Pubs of Manchester

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

Sunday, 28 February 2010

039. Churchills, Chorlton Street

Churchills, Chorlton Street. (c) beerintheevening.

Second of the "pink" pubs we have visited, though in fairness, this is a bit of a mixed crowd with gays, straights, groups, couples, young and old, all in together and this serves for a decent atmosphere for this back street boozer on the fringe of the Gay Village. Once this pub also had its own brewery and was previously known as the Mechanics Arms, a Wilsons house as seen in these Archive photos from 1959 (rag and bone cart?), 1961 (dinner hour?), 1970 and 1973 , though the reason for the change of name is not clear. No real ale (we sort of guessed this would be the case), however, Guinness acceptable for our brief visit. Surprisingly better than we expected, though we did stay at the front of the pub and didn't venture into the "disco" area at the back!

Churchills, Chorlton Street, 1991. (c) deltrems at flickr.

038. Vine, Kennedy Street

Vine, Kennedy Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

One of three pubs next to each other (Waterhouse and City Arms being the others), this is a popular little pub, but without the beer choice of next door. It is set on three floor, with the bar being on the ground floor, the cellar usually only used for functions these days. There is no pool table but there is a dartboard on the upper floor which is unusual for a city centre pub. Very popular in summer also, when the punters will spill out onto the pavements outside as there is almost no traffic. Well worth visiting, take them all in on the same day.
Vine, Kennedy Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

037. Tiger Lounge / Oscars / Linekers / Slice, Cooper Street

Tiger Lounge, Cooper Street. (c) Adam B. at flickr.

A cellar bar that has been here for years, (previously Oscars when it was owned by George Best in the '60s (seen here in 1995), Linekers, Slice, Tiger Bar) but how exactly is anybody's guess.

Oscars, Cooper Street. (c) Paul Bean with permission.

I've been in here many times, but rarely does there ever seem to be more than about 10 people in.

Tiger Lounge, Cooper Street. (c) citylife.

They do at least now have Guinness (used to be just lager) but there is no sign of any real ale. The place itself is just one large room, and the two grizzlies on the door can be there for no reason other than as part of a protection policy, because there surely is never enough people to trouble bouncers. It's not a great place, maybe just one that you have to if there is a do on or something.

Tiger Lounge gig ('Clever Socks'), 2008. (c) MDMArchive.

The impressive Masonic building in which the Tiger Lounge (and Slice, as pictured below) is housed is covered in the Waldorf Hotel entry.

Slice, Cooper Street. (c) Manchester History.

Manchester briefly had its own Linekers bar, named after the unlikely figure of the housewife's favourite footballer, Gary Lineker.

Linekers, Cooper Street. (c) Paul Dean with permission.

Linekars Sports Bar didn't last too long in the 1990s, despite those prices - £1 a bottle and £1.95 a treble!

Linekers, Cooper Street. (c) Paul Dean with permission.

036. Rising Sun, Queen Street

Rising Sun, Brazenose Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.
One of the oldest pubs in Manchester this. Seen as a Chef Brewers pub in 1990, below, it did briefly become a faux Irish pub for about a year, but went bust and quickly returned to its former self and became popular again. Will people never learn? Anyway, once again pleasing to find a selection of real ales and a friendly welcome from the landlord. Sky Sports was on also, but there is no pool table. As with its neighbour, the Old Nags Head, it straddles a block and has Queen Street and Brazenose Street entrances. It's well positioned for the restaurants of Deansgate, Cross Street and Albert Square and is part of a good crawl through the back streets of this part of Manchester.

Rising Sun, Queen Street, 1990. (c) deltrems at flickr.

035. Old Nags Head, Jackson's Row

Old Nags Head, Jacksons Row, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

Large two roomed backstreet pub that has remained popular for the last 20 years. With decent beer, a reasonable juke box and the added bonus of a separate pool room with four tables in it, you can see the attraction. It is however a bit pricey, but don't let that put you off for a couple, or indeed an afternoon of playing pool. The Nags has smart entrances onto Jacksons Row and Lloyd Street and with a rooftop smoking garden also built, it's quite a tidy pub all said and done.

Old Nags Head, Lloyd Street, 1991. (c) deltrems at flickr.

034. Sir Ralph Abercromby, Bootle Street

Sir Ralph Abercromby, Bootle Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

A pub that has become a little run down of late which is a shame as it used to be a cracking boozer. The beer was better than last time we came in though and it is real ale. With its location right next to Manchester Police Station, there was a certain infamy about the place and one of the few places you could guarantee a lock-in if the landlord liked you, particularly as the constabulary next door turned a blind eye due to many of them wanting to pop in at all hours after a shift ended. There is a pool table in the corner, moved from the back room which was tiny and it seemed pleasant enough. Just needs a few quid spending on it to bring it back to its former glory. Encouraging news is that the landlord of the Waldorf and most recently, Town Hall Tavern, is going to take it over. This should mean some decent beer and hopefully Marble Brewery produce as well, like the Waldorf now sells. Sir Ralph Abercromby was was Lieutenant General during the Napoleonic Wars but the pub itself was known as the Abercrombie as a Chesters house as shown in these 1946 and 1970s photos, and Sir Ralph Abercrombie Inn, a Whitbread house, in the past before the pub reverted to the correctly spelt name.

Sir Ralph Abercromby, Bootle Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

033. Salisbury, Wakefield Street

The Salisbury, Wakefield Street, 2009. (c) Gene Hunt at flickr.
Set behind Grand Central on Oxford Road (virtually next to the Thirsty Scholar), this very old pub is a favourite with bikers and rockers and has been for many years. These photos from 1959, 1970s and 1994 are datable by the motors that site outside. The sign inside also confirms the historically significant area of town this is - Little Ireland - as well as explaining who the place is named after. The 1849 map shows that the Salisbury was originally named the Tulloghgorum Tavern (it also shows the grim-looking back-to-back houses crammed next to the River Medlock in Little Ireland of Great Marlborough Street - Wakefield Street, Anvil Street, Frank Street and William Street) [1].

Sign in the Salisbury. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

The Salisbury is generally a friendly enough boozer and you are always met with a reasonable welcome. As far as beer was concerned, there were four different real ales and the ones we had were excellent. Good little back street boozer in corner of the city centre which isn't generally rated that highly for its real ale pubs.

The Salisbury, Wakefield Street. (c) Panoramio.

1. Manchester (Oxford Street & Gaythorn) 1849, Alan Godfrey Maps (2010).

032. Thirsty Scholar / Archies Bar, New Wakefield Street

Thirsty Scholar, New Wakefield Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

Little tiny pub under the arches off Oxford Road which has been here for years and continues to survive although it was empty at 5-ish when we visited yesterday.  Refreshing to see they also now have four different real ales on as I feared the worst from my memories of the place from some 10-12 years ago, when may have been known as Archies Bar.

Archies Bar, New Wakefield Street. (c) rico323 at MDMA.

Archies Bar, Oxford Road (New Wakefield Street). (c) tintin at MDMA.

The beer was also in good condition, and whilst you might not sit in here for a session, it was good enough for a stopping off pint.  The only complaint would be that it's a bit pricey; over £3 for a pint of bitter.  They also have music nights here upstairs in The Attic club but I wouldn't be able to tell you whether the beers upstairs are the same or not.  The drinking terrace out the front beneath the railway arches is handy for smokers.  Another visit here for the Thursday night gig session.  Again, great ale and a decent crowd for the local beat poet and bands.

Thirsty Scholar, New Wakefield Street. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

031. Odder, Oxford Road

Odder, Oxford Road. (c) Odder.

Quirky little bar situated directly opposite the BBC building, previously known as Zumeba, which used to put music and comedy on upstairs. It possesses a small selection of real ales, three on at the time of our visit, and there were in good condition but a little pricey at £3.10 a pint. Popular with students in the evening, there is a separate floor with music on upstairs and a much quieter shop front bar downstairs. Nice bar for a drink prior to going for something to eat in Zouk or Nandos and quite close to Oxford Road station also. Its sister bar is the original Odd in the Northern Quarter and Oddest has just opened in leafy Chorlton.

Odder, Oxford Road (downstairs and upstairs bars). (c) Odder.

030. Lass O' Gowrie, Charles Street

Lass O' Gowrie, Charles Street, 2010. (c) Pubs of Manchester.

A gem of a pub situated right on the boundary of our proposed pub crawl. The pub can be found on Charles st, which is the road next to the (soon to be defunct) BBC building on Oxford Road. The pub itself always has a good selection of real ales on, in fact there were seven on our visit yesterday including the excellent Betty's Brew and Fog on The Tyne - all are well kept and fairly reasonably priced at £2.25-£2.50 a pint, given its location. It was £2.70 for the fine Wren's Nest session ale on another visit. The pub at one time used to also brew its own beer on site, and whilst this has now ceased, the machinery is still preserved below in the cellar and used to be viewable through windows in the floor, but sadly these have been now boarded over. It was a Threlfalls house in the past as the distinctive tiling suggests, as seen in 1957, 1959 and in the '70s. As you can see not much has changed to the Lass over the last half century except for the ever-changing sign on the corner, which has stated "Fine ales traditionally brewed on the premises" and "World famous Lass O' Gowrie Manchester's original brew house" in the last few decades:

Lass O' Gowrie, Charles Street, 1990 & '00s. (c) deltrems at flickr & Scottyweb.

In the late 1800s, this part of Manchester was known as Little Ireland, due in the main to the large numbers of Irish immigrant workers living there. The area was home to extreme poverty and terrible hardship and quickly came to be synonymous with all the evils of squalor and unregulated industrialisation for which Manchester had by then become notorious for. It was in this charnel house of blood, sweat, tears and tragedy that the pub we know as the Lass O' Gowrie today was born. Legend has it that the original landlord of the pub was not an Irishman, but a proud, homesick Scotsman who named the pub in honour of his favourite poem - The Lass O' Gowrie by the celebrated Scottish poet Lady Carolina Nairne [1].

Lass O' Gowrie, Charles Street, 2009. (c) Sibi at flickr.

An odd sign on the River Medlock side of the pub states that "Here was the site of Manchester's pissotiére, retained for posterity, last used AD 1896." A pissotiére is, as you can guess, an outdoor urinal! Also note the Hogshead sign which has recently been painted over - most likely a reference to the hogshead unit of ale, which is 54 gallons (other units feature in Manchester pubs past & present - firkin, tun), rather than the name of this or another pub.

Lass O' Gowrie, Charles Street, 2007. (c) markydeedrop at skyscrapercity.

All live matches are also shown here, and literally all sports. There is also a nice little beer garden converted on the side of the building, but this gets a bit whiffy in summer as it sits over the heavily polluted River Medlock. Also a quirk, there are half a dozen table-top arcade games for back in the day gamers such as Scramble, Donkey Kong etc. and these are also all free. This place is now run by a former regular who snapped it up a few years ago after the pub lost popularity. Well he's certainly turned it around, and is one of the finest and therefore busiest alehouses in town - worth searching out the Lass if you haven't been before.

Lass O' Gowrie, Charles Street, 2009. (c) deltrems at flickr.

The Lass deservedly won Best Pub Award at the Manchester Food & Drink Awards 2009 as you can read about below:

Lass O'Gowrie story. (c) SSM CAMRA Opening Times Dec 2009.

Lass O'Gowrie advert. (c). SSM CAMRA Opening Times Dec 2009.

Friday, 26 February 2010

Railway Hotel / Runcorn, Worsley & Wigan Boathouse, Deansgate

Former location of the Railway Hotel, Deansgate (c) Google 2010. View Larger Map.

Judging from this 1910 photo from the archives, the Railway Hotel stood here where nowadays the pedestrian steps up to the GMEX (edit: now 'Deansgate-Castlefield') tram stop are.  The second railway bridge seen in the 1910 photo is the one that used to cross Deansgate at Great Bridegwater Street for the old line into Central Station's good yard, the Great Northern Warehouse.  The 1849 map shows that his pub was previously called the mouthful, the Runcorn, Wigan & Worsley Boathouse and later on the Packet House Tavern under the stewardship of Samuel Hague [1].

1. Manchester (Oxford Street & Gaythorn) 1849, Alan Godfrey Maps (2010).

New Boars Head, Withy Grove

New Boars Head, With Grove, 1973. (c) Arthur Brougham with family's permission.

Seeing as the Old Boars Head was demolished in the 1920s for the building of the Withy Grove newspaper empire, the New Boars Head will probably have opened around the same time across the road on the corner of Corporation Street.

New Boars Head, Withy Grove, 1974. (c) NAH1952 at flickr [1].

Seen here in 1920s and later in the 1970s, the New Boars Head, finished life as a Tetley's house (as seen below and in Manchester in the '70s [1]) was also demolished along with the rest of this side of Withy Grove to make way for the Arndale Centre.
New Boars Head, Withy Grove, 1974. (c) NAH1952 at flickr [1].

New Boars Head, With Grove, 1971. (c) Arthur Brougham with family's permission.

2. Manchester in the '70s, Chris Makepeace (2007).

John Bull, Brown Street

John Bull, Brown Street, 1983. (c) Manchester District Music Archive [1].

The John Bull has been mentioned in passing by fellow football fans.  It was one of the pubs in town that had strippers performing on Friday dinner times during the 1970s and '80s.  Apparently the ladies performed every half hour, so that gents on their dinner hour (or half hour) would dutifully turn up just in time.  That meant, for example, that at ten to one the pub was empty but at a few minutes before 1 o'clock the place was rammed full of eager punters out for a glimpse and a quick scoop.  The John Bull would then empty as rapidly as it filled so that by 1.20pm it was deserted again.  In John Robb's new book, Shaun Ryder of the Happy Mondays also reveals that he and his mates used to frequent the John Bull (as an underage boozer in the late '70s and early '80s as the band took form) for the dinner time strippers [2].

2. The North Will Rise Again: Manchester Music City 1976-1996, John Robb (2009).

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Falstaff Hotel, Market Place

Falstaff Hotel, Market Place. (c) [1].

The Falstaff Hotel is shown above, centre-right, above the motor.   It's seen closer up here in around 1895 and here in the 1900s next to the entrance to Blue Boar Court (the Blue Boar Inn can be seen in the background through the passageway).  The Falstaff Hotel sat on Market Place opposite Old Shambles, but may have also had an Old Millgate address.  The still from the wonderful selection of old Manchester photos from Keasbury-Gordon on YouTube shows the Falstaff a little closer-up [2].

Falstaff Hotel, Market Place. (c) KEASBURYGORDON at youtube.


Fox Hotel, Victoria Street

Fox Hotel, Old Shambles. (c)

The Fox Hotel was near to Sinclair's Osyter Bar on Victoria Street on the corner of the Old Shambles.  It is depicted above in the centre left.  You can just make out the 'FOX' on the side and the building labelled '1' is the old fish market; the building numbered 2 is the back of Sinclair's.  Of course, Sinclair's and its neighbour, the Wellington, have since been moved twice; once upwards, due to the creation of the Arndale Centre, and the other, a couple of decades later, 300 yards away thanks to the IRA in 1996.

Coronation Inn, Old Millgate

Nothing is known about the Coronation Inn except that it stood near to the Black Boy on Old Millgate, as shown on a diagram in Manchester Underground [1].  It was roughly opposite Goulburns, the food purveyors, which placed it possibly as the building with double-arch top floor corner-window in the centre of the below painting.

Old Shambles, from Market Place. (c) John L Chapman.

1. Underground Manchester, Keith Warrender (2007).

Black Boy, Old Millgate

The Black Boy stood on the corner with Cateaton Street, owned in 1711 by Sarah Broster and described as having orchards and gardens [1].  A door or two along from this alehouse was the Coronation Inn.

1. Memorials of Manchester Streets, Richard Wright Proctor (1874).

Thatched House, Market Street

Thatched House, Market Street. (c) jazzworld.
Pictured here in 1805, the original Old Thatched House was demolished in 1823 to be replaced by the Thatched House pub, which itself lasted until the 1972 to make way for the Arndale Centre.  The original building was used as a post office as well as its main function as a watering hole.  It originally faced onto Market Stead Lane, which later became Market Street.  In the vaults of the new Thatched House were discovered tunnels dug into the sandstone bedrock, leading off towards the Cathedral one way and Spring Gardens the other [1].  The old Guardian Building stood right in front of the pub as seen in 1955, so it was not surprisingly a popular haunt of thirsty Evening News and Guardian staff.  The Guardian Building was pulled at the same time as the rest of the area, as seen here in 1972 (Thatched House on the left down the alley).

Thatched House, Market Street. (c) Manchester Local Image Collection. Click here to view full image.

This image shows the Thatched House from the site of the now-gone Guardian Buildings, looking back towards Market Street.  The pub is seen in happier days in 1970 with a Guardian truck motoring around the corner.  The punters of the Thatched House further back in the past may also have had happy times, as the pub was known as a hangout of prostitutes: "living then in Market Street, I had opportunities of seeing the hookers swarm about the doors of the Thatched House, the White Bear, and similar inns every morning, besieging the head waiters with the view of ascertaining who had arrived overnight [2].  In the 1950s the pub was a popular jazz venue, and a photo of the Crescent Jazz Band playing in the Thatched House is shown above.

1. Underground Manchester, Keith Warrender (2007).
2. Reminsces of Manchester Fifty Years ago, J. T. Slugg (1944).

Bolton Arms, New Bridge Street

Bolton Arms, New Bridge Street. (c) Manchester Local Image Collection. Click here to view full image.

The Bolton Arms at 83 New Bridge Street (now Trinity Way), north of Victoria Station, is seen here as a Youngers house in the 1970s.  It was once owned by the literally literary-named William Shakespeare Yates.  It's claimed there was a tunnel leading from the pub cellar to the nearby Cathedral, which had been bricked and whitewashed over [1].  In the 1970s it was a Scottish & Newcastle pub selling Tartan keg beers, and not surprisingly, was popular with Scottish folks.  A few years earlier it had served Youngers by beer engine, indicative of the near-death of real ale in Britain in the '70s [2].

1. Underground Manchester, Keith Warrender (2007).
2. The Manchester Pub Guide, Manchester & Salford City Centres (1975).

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Manchester Arms, Long Millgate

Manchester Arms, Long Millgate. (c) Manchester Local Image Collection. Click here and here to view full images [1].

Seen in 1899, in the 1900s, and here in 1904 (note the Jepson's Temperance Hotel next door for the more straight-laced customer), the Manchester Arms was converted from a house of residence to a public house at the end of the 19th century.  Here are a couple of rear views from 1904 and 1910 from the Corporation Street side.  The Manchester Arms was demolished in the mid-1970s to make way for the Picc-Vic cross-town underground scheme, which of course, never materialised.


The Picc-Vic Manchester Underground. (c) wikipedia.

Another sadly unrealised underground railway system for Manchester was detailed in the largely unknown 1967 'Manchester Rapid Transit' study which was hotly debated in Parliament.  This would have been a partly elevated, partly ground level, and partly underground network running from the Airport and Altrincham in the south, to Bury and Middleton in the north.  The proposed line to the south would have travelled for miles beneath Wythenshawe, and in the city centre beneath Oxford Street and Corporation Street.

Manchester Rapid Transit, 1967. (c) MarkO at skyscrapercity.