“No singles, sorry love”…I was turned away from a bar because I was on my own


“Not singles, sorry love. I can’t let you in by yourself.”

It’s a Thursday night in busy Manchester city centre, and I’m off on a mission to investigate a tip about a bar that won’t let people in unless they’re with a group.

My quest is inspired by a story told to the Manchester Evening News by a woman refused entry to Ramona in Ancoats on the basis that they had a ‘no singles’ policy – something management have since denied.

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In the spirit of true investigative journalism, we decided we had to try to get in ourselves – I told my news editor I’d stop by Ramona on my way to a friends’ in Ancoats that evening, following the publication of her account. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was welcomed with open arms (and delicious pizza).

But while the issue at Ramona may have been an unfortunate one off, I was tipped off by a friend that it isn’t the only venue in town where singles have trouble. “You know you can’t get in Behind Closed Doors by yourself?” she texted me, after I explained to her my slightly odd evening itinerary.

Her text was later confirmed by my flatmate, who told me he’d had to have a friend come up and meet him from downstairs when he previously tried to enter by himself – and that he’d seen a woman refused entry after her phone was dead and she was unable to call her friends.

Behind Closed Doors in Northern Quarter denied that they had a ‘no singles’ policy

Curiosity piqued, I headed to the Northern Quarter bar to see whether I’d be admitted entry on my lonesome. I greeted the bouncer cheerily – who asked if I had friends I was meeting already inside. I told him it was “just me”.

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Looking slightly taken back, he asked me again if I was meeting someone else. Again, I repeated I just wanted to drink in my own company.

“Not singles, sorry love. I can’t let you in by yourself.”

It was the answer I was half expecting, but I was still a little surprised. I was completely sober, friendly, and willing to spend money at their bar – so why couldn’t I come in alone?

I asked the bouncer why, and he simply replied that it was “bar policy” – something Behind Closed Doors NQ have refuted.

A spokesperson for Behind Closed Doors said: “Everybody is welcome at Behind Closed Doors, and we will refer the matter to our security team”.

Behind Closed Doors is on Oldham Street

In all truth, the self-described “debauched” cocktail bar is probably not where I’d choose if I were to enjoy a drink by myself – but does that mean that nobody should be able to enter alone? It isn’t unusual to be in a city by yourself for a night or two, and especially as Manchester grows, solo travelers wanting to experience the famous Mancunian nightlife should be welcomed with open arms, rather than turned away.

My experience here was just with one bar, but it did make me wonder – how many others have similar policies? Is Manchester’s nightlife inhospitable to singles?


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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