The King, Oldham Street, 1990. (c) deltrems at flickr.
The King was a traditional old boozer that was frequented by North Manchester residents, and a few scallies. Big open front room area, where kareoke, discos or just general dancing would ensue. This would sometimes make the pub appear full and as such people would turn away and go elsewhere, whereas the back of the pub was filled with tables with nobody sat there. Some strange characters in there, one that particularly springs to mind was a large "lady", who must have been 6'4 and 19 stone, blouse skirt and heels, sitting on her own drinking a pint and reading the racing pages of her paper. I was stood at the bar as this individual went for up for a fresh pint, and barman says to them, "Same again, Bill?" Turns out he was long distance lorry driver who loved to go out in weekends in women's clothes!
The Northern, Oldham Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.
On the site of The King used to stand the Angel & Trumpet, which was sold and built over as far back as 1780 . The rebuilt tavern was probably the Angel Tavern, run by Samuel William Ryley from 1790-1793. The King, shown here partially in the '70s, itself has now gone, and - as has happened with several others in the Northern Quarter - has been taken over, gutted and returned as a trendy place called Northern. Like The King before it, Northern has entrances on both Oldham Street and Tib Street, caters well for smokers with "the pit" (a decorated yard which feels like part of the pub rather than an outside exclusion zone), and has some great pictures of Manchester's musical and sporting heroes.
The Northern, Oldham Street, 2010. (c) Northern.
Sadly, during our visit the place was dead on a Wednesday evening, save for a table full of Red Stripe drinking band members in the smokers yard. Unlike all the other busy Northern Quarter bars visited on this occasion, no real ale was on offer (cause-and-effect?), and a pint of Staropramen and a Strongbow brought little change out of £8. Bar staff and owner were pleasant enough but I just can't see how this rather bland and characterless place would get busy when there are so many better bars in the immediate vicinity. Perhaps the 3am - 5am on the weekend - licence helps bring in late trade?