The 15 things you could do in 1990s Manchester that you can not do now

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

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

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

Read more: Kardomah’s rise and fall: The cafes where Manchester learned to love coffee, long before Starbucks and Costa

And despite major additions to the city in the years to come, it’s hard not to get nostalgic when we think about how much has changed.

The list below is not intended to be exhaustive, although it does contain a number of your suggestions on our social media. But if there’s something you think we should have included, let us know in the comments section.

Watch a movie at the Oxford Street Odeon Cinema

The old Odeon cinema on Oxford Street, Manchester pictured in 2017

The cinema started life as The Paramount Theater on October 6, 1930 and was used as a single cinema that could accommodate up to 3,000 people.

It became the Odeon in 1939, and over the years, stars like Bruce Forsyth appeared in its piano lounge, and it would be used for excellent film 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 torn down to make way for a new 14-storey office block.

Take a pint at Tommy Ducks

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

Famous pub Tommy Ducks was located on East Street opposite the Midland Hotel.

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

Join our Greater Manchester history, memories and people Facebook group here.

Today, a Premier Inn hotel is in place – but many still have fond memories of the place.

Visit the Rainforest Café

When you think about it, Rainforest Cafe is a bit of a wild concept
The Rainforest Café, Manchester

One of the early fixtures at the Trafford Center, Rainforest Café is now a distant memory.

it was a place to eat chips and drink pop while an animatronic tiger emerged from inside 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 now sits.

Party at Jilly’s Rockworld

Rockworld Nightclub, Manchester.  August 14, 1992
Rockworld Nightclub, Manchester. The photo was taken on August 14, 1992

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

If you grew up in Manchester between 1983 and 2010 and liked guitar music, there’s a good chance 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 maze of rooms for decades before closing almost 12 years ago.

Rent a video from Blockbuster

Blockbuster Store, Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton.  June 2015
Blockbuster store, Barlow Moor Road in Chorlton. June 2015

Back 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 boasts many Blockbuster branches, such as the one in Chorlton pictured above.

Do they evoke any memories for you? Tell us in the comments section below.

By the end of 2013, all UK stores were closed.

Buy at Lewis

The interior of Lewis's department store in Manchester.  Our picture shows the stocking department.  September 17, 1957. Images colored using the tool in the section
The interior of Lewis’s department store in Manchester. Our color image shows the stocking section on September 17, 1957

Lewis’s was established as a draper in Liverpool in 1856 and developed into a department store as it gradually added more lines and expanded its premises.

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

The company went into administration in 1991, and it 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.

Dine at The Dutch Pancake House

Manchester's old Dutch pancake house
The old Dutch pancake house in Manchester

The Dutch Pancake House closed just over a decade ago and is remembered for its huge menu and giant 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 that previously housed it – Elizabeth House – was demolished to make way for the shiny new 1st St. Peter’s Square.

Get pick n mix at Woolworths

Shoppers at the checkout 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 were Woolies.

The pick n mix was legendary, and the store had so many things that it was hard to choose – so we just got everything.

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

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

Take an evening in the city at the Hacienda

Manchester Club The Hacienda.  Date unknown

For 15 years, the legendary Hacienda Club was known worldwide as the spiritual home of rave culture and acid house.

Bankrolled by Tony Wilson’s Factory Records and New Order, Hacienda nurtured the emergence of acid house music and rave culture and opened inside a former yacht builder’s department store at 11-13 Whitworth Street West on May 21, 1982.

Over the years, Hacienda has hosted performances by everyone from The Smiths to Madonna. But it wasn’t until 1986 that it really took off when events like DJ Mike Pickering’s legendary house night Nude filled the dance floors and got club guests queuing around the block.

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

Follow the footsteps on teletext

Someone who is watching through teletext on tv
Back then

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

If you turned to page 301 of Ceefax, crossed your fingers and hoped, then maybe you should just see what had happened in the match.

Kids of today would probably think it looks like something from an old sci-fi movie.

But many Mancunians will remember using this to try to follow a series of Manchester City or Manchester United matches back in the 1990s.

Visit the Warner Bros. Store

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 store 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 boasted enough pets and face cloths that expand in water to hold you for life.

Visiting the Arndale Center store was a rite of passage for many Manc children in the 1990s, but the treasury of movies and TV memorabilia closed the store in 2001.

Dine at The Market Restaurant

The market restaurant in the northern quarter, which is closed
The former market restaurant in the northern quarter

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

Opening in the early 1980s, it stood firm in the face of major changes in the area over the decades and received praise, 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 the French restaurant 63 Degrees.

Watch a match on Maine Road

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

City left the historic stadium that had been the Blues’ home for 80 years to move 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 experienced an extraordinary amount of success for the Blues in recent years, but that does not mean fans do not miss or remember their old home.

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

Take 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 throughout the UK.

After opening in a flame of publicity in 1988, the tour attracted 5.25 million people from around the world who wanted to see the famous outdoor set of Coronation Street and its many other TV-related themes.

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

But at the turn of the millennium, the number of visitors was 30 percent less than expected, and the decline came as Granada Media moved away from leisure and entertainment. In December 1999, the tour closed to the public with the loss of more than 200 jobs.

Take a bus under Arndale

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

Arndale Bus Station was 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 Center, it replaced several other smaller street stations in and around the city center.

The Cannon Street station became one of Manchester’s busiest, but by the early ’90s, if not sooner, the station had become obsolete. But its fate was eventually decided in the most dramatic way.

Arndale was one of dozens of buildings severely damaged by an IRA bomb that exploded just meters away on Corporation Street on June 15, 1996. The station was never reopened. Cannon Street was erased from the map in the huge reconstruction of the city center that followed.

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