The Whiskey Jar: Northern Quarter’s Longest Running Open Mic Venue Focused on Nurturing Local Talent

A true Northern Quarter institution, The Whiskey Jar is launching a brand-new programme of live music kick starting this Friday.

By Emma Davidson | September 27th '22

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If you’ve resided in Manchester for a while now, it’s more than likely that you’ve paid The Whiskey Jar a visit. Hidden away behind its red brick facade on Tariff Street, the venue has the allure of a speakeasy, combined with a rustic interior illuminated by calming candlelight, setting the stage for its regular calendar of genre spanning performances.

Launching this Friday, the venue will showcase a brand-new programme of live music events weekly across Autumn, with the aim of establishing itself as THE destination in the city for live music

Headed up by Joe McAdam, who has worked on the venue’s events programming for the past nine years, the new live line-up expands on The Whiskey Jar’s already stellar reputation for nurturing local talent – offering a more curated line-up of local and international acts, many of whom have passed through the iconic bar before. 

“The level of talent we’ve seen at The Whiskey Jar over the years is amazing, and we’ve always strived to support each person who has played here,” began Joe. 

“Our open mic night was the catalyst that started it all, and since then we’ve watched some incredible homegrown bands transition from our small stage to larger fame, and the new live shows will showcase some of the former success stories, too.”  

Kicking off this week, Friday sees vocal extraordinaire, Pippa Crossland take to the stage alongside Ollie Walton for an evening of covers. Baring witness to this type of talent in the heart of Northern Quarter is reminiscent of the hidden bars of Ireland. The venues in which lonesome musicians retreat to on an evening, armed with an acoustic guitar, pint of Guinness and unmatched songwriting capabilities. 

Saturday’s stage is then taken over by Neo Club, a Manchester-based band who embody a similar nature – making for another music focused evening in which all attention is placed on talent. “The venue is a special, magical place where it’s all about the music,” furthered Joe. 

“It’s become a real cornerstone of the Manchester music community and, going forward, I want to put The Whiskey Jar on the map as the place to go for live music any night of the week, it’s definitely something that Manchester is lacking.”

The new weekend events are a natural progression for the Tariff Street bar, a venue that has seemingly risen to become a popular music-centric destination in the heart of the city. Last week, local indie giants Rosellas played a sell-out gig at the venue and, with a sound grounded in 90s Manchester, an era that Joe is admittedly a huge fan of, you can expect more of this from the venue’s Thursday evening programme. 

“There’s always a continuous undercurrent of creativity in Manchester. So many people are moving here, it’s becoming a melting pot for both listeners and performers, creating music that spans soul, indie, R&B and everything in between! 

“From a music background myself, I know The Whiskey Jar embodies everything exciting going on at the minute. From our weekly open mics to the bigger shows we’ve got coming over the next few months, The Whiskey Jar is a chilled space with some truly amazing music and that’s what fires my soul and seemingly the soul of the city!”

With the largest selection of whisky in Manchester, too, the venue becomes the ultimate winter retreat as the evenings grow longer and colder. Warm and welcoming, and that’s not just a review of the whiskeys, The Whiskey Jar elevates the experience of live music, honing in on original talent in Northern Quarter’s answer to the traditional cosy community local.