Friendship, Wilmslow Road, Fallowfield. (c) deltrems at flickr.
This grand old boozer is comfortably the best pub in Fallowfield these days - why would you bother with any other when there are at least a dozen ales on and almost as many screens for when the football's on? Add into the mix huge seating areas to the front and side, and even covered outdoor screens to the rear, what more can the discerning football-loving beer hound ask for? As a Hyde's Brewery house, the Friendship offers the usual Hyde's stable of bitter, mild, premium and seasonal cask ales, but also a fine selection of guests, such as Marble's Manchester Bitter and Allgates' Simcoe. On that note, it's good to see some pubs sticking to the Manchester Pale style rather than the bland dark "winter ales" that are forced upon us as soon as the clocks come forward.
Back in the day the Friendship was often anything-but friendly, as locals tended to dominate after neighbouring pubs closed and this kept the students at bay. As recently as the early-to-mid 2000s, when we sometimes used it as a post-match drinking (and smoking) venue, the beer offering wasn't up to much either. However, it's been turned around thanks to an investment in decent beer and food (there's the Thai Sayuri menu on offer). A rather dull Hyde's seasonal, a fair few Manchester Bitters and a glorious pint of Simcoe were supped during our couple of hours visit. Following the disappointment of their new venture, the Sir Joseph Whitworth over the road, its fair play to Hyde's and their tennants for having turned the Friendship into one of their flagship pubs.