Pubs of Manchester

All pubs within the city centre and beyond.
A history of Manchester's hundreds of lost pubs.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

004. Castle, Oldham Street

Castle Hotel, Oldham Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

A tiny little pub at the top end of Oldham Street which has recently reopened but the Castle retained its unique charm and the main room had barely unchanged in decades until a substantial but sympathetic upgrade in the past year. These photos from the '70s, '90s and '00s show the Castle's unchanging Kays Atlas Brewery brown tiled facade with its various neighbours, although the 1849 map shows that the pub used to be the Crown  Anchor [1].  Further details, courtesy of the Castle staff themselves, were kindly shared with us.  They had a historian conduct a historical survey of the premises and found that it opened in around 1778 as the Crown & Sceptre.  Following years as the Crown & Anchor, the pub was known as the Clock Face until the 1920s.  The place was only named the Castle when Robinson's Brewery bought it from Kays Atlas Brewery in 1936.

The same landlady was here for many years in the latter part of the 20th century until her death and legend has it that her ashes were plastered into the wall so that she could remain here for ever. At one time, many a gig was held in the back room for up-and-coming bands and a pool table also used to be in there! A cave-like side room, pictured below in 1998 contains a piano, and the old-school feel of the Castle is rounded off with pickled eggs on offer on the bar (the famous Manchester Egg - black pudding instead of sausage meat around a pickled egg!). The pub is currently owned by Rupert Hill who previously played Jamie Baldwin in Coronation Street and he can be found working behind the bar on some nights.

Castle Hotel, Oldham Street, 1998. (c) Smabs Sputzer at flickr.

Real ales are supplied by Robinsons Brewery, and were Old Stockport, Unicorn, XB, Mild (quite a rareity) and Old Tom (a fearsome 8.5% and usually only served in halves). Guests were Hartleys Cumbria Way and XB. All have usually been in tip top condition when we have visited. Extended opening hours until 1am Sunday-Thursday and 2am Friday and Saturday show the Castle's intention to be classed as a Northern Quarter boozer.

Robinson's beers. (c) Robinson's.

More recent visits have firmly established the Castle as a favourite post-match and pre- and post-meal watering hole of ours.  They really have done a superb job with the refurb in here which is - as of October 2010 - is just about finished.  The back room is now a wonderful high-ceilinged bare boards seating area which will also act as a gigging space.  The selection of ales continues to impress with the seasonal Dizzy Blonde (summer) and Battering Ram (a dark, malty autumnal and winter ale) from Robinson's on offer as well as a cask cider.  Friendly and, it has to be said, slightly eccentric bar staff complete a fine boozer, one which we're pleased to recommend and continue to give regular custom to.


1. Manchester (Piccadilly), Alan Godfrey Maps (2009).


  1. The place is not the same since kATH died may she rest in peace..a ONE TIME REGULAR RAMSBOTTOM.

  2. It is top notch now off-peak - on the last few weekend evening visits it's been just a bit TOO busy with no chance to prop the bar up and only seats squashed in the big back room. Quality beer in fine surroundings with an ace jukebox does it for us. Judging by the number of gigs and publicity it's getting plus the installation of a kitchen it will only get more popular.

  3. Great pub and beer .... but now full of hipsters who if you haven't the regulation trendy beard, flat cap and attitude look down on you .... Hey ho .... other places to go ...

  4. Kaths ashes were not plastered into the wall,
    Her ashes were used in a mural that hung behind the bar until her son Damien finally ruined the pub and ran off with the takings.

  5. Was is this pub adopted by Czech or Croat fans during Euro 96 who donated a national flag that hung on the back wall for a number of years after?