Pubs of Manchester

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

Monday, 22 March 2010

Theatre Royal Hotel / Royal Central / Cox's / Batys Bar, Windmill Street

Batys Bar, Windmill Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

This was a mysterious one which I went in about 15 years ago before a GMEX concert.  However, I remember it as an old school pub rather than a bar.  It's here in the background on the left in 1976, on the corner of Museum Street.  So last week we walked past here again (after a successful visit to the City Road Inn) and this time noticed the old time-battered "Royal Central" stone signage.

The Theatre Royal Hotel, part of the Theatre Royal development on Peter Street, opened some fifty years before its more illustrious neighbour, the Midland Hotel, which opened in the early 1900s.  It changed its name to the Royal Central Hotel when Central Station opened in 1880 [1].  The Royal Central used to have billiard rooms where Charles Cox was an early promoter of billiards matches [2].  The pub was accordingly renamed Cox's Bar, as shown in 1973 and 1988, after the facade had been refurbished in the '70s.  It seems that the place reverted back to the Royal Central before its brief spell as Batys Bar.

It's odd that such a prime location has failed in recent years, even through the Peter Street boom years.  Perhaps the news that the GMEX and its car parks appear likely to form part of an exciting new rail-tram-pedestrian interchange Manchester Central development, will see the Royal Central thrive again in the future.

Batys Bar, Windmill Street, 2007. (c) mikecolvin82 at flickr.



  1. We used to go in here, as Cox's Bar in the mid 70's as youngsters. Usually of a Friday eve after work, or before/after a gig at the Free Trade Hall too...always a cracking pint of Boddies back then.


  2. Cheers David. There's reference I've seen to an old Boddies pub "behind the Free Trade Hall". Any idea which one this might be? Possibly Cox's?...

  3. Definitely Cox's - I can vouch for the Boddies!

  4. A great Boddies pub my aunt and uncle owned this until the mid eighties.lots of acts feom the Free Trade Hall Hall would go in here.

  5. Worked at the Midland when it was the Crowne Plaza in the ‘80s, and the Royal Central was our local. Definitely a great Boddies I live in New York but still think of the Royal whenever I crack open a can of draught.