Pubs of Manchester

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

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Sportsmans / Auld Reekie, Market Street

The Sportsmans, Market Street. (c) deltrems at flickr.

The Sportsmans was one of the first pubs I frequented as an underage drinker, you went down a steep set of stairs and turned right at the bottom into a big, dark, wood pannelled room with booths along the right and the bar ahead.  Pretty sure it was pints of Willy Lees we supped, a much-maligned beer that has definitely improved in recent years.  In the 1950s the Manchester Sports Guild - from what I can gather, a Jazz club - used to meet here and the place used to keep Scottish opening hours: a drinking up time of 9.30pm! [1].

Sportsmans, Market Street. (c) Memories of pubs from Manchester & Salford Facebook [2].

The Sportsmans was called the Auld Reekie in the 1970s, which is an old Scots nickname for Edinburgh meaning Old Smokey.  This Scottish connection stems from the William Younger Brewery of Edinburgh which had the Sportsmans before JW Lees.  A Tesco Metro now sits on the site and has presumably swallowed up the Sportsmans.  Fittingly, this is the Tesco which made the news for selling discounted cans to thirsty Glasgow Rangers fans ahead of the UEFA Cup Final, which ended in a spot of booze-fuelled violence.

Tesco, Market Street (Sportmans entrance extreme right). (c) flange at skyscrapercity.


  1. 1956..good jazz..too much beer...the girls dancing in bare feet on a floor wet from spills and sweat. Glad I was there. I was Towser back then. Anyone else remember?

  2. When it was the Auld Reekie it had tartan carpets. We used it as a meeting place at the start of a night out.

  3. Had my first underage half in the sportsman 1966. Supposed to be revising for GCE O Levels in Central Library!