I love it when things are better than what they seem; we are told not to judge a book by its cover, but it's natural when you've never been somewhere before to anticipate the worst. The Ruby Lounge couldn't be more of a surprise.
Opposite the Arndale, on the rather unassuming High Street that is also home to a launderette a few doors down, The Ruby Lounge doesn't look up to much. Dark, and small it looks like a pauper's watering hole. But ho, inside is a cave of musical wonder.
It's a cheap venue, so if your budget is tight, but you want a decent gig to rock out to The Ruby Lounge is your place. With a large bar area, plenty of stools, and 6 leather sofas to fall onto if you get trigger-happy with the bargain-booze prices then big woop.
On an impromptu night out The Ruby Lounge is somewhat of a surprise because the live music is so good. I've avoided hyperbole because 'great' can be 'alright' and 'fantastic' to others, so make of this what you will.
A bit of advice: the bouncer on the door tries to crack jokes so humour him - you don't want to be turned away when you've only just arrived. Remember to check your bag before you enter because the bouncer will take the bottles off you - but you can collect them at the end of the night if you wish.
They have a stage area with a medium-large sized dance floor (about 50 people). It's so refreshing to relax mid-week with a cool bevvy, a crowd that couldn't care less about what you're wearing and great music. I know taste varies per person, but The Ruby Lounge only has acts who are great crowd-pleasers. Plus, sometimes, the artist(s) on stage will join the crowd after their set. Pretty damn cool. I'm not saying Beyonce, The Killers, or Bon Jovi will be moshing in the crowd post-performance, but the next Alanais Morrissette just might be.