Ah, Oxford Road. For many, it’s the first port of call for those new to the city and looking for a night on the tiles. With plenty of pubs strewn up and down this busy stretch, it’s no wonder it’s earned the nickname the Student Corridor. Despite COVID-19 trying its hardest to squash the fun, there’s still plenty of venues that operating in a safe and socially distanced way to give punters a real flavour of what Manchester’s night life has to offer. With rules and regulations changing daily, we recommend visiting each pub’s site and socials before dropping by for a drink – but in the meantime, here’s a handful of our favourite Oxford Road bars…


YES has fast become a staple of Manchester’s nightlife scene, providing alternative and niche club nights as well as hosting bands like Stockport’s own Blossoms and generally being the place to be every weekend. While we wait for their oh-so Instagrammable Pink Room to welcome live music back once more, visitors can catch a host of socially distanced events in this cool-looking space, like free film screenings. You can also grab a drink via an online purchase in their airy ground-floor bar or outside beer terrace. A range of draught beers are available, alongside cocktails on-tap and range of drink deals to help you avoid dipping into that student overdraft too much.

YES, 38 Charles Street, Manchester M1 7DB, Tel: 0161 273 2725

Odds are, you’ve noticed the vibrant pink, black and yellow shipping containers that make up Hatch on your journey down Oxford Road. This super popular street food and drink hub is perhaps perfectly suited for the new socially distanced times we find ourselves in – 90% of its seats our outside which means safety is easily attained during nights out or day drinking sessions with your new uni mates. You’ll be able to sample a nifty range of craft beer on-tap from their main bar (some from Manchester brewers, others from further afield), while No. Eight offers expertly curated wines and gin and tonics for those after something a little different. You might even find your new favourite food here too; Hatch’s ever-changing array of street food vendors offer some of the best locally created grub in the city (Quick tip: Make sure you try a chicken parm from Parmageddon).

Hatch, Oxford Road, Manchester M1 7ED, Tel: 0333 323 2238
The Thirsty Scholar

Tucked underneath Oxford Road train station, The Thirsty Scholar is the perfect first stop on any pub crawl venturing down this packed university hot-spot. Inside, it’s tiny and intimate – specialising in a selection of reasonably-priced traditional pub ales, spirits and wines – while outside, it boasts an enviable seating spot which is nestled under a railway arch and sheltered from the frequent Manchester rain. Its inside space may be a no-go for now but its outdoor seating makes The Thirsty Scholar a great spot for a safe drink. The venue is currently operating a table-service only format and has made their drinks menu available online, so you can browse before you order.

The Thirsty Scholar, 50 New Wakefield Street, Manchester M1 5NP, Tel: 0161 236 6071
The Font

The Font and Oxford Road go hand in hand. In short: It’s an absolute must-visit spot for any new arrivals to the city. This cheap and cheerful venue is known for its colourful range of cocktails, many of which are available from as little as £3. When it comes to mixable drinks, these guys have an extensive and creative array on offer – from cake-inspired treats like the Cherry Bakewell, to the fruity sweet throwback Jelly Tot Sour. Beers, wines and food are also available to enjoy – and safety has been heightened to cater for the new normal. Customers are encouraged to book their tables in advance and order through their brand new app.

The Font, 7-9 New Wakefield Street, Manchester M1 5NP, Tel: 0161 236 0944
Mon 12 Oct
Emmeline Banks
Published on:
Sat 10 Oct 2020