The best and worst smoking areas in Manchester

The definitive guide

Smoking is pretty much a given in Manchester, so finding the ideal location to sneak out for a quick rollie is pivotal for a successful night out.

Manc boasts a variety of smoking areas to choose from: ranging from spacious seated areas that you never want to leave, to Fifth- where you have to pay just to smoke your own cigarette.

Here is our selection of the best and worst smoking areas in town:


With canal views from a spacious terrace and soft style seating, G-A-Y single-handedly reinvents the smoking area. This isn’t a space you retreat to for a few minutes to scrounge a filter and gasp some air beside sweaty bodies. It’s the place to spend your evening: smoking, chatting with strangers and gazing down upon the locals partaking in their leisurely activities below. It’s the North West’s equivalent of French café culture.


And don’t worry if you lose your friends, you’ll immediately make new ones. Whether it’s the 40-year-old woman who appoints herself your wingwoman or the guy puffing through a 20 deck as he desperately explains his doomed relationship. You can learn more about 21st century Britain during a single night in G-A-Y’s smoking area than in three years of your £27k Sociology degree. Even better, your night is totally free. You don’t get that at Fifth.


Set in an ideal location, Kubo, formerly Koh Tao’s  smoking area gives you a primetime viewing of countless drunk students doing stupid stuff on their way out/home from a night out. Be like Attenborough, observe the inebriated student at its finest; drunk, stumbling and spouting gibberish.10411969_882966698390459_8666673885413772129_n

Only in the Koh Tao smoking area have I been privy to one of the best things I have ever seen: a girl stumbling out of chicken king, losing her step and falling face first into her cheesy chips and mayo. It was incredible. Plus, you can sit at the tables and chat shit sharing rollies with your friends for as long as you want, there’s no time limit, no bouncer hurrying you along. Sit back, relax, enjoy the Fallowfield wildlife.


Okay, so Squirrels isn’t a club. But a smoking area with no rules is the best kind of smoking area. You can eat, drink, dance and do pretty much anything you like in the Squirrels smoking area. You can stay out there as long as you want, in fact you can even pop home and back in under five minutes, and no one is going to tell you off for sitting down.

Deaf Institute

Deaf Institute might not be the most popular place for nights out, especially at weekends, but it is home to Gold Teeth, and to the best smoking area in Manchester. Even if you don’t smoke, you’ll probably end up spending most of  the night out there. Not only is this smoking area right next to the bar, but you are actually allowed to take drinks outside.


There are lights, heat lamps, benches and a shelter; which is essential because let’s face it, it will be raining. Last year, they even repainted the fences of the smoking area with funky backdrops to take photos against, if you needed an excuse to take more selfies on a night out.

If you’re a cheap social smoker, Deaf Institute smoking area is perfect for you, as there’s always someone willing to give you a straight, or teach you how to roll. If you’re in need of a light, or even if you just wanted some air, you can sit out in the smoking area without worrying about a one-in-one-out policy like most places.


Fifth’s smoking area is BAD. Bad to the point where you wonder if it’s even worth the effort of wasting your baccy as you’re forced to shell out £1 on an awfully cringey Fifth wristband that you could’ve used for drinks. Unlike the relative freedom and fresh air you get at the likes of Deaf and South, at Fifth you’re forced to get your wristband marked every time you go for a smoke. You can only go four times, each visit more uncomfortable than the last. 


Even if you just want to go outside for some fresh air and avoid the sweaty masses inside, you’re out of luck. It’s not even worth it.


The smoking area at Antwerp is the safe haven for all the overly fucked ravers within. You can stay out there as long as you want without an angry bouncer looking over your shoulder and probably make some new friends in the process. Don’t worry if you’ve run out of cigs/say you’re a “social smoker” to get out of buying them, because a stranger will definitely be willing to oblige. And let’s be honest, the smoking area is probably nicer than the toilets if you need a piss.