Balcony Bar, Piccadilly Station. (c) beerintheevening.
Whether it's your first thirst quencher on arrival, or your last pint on departure, you would think this train station bar would do something to say welcome to or goodbye from Manchester in typically Mancunian fashion. With four great local family breweries, countless micro-breweries and a rich heritage in beer making and distribution, you'd expect this pub to be an oasis of history amongst the new fangled steel and glass of the Piccadilly Station complex. Other stations have done it, some to considerable success (best example might be the Sheffield Tap), so you'd think a flagship frontline boozer at the city's biggest train station would suit it down to the ground. Alas, it's nothing of the sort. It's actually pleasant enough to sit in with its comfy settees and outside balcony tables and chairs, but it's completely soulless. It's almost Wetherspoons-esqe in its appearance inside, but that's where the similarities end. There is no real ale, and only a keg beer of John Smiths Smooth, and the usual nondescript suspects i.e. Guinness, Strongbow, Becks etc. There isn't even any tempting bottles with the fridges filled with Magners, WKDs, and other equally borderline poisonous drinks. And this is even before the stupid sky-high station prices are quoted to you. A pint if you must I guess, after all, it's just somewhere to kill a few minutes before your train, but you wouldn't want to be here any longer than that.