varying sizes. Couple of screens have a Gallery an overpriced exclusive small lounge at the back of the auditorium that provides little refuge from the usual scallies and natterers on the back rows. There is also the IMAX WOW! Huge! Brilliant! And well worth going to see a show if you have not already (reasonably priced). The kids will love it!
Aleefs : A handy but very small news kiosk (part of a chain of newsagents that has sprung up around Manchester)
Yum Yum : A Chinese buffet style restaurant that I have not visited (yet!)
Nandos : restaurant specialising in spicy food
Holmes Place : A gymnasium, and therefore somewhere I avoid
Paparrazi : stylish, bar / nightclub popular with students (but not me)
Quiznos : Glamorous version of Subway
Opus : Funky bar / restaurant / nightclub