Pubs of Manchester

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

Monday, 9 April 2012

White Lion, Wilmslow Road

White lion, Wilmslow Road, Withington (c) britishlistedbuildings.

In the 1980s the White Lion underwent a misguided re-branding as the Pavillion, and then the Withington Ale House, which despite its name, didn't offer much in the way of decent beer ("beware keg beers from fake casks" [1]).  It reverted back to the White Lion after a cheap refurb but sadly attracted the more undesirable type of punter, and during a visit here in the 1990s, I remember it being seedy and unwelcoming with no decent beer to speak of.  

White Lion, Wilmslow Road, Withington. (c) crinklybee

In the mid-2000s the pub closed for good and despite various rumours of it reopening or being bought by Wetherspoons, the White Lion has gone of the way of many pubs up and down the country - it's now an express supermarket with flats above.  It's a fantastic old building dating back to 1881 (I'm sure I remember the clock tower once briefly functioning) so although it will never be a boozer again, its future looks secure thanks to its Grade II listed status.  

White Lion, Wilmslow Road, Withington. (c) placenorthwest.

The White Lion used to put bands on in the 1970s and '80s, and it also had a popular cellar bar which held the Rock Disco at weekends.  The photo below shows a group of locals larking about outside the entrance to the White Lion cellar bar in '73.  Of the three Withington lions, the Red Lion thrives, the White Lion just survives, but the Golden Lion (Manor House) has gone...

White Lion cellar bar, 1973. (c) sbilts at Manchester District Music Archive.

1. Ale of Two Cities: Real Ale & Real Pubs in Manchester & Salford, CAMRA (1989).


  1. Good pic of it as a Sainsbury's local here.

  2. Aaah, happy memories, first met my husband there in 1988.

  3. To remarks about the white lion in Withington. I had it from 1980 onwards to 1998.Till I left the pub did well open the celler bar 1980 I started Blues bands rock.They was no trouble at the white lion I know this because I was the landlord Bill Baird so please do not take any notice about what people say about this pub and for a landlord to stay at this pub for all those years there is got to be something about this pub.Bill Baird GBII

    1. That's a load of Bollox MR I KNOW IT ALL

  4. Well said bill