The Hacienda in Manchester was a legendary members-only nightclub that was arguably the most famous club of its time. Madonna's first appearance in the United Kingdom was at the Hacienda in 1984, which was the height of her fame if that's any indication of what kind of fanciful magic this nightclub possessed. First opened in 1982, the Hacienda experienced its glory days in the 1980s, a time that was dubbed "Madchester" in tribute to the musical awakening in Britain at this time brought on by the music played live at the clubs.
Owned and financed partially by the band New Order and its record label Factory Records, the early days of the Hacienda were surprisingly relaxed, featuring bands such as Ministry of Sound, Cream, and The Smiths. The late 80s saw the advent of the unique sounds of acid house and a new kind of party: the rave. The maniacal rave scene was highlighted by the use of ecstasy, laser light shows, and fast paced electronic music and it changed the landscape of nightclubs all throughout England. By 1986, DJ's playing house music had replaced live bands and the club gained world wide acclaim.
The turning point in the Hacienda's notoriety came in 1989 when a 16 year old girl named Claire Leighton collapsed as a result of complications from ingesting ecstasy, and died shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of the end and after several rocky years, the Hacienda finally closed in 1997. An apartment building of the same name now stands on the spot of the original Hacienda at 11-13 Whitworth Street West; developers demolished the original building. The interior fixtures, including pieces from the DJ booth, were sold at auction in November 2000 with all proceeds going to charity.
Visitors to the site of the Hacienda today will find themselves in the city center of Manchester, an area that is, not the least bit surprisingly, a hot bed of clubs and bars. Although Piccadilly Station is nearby, most tourists walk the area of city center, which is quite small. With a wide selection of hotels, Manchester has a lot to offer the overnight guest. Local cuisine consists of anything from Thai to French to Japanese to Indian. Many locations match up an award winning restaurant to one of the finest Manchester hotels , so guests can opt for a night in after a long day of seeing the sights of this infamous musical city.
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