I’ve only just discovered this, and I suspect it might be the same for you. Night and Day, the iconic music bar and venue on Oldham Street in the Northern Quarter – well, it started life as a chippy!
Back in 1991, the Northern Quarter was completely different to how it is today. The area had suffered from years of decline and dereliction, essentially operating as a series of streets housing old, decrepit textile warehouses and empty office blocks.
It would take another couple of years for the council to rope in Urban Splash to start the regeneration of the area, and so at that time – the place was as rough as a badger’s arse – with buildings boarded up everywhere and undesirables stalking the dimly lit, desolate streets.
And it’s in this lovely sounding environment where the late Jan Oldenburg (above) bought a chip shop, one which he didn’t really have any money to fit out or improve. He had some serious aspirations about the space though – he just needed the cash.
The chip shop was actually located in a rather advantageous position, especially when looked upon now 30 years later. Next door was Dry Bar, which was owned and operated by Factory Records – a scaled-down version of the wildly popular Hacienda on the other side of town.
The opening of the bar in 1989 was seen at the time as madness – one of Tony Wilson’s famed follies – mainly due to the area which was even dodgier than it was a couple of years later. It quickly became popular though – especially with visiting bands in the area – and as such – a chip shop next door didn’t seem like too much of a risk.
But Jan didn’t want a chip shop, let alone run one with a hair net and tabard on. He wanted a music venue and a bar, and, with fuck all money, he slowly starting introducing some rather odd ideas to fit alongside the battered sausages and pickled eggs.
Slowly but surely, Jan introduced a bit of jazz here, some bands there, and once he started selling booze – the chip shop was on its way to becoming the fully-fledged bar and music venue that we all love today.
Night & Day became a key force in the regeneration of the area, and Jan was behind it all – one of the many creatives that found the Northern Quarter as a home and an outlet for their ideas and artistic vision.
As the swanky apartments began to show up, and the young professionals moved in – Night & Day continued regardless – still serving up weekly gigs for some of the city’s most promising up-and-coming acts.
Over the years the venue has played an important role in the Manchester music scene, and has been home to many successful bands over the years, many playing their early gigs on the infamous (tiny) stage at the end of the bar.
Elbow played at the venue before it even had a proper stage, and the likes of Kasabian, Jessie J, Paulo Nutini, the Arctic Monkeys and Manic Street Preachers have all played there. The venue was also used extensively during the filming of recent Netflix drama – Safe – which is actually well worth a watch.
This week, Night & Day celebrate their 30th birthday with a series of gigs, including a very special appearance by Elbow on Tuesday 23rd November.
Wednesday 24th will feature the Manchester debut of Brighton-based seven-piece KEG, while Thursday 25th will be a nod to the roots of the venue back in 1991 – with jazz from Tenderlonious – one of the leading, most forward- thinking and prolific bands to emerge from London’s thriving jazz scene.
Friday 26th November will feature an Exclusive 7 Inch Launch Party (in collaboration with Piccadilly Records) for Blanketman’s ‘Yard Sale’ EP, and finishing on Saturday night with the highly danceable sounds of The Orielles.
For more information on Night & Day’s 30th Birthday celebrations, and tickets – head over to their website.