Poll Clubs 2010: Sankeys Manchester | DJMag.com Skip to main content
SANKEYS MCR
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"We are building the best club in the universe... failure is not an option," declared the sign that David Vincent stuck up in the club's office on taking full control here back in 2006. Irrepressibly enthusiastic, it's often easy to take Vincent's maddening passion and infectious, motor-mouthed rantings with a pinch of salt but the proof is now in the pudding. Only last month, Laurent Garnier emailed personally to gush about how his recent Sankeys gig sat in the top five of his career - a sentiment echoed by The Chemical Brothers after Bugged Out!'s 15th birthday here. Amidst a backdrop of poisonous recession, last year's attendances were 25% up on the previous - the vibe under those famously low, LED illuminated ceilings has been absolutely apeshit just about every single weekend.

Yet for a venue that has been the lifeblood of Manchester's clubbing community since 1994, one vote of confidence speaks loudest - that of the thousands who pledged their allegiance in our first clubber-voted Top 100 Clubs poll.

"The venue would be nothing if the crowd was shit and in Manchester we've got the best you could have," believes adopted Manc' Vincent, born and brought up in East London. "In a lot of cities, you go to a club and noone knows each other and you can really feel that. But it's like a village community at Sankeys - most people kind of know each but anyone's welcome."

Rather than a faceless corporate entity, Vincent's Sankeys is a club in the truest sense of the word, a rite of passage for anyone who has clubbed in this city and a true labour of love for him and his team - almost all of which have been clubbers and then regular faces here before signing up for duty. But it's taken more than wildly hedonistic crowds and bottomless passion to get Sankeys recognised as a true worldbeater.

A vastly different beast from the raw, rough 'n' ready basement that Vincent inherited, Sankeys has grown organically to become one of the most technologically advanced and comfortable clubbing experiences on the planet. While his team's ludicrous sense of humour is famous (just check youtube for their ridiculous 'Dragon's Den' mock-up), a serious, clubbers-come-first attention to detail is intrinsic to everything that Sankeys now represents with the crystal-clear Phazon system, Disco Panel LED lights, outdoor cinema, Amnesia-style Megatron nitrogen cannons (the only of their kind in the UK) and queue-eradicating barcode entry system, all making for unique, innovative touches that make Sankeys more than just your standard Saturday night out.

But no matter how many tweaks, upgrades or improvements it undergoes, Sankeys never loses its root essence as an intense and debauched hotbox of rave.

"It's electric, it's live, it's raw and there's passion running through every aspect of the club," says Greg Vickers, who worked his way up from flyer boy to established resident DJ (at one point he played every weekly Tribal Sessions for three years) to his current role as Vincent's right-hand-man.

"There's no posing, people just get involved right from the off and get on that floor. It's a really welcoming place to go clubbing."

"It's always instantly intense and it's just so easy to get a party vibe going in there - it's loud, open and up for it," agrees Laidback Luke.

"It's also more of a hands-in-the-air vibe," adds Vincent. "I always remember going to a club in London. When me and my mates put our hands in the air everyone looked us like we were mad. The more north you go, the more hands you get in the air."

Indeed, acid house culture has a habit of disappearing so far up its own ass that it becomes unrecognisable from the inclusive and wholly hedonistic ideals it was born on, but never so at Sankeys and their programming is now more diverse than ever.

"Maybe in the past, when we had Tribal Sessions every week, we were guilty of being a bit snotty about other styles but we've opened up totally now," he explains. "Rather than just being this techno and progressive house club, we've got the full spectrum. One week you might have Bugged Out! with the Chemical Brothers, the week after that DJ Marky and Grooverider, the week after Circo Loco, then Garuda with Ferry Corsten and Gareth Emery."

Just don't expect the restlessly perfectionist nature of Vincent and his crazy clan to stand still for long.

"It was always about - and it will still be about - making the venue better and better and better. Just two weeks ago we moved our soundsystem about and it now sounds 20% better. Some people might have said, 'why are you changing it, it sounds amazing as it is?' but if you know you can make something better why not do it? Why rest on your laurels."

Why indeed.

1
SANKEYS MCR
2
FABRIC
3
AMNESIA
4
MINISTRY OF SOUND
5
PACHA IBIZA
6
Matter
7
SPACE IBIZA
8
BERGHAIN
9
Warehouse Project
10
ZOUK SINGAPORE
11
FABRIK
12
CAVO PARADISO
13
WATERGATE
14
Stereo
15
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D-EDGE
17
WOMB
18
Space Miami
19
Beta Nightclub
20
WARUNG BEACH CLUB
21
Fuse
22
CIELO
23
Harry Klein
24
MINT CLUB
25
Pacha Sharm
26
Cocoon
27
GREEN VALLEY
28
Club Midi
29
ROBERT JOHNSON
30
MANSION
31
GUVERNMENT
32
Coco Banana
33
SUB CLUB
34
Studio Martin
35
SIRENA
36
PRIVILEGE
37
Pacha New York
38
M2
39
The Arches
40
Weekend
41
CORSICA STUDIOS
42
Eden
43
Doornrooseje
44
La Terrazza
45
Pacha Buenos Aires
46
TRESOR
47
Baalsaal
48
Kelly's
49
Café D'Anvers
50
GUABA BEACH BAR
51
Sky Bar
52
Digital Brighton
53
REX CLUB
54
Twisted Pepper
55
Cabaret Voltaire
56
Hardpop
57
Bar 25
58
Alte Börse
59
Melkweg
60
Circus Afterhours
61
Seone
62
YALTA
63
Palladium
64
Cash Club
65
Barfly
66
Club JB's
67
Mynt
68
B018
69
ANZUCLUB
70
Neidklub
71
Snafu
72
Plastic People
73
Avalon
74
LA HUAKA
75
Numero Uno
76
Paradiso
77
Basement
78
Factory Club
79
Batofar
80
Gravity Club
81
Cable
82
Air
83
Vanguard
84
Sullivan Room
85
T Bar
86
Nation
87
Kristal
88
U60311
89
The Caves
90
CASTLE CLUB
91
Plan B
92
Club Silo
93
Villa Mercedes
94
Metro City
95
AGEHA
96
360°
97
The Stiff Kitten
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Porat
99
WHQ
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East Village