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Twenty Years Of Sankeys: Time For Something New?

The club that opened in 1994, then closed, then opened, then closed, then buggered off to Ibiza, then opened again, buggered off again, then came back

Written by . Published on July 30th 2014.

Twenty Years Of Sankeys: Time For Something New?

SANKEY'S, formerly Sankey's Soap in Ancoats, has somehow yanked itself to a twentieth anniversary this year.

To mark the occasion and another return to their Ancoats base, the club are hosting the Tribal Sessions 'all-nighter', with acclaimed Brooklyn-based DJ, Danny Tenaglia, playing a mammoth six-hour set with his only UK date of the summer - tickets here.

Sankey's totters dangerously on the brink of tedium. The stop-starts have become predictable, like a deceptive closing down sale by Sports Direct, you know full well they're going nowhere.

But it hasn't been an easy path for the club, more a winding mountainous trail blocked by boulders of bankruptcy, legal mudslides and faux-closures.

Here's a potted history (mainly lifted from Wikipedia because I'm hungry): 

Sankeys Soap first opened in a former soap factory in 1994, when that club beginning with H (anyone that speaks the same shall eat their own tongue... yes we know you DJ'd there once) was still ticking-over.

Due to problems with pennies the club closed in 1998, only to be reopened in 2000 by current owner David Vincent in league with Sacha Lord-Marchionne, later founder of the Warehouse Project.

In 2006 the club closed again, but with Vincent declaring: "this isn't the end of the matter, not entirely anyway. You'll just have to wait and see."

David VincentDavid Vincent

Sure enough, later that year the club reopened, dropping the soap (o'er) to become just Sankeys, in 2009 they had a major fit-out and became DJ Mag's 'Best Club In The World' in 2010, leading to a Sankeys Ibiza opening in the summer of 2011.

Still, come April 2013 and they announce another Manchester closure (fiver says they reopen), and bugger off for some sun in Ibiza, before announcing a grand return to Ancoats (who'd have thunk it, gimme a fiver) for January 2014.

Come June 2014 and they're off to the Balearics again. Does Manchester stop clubbing in July? Nobody told me.

Now they're back, again, and somehow they've made it to two decades.

We almost like this chaos, however transparent the marketing. Clubs should be anarchic, rambunctious, capricious places, hovering somewhere between greatness and self-destruction. It's just more fun that way.

Still, Sankey's totters dangerously on the brink of tedium. The stop-starts have become predictable, like a deceptive closing down sale by Sports Direct, you know full well they're going nowhere.

And shutting up shop and buggering off every summer to party in Ibiza is just rude, what's wrong with us in summer eh? We're still good fun... aren't we?


The thing that keeps events such as Warehouse Project (although Victoria Warehouse became a hiccup), and to some extent the new breed of food events such as B.Eat Street's Friday Food Fights and Up In Your Grill, is their nomadic nature. The willingness to up sticks and move on, dip a toe somewhere else.

Yes they open and close like a harlot's undercrackers too, but you're never entirely sure where they'll pop-up next.

Just hopping between Manchester and Ibiza (there's also a Sankeys in New York) isn't nomadic, it's voracious.

Sankeys is twenty years old, and fair play to it. My pals and I have enjoyed some blaring and fantastically loaded times in there, and the club has swung and scrapped its way through a whole dancefloor of obstacles to maintain a position at the apex of Manchester's clubbing scene.

But is it time for something new? Somewhere new in the city?

Sankeys, Jersey Street, M4 6JG.

Sankeys is hosting twenty of its world renowned Tribal Sessions parties across the world throughout the summer.

More here: https://www.facebook.com/officialsankeys


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22 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJuly 30th 2014.

Didn't they want to open in Trafford Park a few years back but refused planning?

AnonymousJuly 30th 2014.

Don't forget Sankeys London www.facebook.com/SankeysLDNOfficial…

Poster BoyJuly 31st 2014.

Someone is confusing a Venue with an Event Promoter...

AnonymousJuly 31st 2014.

Please please please get rid of this place from Ancoats. As a resident of the apartments in this area i can honestly say that this is the single biggest negative of living there. We are about to embark on large scale development in this area and the anti-social behavior which has returned to Ancoats since its re-opening is all to apparent. How Sankeys gets away with doing nothing in relation to the transition of people to and from its front door i will never know as it is this lack of management (and responsibility) that causes the damage. Somebody somewhere please make a decision to move this out to a non residential area; Ancoats has outgrown it and is a completely different place to what it used to be 10 years ago.

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 31st 2014.

The club was there first, you knew when you moved in, if you don't like it don't live in town.

AnonymousJuly 31st 2014.

Absolutely awful post. I don't even like Sankeys but you can't move next to a club and then moan about the club being there; it's ridiculous. TBF though Sankeys could take more care. I went to a club night in London near a load of apartments and there was a security guy walking up and down the street asking people to keep it quiet on their way to the club due to residents living above. In this instance, though, the club came after the apartments.

AnonymousAugust 1st 2014.

"Ive moved to the area and dont like the noise" - Moron

Calum McGAugust 1st 2014.

The club was there before the apartments...

SteamyJuly 31st 2014.

I concur with anonymous (the second one) If you choose to live in the central part of a major city, you have to accept that there are going to be major city things nearby, such as nightclubs. Manchester would be a very dull place if all of the bars and clubs were moved out of town and away from residential areas.

Ian CollisJuly 31st 2014.

Ancoats is becoming more and more residential with developments right next to the club. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next few years. I do know a few people who moved in after the club closed down and they have noticed a big increase in problems since it opened again. I wouldn't exactly call the area "central" as there are no other pubs/clubs in the area Hopefully residents and the club can get along but I'm guessing complaints to the council will occur once the closest apartments are completed

rinkydinkJuly 31st 2014.

Embrace the madness. Who wants to live in silence?

AnonymousAugust 1st 2014.

Anyone who moves next to a night club really should have considered whether they could put up with people going to and leave said night club before moving into apartments next to it. It's like moving into an apartment on Canal Street and then whining that it's noisy - no shit!

AnonymousAugust 1st 2014.


1 Response: Reply To This...
Ian CollisAugust 1st 2014.

The council made everyone drink inside after 11 pm on canal st- because of the residents who live there. You could drink outside before the complaints.....

AnonymousAugust 2nd 2014.

Yes people should expect noise when living near a nightclub. However I know that drugs are rife in the area, needle litter left on the street, anti social behaviours is bad, burglaries are up, people peering in residents gardens. Residents are scared to leave their homes. Sankeys should have conditions on their licence that they maintain the immediate area. So that residents don't have to suffer.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
James SmithAugust 2nd 2014.

What the hell does the use of needles and burglaries have to do with Sankeys?! Peering in gardens? Scared to leave their homes because a nightclub opens until 4am on a Saturday? Congratulations on the most ridiculous post in Man Con history.

AnonymousAugust 2nd 2014.

The safest time to be in Ancoats is when Sankeys is open, it's a scary place the rest of the time, what the area actually needs is more nightlife.

AnonymousAugust 2nd 2014.

Seem pretty unlikely that people are shooting up then going for a night out at Sankeys...

AnonymousAugust 2nd 2014.

Where residential is mixed with nightlife. You have to expect there will be noise. If you want quiet live in the suburbs. Stop moaning!

AnonymousAugust 5th 2014.

Move to the suburbs ?

AnonymousAugust 5th 2014.

Like salford quays, stretford, old trafford. Like where they put the WHP ? Sankeys is crap close it for good !

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 5th 2014.

Victoria Warehouse is nearly a quarter of a mile from anywhere residential.

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