The 15 Things You Could Do In 90s Manchester That You Can’t Do Now

So much has changed in Manchester in recent decades, from how the city looks to how we shop, eat and socialize.

From gone nightclubs, shops and restaurants to now-demolished buildings – in the 1990s many things were very different.

Many of the things we loved to do then are now confined to the history books.

Read more: The rise and fall of Kardomah: the cafes where Manchester learned to love coffee long before Starbucks and Costa

And despite the great additions to the city in the years since, it’s hard not to get nostalgic when we consider how much has changed.

The list below is not intended to be exhaustive but does include some of your suggestions made on our social media. But if there’s anything you think we should have included, let us know in the comments section.

Watch a movie at the Oxford Street Odeon cinema

Demolition of the old Odeon cinema in Oxford Street Manchester.  2017
The old Odeon cinema in Oxford Street, Manchester pictured in 2017

The cinema opened on October 6, 1930 as The Paramount Theater and was used as a single screen cinema that could seat up to 3,000 people.

It became the Odeon in 1939, and over the years stars like Bruce Forsyth would appear in the piano lounge and it would be used for glitzy movie premieres.

But the cinema closed in 2004, after 74 years in business.

In 2017, the Manchester Evening News reported how the iconic city center cinema was being demolished to make way for a new 14-storey office building.

Have a pint at Tommy Ducks

Tommy Ducks again - this time in 1985
Tommy Ducks pub in 1985

The Grade II listed Tommy Ducks pub was on East Street opposite the Midland Hotel.

However, the popular pub can never be visited again as it was bulldozed in the mid-1990s.

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Today a Premier Inn hotel stands in its place, but many still have fond memories of the location.

Visit the Rainforest Café

Come to think of it, the Rainforest Cafe is a bit of a wild concept?
The Rainforest Cafe, Manchester

One of the first fixtures in the Trafford Centre, the Rainforest Café, is now a distant memory.

it was a place to eat chips and drink pop as an animatronic tiger appeared from the “jungle” of fake plants next to your table.

The Rainforest Café was cruelly taken from us in 2000 after only a few years of glory and happiness.

It used to be where Nando’s is now.

Party at Jilly’s Rockworld

Rockworld nightclub, Manchester.  August 14, 1992
Rockworld nightclub, Manchester. Photo taken on August 14, 1992

Jilly’s, a Manchester institution, was originally known as Fagins. It opened on Oxford Road in the 1970s and was renamed Jilly’s in 1983, before Rockworld was added to the signage.

If you grew up in Manchester between 1983 and 2010 and loved guitar music, chances are you spent at least one memorable night at Jilly’s Rockworld.

The club attracted punks, rockers, goths, metalheads, skaters, moshers and indie kids to its dingy, sweaty labyrinth of rooms for decades, before closing nearly 12 years ago.

Rent a video from Blockbuster

Blockbuster shop, Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton.  June 2015
Blockbuster shop, Barlow Moor Road in Chorlton. June 2015

When video was king, there was nothing better than going to Blockbuster to pick the perfect movie for your evening.

Like many places, Greater Manchester had many Blockbuster branches, such as the one in Chorlton pictured above.

Do they stir up memories for you? Let us know in the comments below.

At the end of 2013, all stores in the UK were closed.

Shopping at Lewis’

The interior of Lewis' department store in Manchester.  Our photo shows the stocking department.  September 17, 1957. Photos colored with the tool in the 'Memory Lane' section in your area
The interior of Lewis’ department store in Manchester. Our colored photo shows the stocking department on September 17, 1957

Founded in 1856 as a draper in Liverpool, Lewis’s evolved into a department store as it gradually added more lines and expanded its premises.

The Manchester branch opened in 1877 and over the years Lewis introduced self-service, Christmas caves and more to generations of Mancunians.

The company went into administration in 1991 and was bought by Liverpool competitor Owen Owen, who kept the name.

The Manchester store finally closed in 2002 and is now the huge Primark on Market Street.

Eating at the Dutch Pancake House

Manchester's Old Dutch Pancake House
The old Dutch Pancake House in Manchester

The Dutch Pancake House closed a little over ten years ago and is known for its huge menu and gigantic plates.

Based on the corner of St Peter’s Square and Oxford Street, it was a popular place to visit before a trip to the Odeon cinema two doors down.

It opened in 1996, but closed a few years later in the early 2000s.

The building it used to house – Elizabeth House – was demolished to make way for the gleaming new St. Peter’s Square 1.

Get pick n mix at Woolworths

Shoppers at the till on the last day of the Woolworth store in Pwllhlei, January 2009
Everything must go: January 2009

Before we all got a little too obsessed with Home Bargains and B&M, there was Woolies.

The pick n mix was legendary and the store had so much stuff it was hard to choose – so we just got it all.

The first store in Manchester opened on Oldham Street before being moved in 1927 to a purpose-built flagship building on the corner of Piccadilly, which at the time was said to be the largest retail building in Europe.

Woolworths collapsed under administration in 2008 and all 807 stores closed in January 2009, including the many branches in Greater Manchester, losing tens of thousands of jobs.

Have a night out at the Hacienda

Manchester club The Hacienda.  Date unknown
The Hacienda

For 15 years, the legendary Hacienda club was known around the world as the spiritual home of rave culture and acid house.

Funded by Tony Wilson’s Factory Records and New Order, Hacienda fueled the rise of acid house music and rave culture, opening on May 21, 1982 in a former yachtbuilder’s warehouse at 11-13 Whitworth Street West.

Over the years, Hacienda has hosted performances by everyone from The Smiths to Madonna. But it wasn’t until 1986 for it to really take off when events like DJ Mike Pickering’s legendary house night Nude filled the dance floors and clubbers lined up around the block.

The legendary Hacienda nightclub closed on June 28, 1997 – but its legacy still lives on.

Follow the footy on teletext

A person watching TV through Teletext

Before the days of Sky streaming and casting, the easiest way to watch the football was to follow it on teletext.

If you had read page 301 of Ceefax, crossed your fingers and hoped, maybe you should have just seen what happened in the match.

Kids today would probably think it looks like something out of an old science fiction movie.

But many Mancunians will remember using this to try and follow some Manchester City or Manchester United matches in the 1990s.

Visit the Warner Bros store

The Warner Bros Studio Store in Manchester Arndale
The former Warner Bros Studio Store in Manchester Arndale

When the Warner Brothers store arrived in Manchester Arndale in the early 90’s it was a very exciting time.

The huge shop was topped with a giant Tasmanian devil and the nearby fountain was guarded by statues of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd.

The store itself had enough plush toys and washcloths that expand in water to last a lifetime.

Visits to the Arndale Center shop were a rite of passage for many Manc children of the 1990s, but the wealth of film and TV memorabilia closed the shop in 2001.

Dine at The Market Restaurant

The Market Restaurant in the Northern Quarter that's closed?
The former Market Restaurant in the Northern Quarter

Located on the corner of High Street and Edge Street, The Market Restaurant served dinners long before the Northern Quarter became the bustling bar and restaurant district it is today.

Opened in the early 1980s, it stood firmly in the face of the major changes to the area over the decades, earning accolades including a Manchester Food and Drink Festival Award for Best Restaurant in 2005.

It closed in 2015 after 35 years and is now home to French restaurant 63 Degrees.

Watch a game on Maine Road

Manchester City FC, end of an era.  Maine Road, pictured expansive view of the Kippax stand.  March 2003
The Kippax, March 2003

City left the historic stadium that was the home of the Blues for 80 years and moved to the City of Manchester Stadium, which had been built for the previous year’s Commonwealth Games.

The stadium later changed its name to Etihad and has seen extraordinary success for the Blues in recent years, but that doesn’t mean fans don’t miss their old home or reminisce.

The ground was demolished to make way for the Maine Place development.

Go on the Granada Studio tour

The old Granada Studios
The old Granada Studios on Quay Street

The original home of Coronation Street, Granada Studios on Quay Street, was famous in the UK.

After opening in 1988 with great publicity, the tour attracted 5.25 million people from around the world to see the famous open-air set of Coronation Street and its many other TV-related themes.

The red neon sign Granada quickly became a popular sight throughout the city.

By the end of the millennium, however, the number of visitors was 30 percent less than expected, a drop that came as Granada Media moved away from leisure and entertainment. In December 1999, the tour was closed to the general public, with more than 200 jobs being lost.

Catch a bus under the Arndale

The Arndale Bus Station in Manchester
The old Arndale bus station in Manchester

Arndale bus station had been open for less than two decades and closed in the most dramatic way.

Opened on 24 September 1979, as part of the £100 million construction of the Arndale centre, it replaced several other smaller, street stations in and around the town centre.

Cannon Street station became one of Manchester’s busiest, but by the early 1990s, if not before, the station had become obsolete. But his fate was ultimately decided in the most dramatic way.

The Arndale was one of dozens of buildings badly damaged by an IRA bomb that exploded just a few feet away on Corporation Street on June 15, 1996. The station has never reopened. Cannon Street was wiped off the map in the massive reconstruction of the city center that followed.

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