Pubs of Manchester

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

Monday, 12 April 2010

060. City, Oldham Street

The City, Oldham Street. (c) markydeedrop at skyscrapercity.

The City is a long thin pub situated at the quieter top end of Oldham Street, virtually opposite the Castle and across the road from the Frog and Bucket Comedy Club.  Fairly quiet when we went in though has a tendency to be inhabited by all type of not-rights, and indeed there was a fairly menacing motley crew "looking after" the pool table at the end of the pub.   Despite this, the pub did have three different real ales on which was a pleasant surprise, as we weren't really expecting this and the barmaid was friendly enough, despite questioning our football allegiance when we first went in (she was a red - thanks for not grassing us up, eh).  Would I go I again?  Unlikely - the far superior Castle, Crown & Kettle and Fringe are all within 50 paces and all three would have to be closed for us revisit The City again.

The City, Oldham Street. (c) Tony Worrall Foto at flickr.

What The City loses in modern day charm it makes up for with a long and complex history.  Originally it was divided into two separate pubs, with separate entrances in Oldham Street and Tib Street.  The pubs have been known as Prince of Orange, Prince William of Gloucester, Peter's Vaults, King's Arms, King & Coronation (this was the Tib Street pub), Kings Arms Vaults Liquor Vaults and Top King, amongst others.  Records of the pub go back to the 1780s when landowner Arthur Glegg leased the site to Joseph and John Stopford who built the six dwellings that would go on to make up the pubs.  By 1800 the site had the two pubs, the Oldham Street side being the Kings Arms in 1803/4 [1].  

The City, Oldham Street. (c) Manchester Pub Surveys [2].

Over a century later as the Top King in 1914 it was purchased by Chester's Brewery when it was described as vaults, lobby, bar, snug, bar parlour and a first floor sitting room and club room.  Known as the Kings Arms in 1958, the place became  The City and was as a Threlfalls then Whitbread house (seen in these two 1970s photos) before Moor Inns took over in 1992.  It became a freehouse in 1995 and remains one today [1].

2. The Manchester Pub Guide, Manchester & Salford City Centres, Manchester Pub Surveys (1975).


  1. Beer is usually decent, but I can't see it selling as the place is a shade too rough for many people. I don't think the lads who "mind" the pool table are real ale drinkers, either.

  2. indeed, the united youths in their tracksuits and 3/4 length shorts are intimidating enough to keep most out. Good pint though - Acorn City Pride we had, and Acorn Gorluvka also on - fair play to them for that. We've been pleasantly surprised with the number of unexpected pubs/bars putting real ale on so far.

  3. Threlfalls took over Chesters circa 1961 and was taken over itself in 1968 so this pub was not sold to Threlfalls in 1970.