Pubs of Manchester

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

Sunday, 13 November 2011

166. Albert, Wilmslow Road

Albert, Wilmslow Road, Withington. (c) Whose View.

On face value, this small Irish pub offers very little compared to Manchester's finest boozers - no real ale, no decent bottled beers, and only the dreadful Guinness and smoothflow on offer aside from cooking lager.  However, in terms of character and atmosphere, the Albert has it in spades.  From the friendly, feisty barmaid ("Ale? We're just a simple Irish pub... we've got bleedin' Magners"), the cosy and cramped interior complete with dimpled tables, to the loyal locals who keep this pub going, this is a real throwback boozer.

The Alexandra Park, Moss Side, as seen in the Albert, Wilmslow Road, Withington. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

The old fashioned price list on the wall lists, amongst other delights, Watney's Red Barrell, and a few old Manchester photos are haphazardly pinned on the wall, such as the Alexandra Park pub in Moss Side.  The old Wilsons green and brown livery has been retained and if I recall correctly, the toilet was outside as well, which seals its place as a Manchester classic.  The Albert is the unlikely survivor of Withington; long may it remain.

Albert, Wilmslow Road, Withington. (c) Pubs of Manchester.


  1. The Albert was described in Vintage Pubs and Real Ale in Greater Manchester by Peter Barnes, published in 1988, as follows:

    The Albert is a pub where a working man can relax and not worry where his cigarette ash goes. It is a simple, small, low-ceilinged room, formed out of even smaller rooms in the past, with a central doorway. Thus the pub is a vault. You are not likely to see any woman in here. The furniture is very basic, the television is very prominent and the main colours are dark brown and nicotine.

  2. 23 years on and not much has changed - apart from the cigarette ash

  3. Visited this cracking boozer for the first time yesterday and its miraculous survival really does encapsulate what its all about.
    What seriously concerns me is that CAMRA's recent Manchester Pub Guide recommends ten pubs between Didsbury and Rusholme (including 3 Wetherspoons) but not the Albert.
    There is something worryingly amiss with the priorities here.

  4. Er, possibly the fact that it doesn't sell any real ale had something to do with it. (You're not confusing it with the Albert in Rusholme, are you?)

  5. This is entirely my point. CAMRA's volume is presented as a Pub Guide rather than a Beer Guide - just as this is Pubs of Manchester. I just don't think its impossible to have a great pub that doesn't sell real ale - just as a selection of real ales doesn't automatically constitute a good pub.

  6. CAMRA campaigns for beer AND pubs, so I agree, it would be valid for them to promote ale-free pubs. The Shamrock in Ancoats doesn't do real ale yet is a good boozer.

  7. Part of the reason why the Manchester Guide does include a listing for every pub in the city centre is that we didn't want to exclude non-real ale serving pubs entirely as they may well be good pubs, may well serve real ale again in the future and may well be doing everything their existing custom wants.
    Some involved wanted to cut the other pub listings but rest of us fought for them to be retained.

    A number of constraints prevented us from including descriptions of every pub (and meant that the every pub listings didn't extend to the three outlying areas):
    Time to survey them
    Fact that once you open it up to every "pub" we would have ended up having to survey all of Deansgate locks and the like.
    Willing volunteers - frankly we were short enough of volunteers to cover the 140 pubs we did do!

    We did discuss exceptions in the case of particularly good or historical pubs but ultimately decided there were so few exceptions worth including that it would just break up the structure.

    And ultimately as the guide is funded and published by CAMRA, when cuts have to be made it's real ale first!