Let the music play on - Northern Quarter’s iconic Stage & Radio is scouting for backing

IT'S played a key role in the city’s music scene for more than seven decades – and now iconic venue Stage & Radio on Port Street in the Northern Quarter is on the look-out for new owners.  

It was the first venue in the city to host British jazz pioneer Ronnie Scott, Coldplay were discovered here, and Muse played the club as part of 1998’s In The City showcase. More recently the property traded as Cuba Café, a popular salsa dancing venue, before reverting to the Stage & Radio name in 2016 when the current operators took over - running the venue as a bar, nightclub and restaurant, and regularly hosting DJs from around the world as well as live music acts.

Stage & Radio is a profitable business with a great reputation but it also has a lot of potential for growth

Having run the business successfully for almost four years, its current owners now wish to sell to enable them to realise their investment and concentrate on other interests outside the region. Blacks Business Brokers, the national business transfer specialist based in Bury, is marketing Stage & Radio with an asking price of £299,950 to take over the trading company and lease, plus annual rent of £49,972.  

The business, which will remain open as usual while a new owner is found, has a licence until 4am and is currently open five days a week. It employs two full-time and two part-time members of staff, with an additional six casual staff helping at weekends. Its most recent financial year saw the venue turn over almost £379,000.

2019 11 01 Stage Radio Interior 1
The interior of Stage & Radio

The restaurant and bar areas can seat up to 80 customers indoors, with an outdoor terrace providing seating for an additional 50. The basement houses Stage & Radio’s nightclub, which can house up to 100 guests, while the remainder of the four-storey building is currently used for storage.  

Stage & Radio first emerged onto the music scene in 1946 when the legendary promoter Eric Scriven began presenting modern jazz acts at the club – a first for Manchester. In 1951 Eric established Club 43 at the venue, named after its address 43 Port Street, and the venue hosted many of the greats of modern jazz, including British jazz pioneer Ronnie Scott.  

Stage & Radio remained an important part of the city’s music scene for decades, hosting the In the City Showcase in 1998, when Muse played and Coldplay were discovered by Universal Records scout Debs Wild, leading to them signing their first professional recording contract.

2019 11 01 Stage Radio Bar
Stage & Radio bar area

Callum Pollard, customer services executive at Blacks Business Brokers, said: “It’s a real honour to be marketing such an iconic part of Manchester’s music and nightlife history. This isn’t, though, a business that has been content to bask in its past glories – it’s very much a 21st century venue, with a décor and fittings to match.  

“Stage & Radio is a profitable business with a great reputation but it also has a lot of potential for growth, including possibly expanding into the two upper floors. There is also scope to extend its opening hours and to develop a wider food offering. This is a really exciting opportunity for a new operator. I expect a lot of interest.”