Pubs of Manchester

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

Friday, 30 July 2010

106. Label, Deansgate

Label, Deansgate. (c) beerintheevening.

Sandwiched between the exclusive Living Room, restaurant La Tasca and the hovels that are Riley's and the Moon Under Water, this is a reasonable, trendy bar which surprisingly had a real ale on. It was only Bombardier but it slipped down well and only £2.50 a pint. Living Room is a class above Label but I'd imagine this place is less pretentious and easier to get into on the weekend. Formerly Bar Med.

Bar Med, Deansgate. (c) beerintheevening.

105. Chaophraya, Chapel Walks

Chaophraya, Chapel Walks. (c) restautantsofmanchester.

Chaophraya Thai Bar & Restaurant has a nice little separate bar that is usually populated by business types or after-work drinkers who want a quieter alternative to the likes of Sam's Chop House (which is actually below Chaophraya) or Grinch (another one we'll have to do as it turns out). The usual bottled beers are on offer, but it was time to favour the grape over the grain with some classic reds on offer. This is a plush place so one to take the missus or family to rather than call in with the lads.

104. All Bar One - King Street

All Bar One, King Street. (c) sparkstoflames.

A national chain bar at the swish, top end of King Street that attracts the suits, but it's not as bad as it sounds. On first glance it's a wine, cocktails and lager joint, but fair play to them, they had a handpump on selling the rather dull Doom Bar ale. I plumped for a bottle of Worthington's White Shield - great to see another unexpected bar stocking it - which was served ice cold, unfortunately, though the Brooklyn Lager was tempting. The wine list looked reasonable (plonk is rated good, great or best) though it took the barmaid an age to find the white we'd ordered ("I'm new, sorry"). All Bar One is pretty soulless but is better than chains like Slug & Lettuce and Hogshead, and this one is pleasant enough if you can get a table outside on the King Street thoroughfare.


All Bar One, King Street. (c) Adam B. at flickr.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

House 9, Century Street

House 9, Century Street, 2009. (c) yelp.

House 9 only opened in 2009 in the multi-floored old lock keepers house adjacent to Deansgate Locks, but lasted just less than a calendar year [1]. It claimed to be a class above Deansgate Locks, which isn't difficult, and by all accounts attracted a trendy, exclusive crowd with suitably eye-watering prices at its several bars. Entry to the bar-club was free at times, other times it was a few quid, and despite minimal promotion it seemed to to attract decent numbers. But, it wasn't for us then, and it isn't for Manchester now. It obvious why it failed - look at how close it is to Death Row.

House 9 terrace, Century Street, 2009. (c) manchesterconfidential.

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Bridge Inn / Albert Hotel, New Bailey Street

"Looking towards the Bridge Inn on New Bailey Street from the riverside path (now the site of the Mark Addy pub) in the 1820s." (c) Neil Richardson [1].

The Bridge Inn was the first licensed house on New Bailey Street, on the Salford side of the bridge that links to Bridge Street, Manchester. Opening in 1807, it was sold to Benjamin Joule (father of J. P. Joule) in 1830 who also had a brewery on New Bailey Street. The drawing above shows its three stories, the upper two of which included a club room, nursery, tea room, malt room, plus five bedrooms. When plans were afoot to improve the bridge, widening on the Salford side necessitated a chunk of the Bridge Inn's front being lost. Joule decided to knock the pub down and build a new hotel on the site once Albert Bridge was built. His new hotel opened in 1854 as the Albert Hotel & Bridge Inn and by 1890 Groves & Whitnall had acquired it. At some point after 1913 Boddington's Brewery took it over until it was destroyed in the Blitz in WWII, with Thomas Swindlehurst its last licensee [1].

1. Salford Pubs. Part One: The Old Town, including Chapel Street, Greengate and the Adelphi, Neil Richardson (2003).

Corporation Hotel / Edinburgh Castle, Chapel Street

This hotel-cum-beerhouse was technically just outside our official boundary just over the Irwell in Salford, but since it was next door to where the Cathedral Arches premises is, we'll include it (in fact, anything on the river - like the Mark Addy and Pen & Wig - we'd best count). When the Palatine Bridge, which carries Chapel Street into Manchester, was opened in 1864, a James Warren Ingham built the Corporation Hotel on that little triangle of land between road and river. The Corporation was advertised as 100 yards from Victoria (and was almost part of Exchange Station, obviously), selling choice wines and "free and easy" every evening [1].

Former location of Edinburgh Castle. (c) googlemaps.

Unfortunately Ingham was never granted a full licence for the Corporation Hotel and it closed in 1866. Two years later the building was being run as a distribution depot and a beerhouse, the Edinburgh Ale Vaults, by McEwan's brewery of Edinburgh. When William Pollett took over from Jon Ross, he renamed it the Edinburgh Castle. In 1893, Joseph Holt's Brewery bought the beerhouse, but having fended off an attempt to shut it in 1907 under Henry Fenna, it was deemed structurally unsuitable by magistrates and it finally closed in 1918 with Elizabeth Robinson the licensee. This was despite the Edinburgh Castle's miniature spa garden overlooking the river, which was where the paved area outside Bijou, the old Cathedral Arches, is now [1].

1. Salford Pubs. Part One: The Old Town, including Chapel Street, Greengate and the Adelphi, Neil Richardson (2003).

Tavern a laugh

Interesting article here in Chimp Magazine on the demise (or not) of Manchester's pubs, at the Manchester Food & Drink Festival. Pleasingly it finishes with one pub that has defied all odds and is flourishing despite these uncertain times, The Angel. Some stand-out points:

* John Quilter, former proprietor of Marmalade bistro in Beech Road, Chorlton, puts its malaise partly down to the decision to take pub ownership away from the breweries and into the hands of Pub-Cos; in his case, Punch Taverns ("the sub-prime daddy of the licensed trade").

* Significantly, Punch Taverns are on their arse, and shares were down from £13 to 31p when CEO Giles Thornley fell on his sword in March 2010.

* Some pubs deserve to close because the world has changed and they haven't (hello, Lord Nelson. Is that Athenaeum I hear calling?).

* Oliver Robinson, of Stockport's fine Robinson's Brewery, prides himself on the number of pubs they've kept open.

* The smoking ban has had zero effect on their bottom line.

All material (c) Chimp Publications Ltd.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Guest Pub - Wellington, Birmingham

Wellington, Bennetts Hill, Birmingham. (c) pumpclipmusuem.

The Wellington is now the only pub we head for before (and after if time permits) Birmingham and Villa away matches. It's not the easiest to find if you don't know the awful pedestrianised centre of the third city, but make sure you do (B2 5SN). It's just up from a small and reasonable Wetherspoons, The Briar Rose, but unless you arrive in Birmingham at daft o'clock there's no need to risk Spoons ale as the Wellington opens at 10am. The grand terrace townhouse exterior is a pleasant enough, but the interior is nothing to write home about, apart from the bar...

Wellington bar. (c) maeib's Beerblog.

As you survey the bar, a glance to your right reveals the day's offerings on a giant electronic screen with ales rated according to colour: from A, the light ales, to E, the porters and stouts. Prices are city centre standard but they are well worth it as the ale is well sourced, well kept and turns over so quickly you rarely, if ever, come across a duff pint. A nice feature is that their website displays the days' offerings, so that technically-savvy beer boffins, hop heads, scoopers and piss pots can plan their visit with almost military precision.

Wellington electric screen. (c)

Regular ales include Purity Mad Goose, Wye Valley HPA, and Black Country ales like Pig on the Wall and BFG. There are another dozen ale handpumps for rotating guests and three ciders on handpull. The Wellington also keeps an incredible number of ales in stock as listed on their website. Thankfully it's not gone the way of some of Manchester's finer real ale pubs and focussed too much on food - in fact it doesn't do hot food at all but encourages you to bring your own in. The Wellington is a hugely popular place on weekend evenings (witness the odd moaner on Beer In the Evening), but if you have any nous you'll be heading here at 10am on a Saturday or Sunday to work your way through their fine ale in the relative quiet.

Wellington beer board. (c)

Monday, 26 July 2010

Guest Pub - Volunteer, Sale

Volunteer, Cross Street, Sale. (c) garstonian at flickr.

As the summer lull comes to an end we're introducing a guest pub feature for those outside the Pubs of Manchester boundary that we like to frequent. First up is Sale's finest-looking (and finest) boozer, the Volunteer, a great old Holt's house on Cross Street, the A56, a few minutes walk from Sale tram stop.  It's not always been a Holt's house - seen here as a Whitbread's house probably in the 1980s, and here in 1982 as an unknown brand of boozer (Chef's Brewer?).  The pub's name commemorates the enlistment of troops for the Napoleonic War which took place at nearby Sale Moor and an area near Hope Road in 1804. In charge of these troops was Captain John Moore who, unfortunately, later went on to be involved in the Peterloo Massacre where he commanded a troop of murderous yeomanry! [1].

The pub's impressive architecture suggests mid-Victorian period construction, and it's believed the Volunteer was built around about the same time as neighbouring pub, the Bulls Head, but after the Waggon & Horses [2].  This drawing from the Trafford archives is labelled 1898 but is surely from older times?  Here's a wonderful photo of the Volunteer from 1905 (Trafford Council tried to charge me £30 for the use of this photo - erm, as a Trafford Council Tax payer my response starts with fuck 'sod' and ends with 'off').  Inside are high ceilings and the layout of the old once-multi-roomed pub is evident. Nowadays it's been opened out with a pool table and darts area to the right (not to mention the numerous trophies on display), a long bar to the front and a large and part-raised seating area to the left. A function room upstairs and a small (formerly large until NIMBY neighbours had it curtailed) beer yard to the rear adds further capacity to this big old boozer.

Like all good pubs though, what makes it good is the beer and the people that drink it. Holt's Bitter, Dark Mild and a guest are on along with the usual Crystal, Diamond, cider, stout and Smooth Holt's offerings. The full range of Holt's bottled ales are also on offer. As for the regulars, a more loyal and hard-drinking bunch of characters you'll not find. It's the sort of pub that attracts the same crowd every night and has impromptu sing songs, but they remain welcoming to less regular drinkers and even have been known to put up with visiting student types on quiz night. The pub has formidable, all-conquering pool and darts teams and the friendly landlord even puts on Christmas dinner for those loyal regulars without a better offer on the 25th! As with all Holt's pubs, the Vol does more than its fair share for charity, and one year we'll definitely do the Vol-to-Blackpool bike ride, honest.

Volunteer, Cross Street, Sale. (c) Adam B. at flickr.

The Vol's immediate neighbours are the unavailable members-only Garvey's Irish Club and the sadly derelict Waggon & Horses. But, there are a couple of others worth a look just a few hundred yards away, up and down Cross Street. The Bridge is a decent and recently refurbished Lees house at Dane Road tram stop, and the CAMRA-highlighted Bulls Head on the corner of School Road is now rather food-focussed but keeps a few real ales and is doing well. A further stagger into the pedestrianised Sale centre and you've got the madhouse that is Ryan's Bar, a youngsters' bar called Amp, the poor and ale-free Bank and crap Slug & Lettuce chain. Don't despair though as there is an excellent little Robinson's house, the Railway, near the police station and the Kings Ransom opposite Sale tram station, which has plenty of real ales on but can be a bit of a meat market at weekends. Just over the way is another CAMRA-recommended place, the J.P. Joule, a reasonable Wetherspoons. To conclude, central Sale is a mixed bag and could do with a few more decent pubs and trendy bars to complement its decent restaurants, like neighbouring Chorlton, Didsbury and Altrincham. The Volunteer, though, is a cracking local's local.

EDIT:  Pleased to report the opening of the Steamhouse opposite the tram stop in the old nightclub venue.  Reports of a free house with an over-25s policy, serving a couple of real ales and a great selection of continental lagers will be confirmed shortly.

We're happy to host guest pubs for anyone else willing to write about their favourite boozer, just get in touch.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Pips / Thursdays / Nice & Easy, Fennel Street

Pips, Fennel Street. (c) Pips Facebook.

"9 Beautiful Bars, 11 Crowded Dance Floors. Pips (It's Behind The Cathedral)! So went the old advert for this famous old club that used to adorn the city centre and be played on local radio and television.

Pips, Fennel Street. (c) Pips Facebook.

Pips was a hangout for many faces in the Manchester music scene of the late 1970s - the likes of Ian Curtis, Barney Sumner, Peter Hook, Morrissey, Johnny Marr and Peter Saville. 

Pips today - Nicky Clarke's, Fennel Street. (c) Pips Facebook.

Nowadays a hairdressers marks the spot where Pips stood and the original entrance may well still be in existence, hidden below street level.

Pips old entrance, 2006. (c) Pips Facebook.

The cool kids would be downstairs in the Cave listening to Bowie, Roxy Music, Lou Reed and the like, and Thursdays was punk night.  The delightful sounding Fosters Tube Lager from Wilsons Brewery was available to lucky punters.

Thursdays, Fennel Street, 1983. (c) Pips Facebook.

Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music was once refused entry to Pips after a gig at Belle Vue as he was wearing jeans! Saturday nights would often see coach parties coming to Pips from all over the north west and locals often kicked off with visiting Scousers [1].

Pips, Fennel Street. (c) Pips Facebook.

Many bands played at Pips, usually in the Bowie/Roxy room and Joy Division played their first ever gig at here, though they were actually advertised as Warsaw [2].  Pips was also known as Nice & Easy at some point.

Nice & Easy at Pips, Fennel Street. (c) Memories of Pubs from Manchester & Salford Facebook [3].

Pips closed at the beginning of the 1980s, but later reopened as Konspiracy hardcore nightclub.  This lasted into the '90s before being closed by police - another casualty of the Manchester door wars with regular taxing of takings by Cheetham Hill and Salford gangs.

Nice & Easy at Pips, Fennel Street. (c) Manchester District Music Archive.

1. chameleontel at skyscrapercity.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Lord Clyde, Chester Road

Lord Clyde, Chester Road, late 1950s. (c) Kev Fowles/

The Lord Clyde was just one of 16 pubs that survived through to the 1980s following the slum clearances of Hulme which took place from the 1930s through to the '60s. This was Manchester City Council's systematic destruction of streets, houses, communities and the very places in which these communities spent so much time - their pubs. The above photo shows such a community - the drinkers from the Lord Clyde before their trip in the bus to New Brighton for a picnic (and a piss up). Replacing the back-to-backs and terraces were grim, supposedly modern, high rise flats and "communities in the sky", but these turned out to be a catastrophic failure.

Former site of Lord Clyde, Chester Road. (c) googlemaps.

Although the Lord Clyde survived slum clearance and the Mancunian Way ring road, it didn't survive the development of modern Manchester city centre which began, contrary to popular belief, a while before the 1996 IRA bomb.  It was demolished in 1990 and used to be on the right in the below shot, on the corner of Chester Road and Blantyre Street, where the Chester Road-Mancunian Way roundabout is nowadays.  Opposite was the Bridgewater Arms, which didn't survive as long and was a casualty of the ring road.

Thanks to Alan at manmates for permission to use the above 1950s photo.

Pub Stops of Manchester

Pub Stops of Manchester. (c)

A quirky poster for your wall in the office or spare room. See here for the full sized map (and to see an alternative location for Eccles!). Plenty of city centre pubs are featured (57 within our boundary):

Ape & Apple
Baby Grand (Down Under - closed)
Bay Horse
Bulls Head
Circus Tavern
City Arms
City Road Inn
Crown & Anchor
Crown & Cushion
Ducie Bridge
Forgery & Firkin (Bank)
Grey Horse
Hare & Hounds
Jackson's Wharf (closed)
Joshua Brooks
King Inn (Northern)
Lass O'Gowrie
Lloyds No.1 (now Wetherspoons (Seven Stars))
Lord Nelson (closed)
Lounge Inn (English Lounge)
Marble Arch
Mark Addy
Moon Under Water
Mother Macs
Old Grapes
Old Nag's Head
Paddy's Goose
Peveril of the Peak
Piccadilly Tavern
Rising Sun
Sawyers Arms
Seven Oaks
Sir Ralph Abercrombie
Star & Garter (mostly only open weekends; pay-in)
Thirsty Scholar
Thompson's Arms
Town Hall Tavern
Tiger Lounge (closed)
Wetherspoons (Paramount)
Wetherspoons (Piccadilly)
White Lion

Pub Stops of Manchester, city centre. (c)

Take the Marble home

Marble Beers advert. (c) SSM CAMRA Opening Times July 2010.

How's about this for a new feature for the pub goers of Manchester? Marble Beers, probably Manchester's finest and most innovative micro-brewery, have introduced 2 pint beer hoppers so thirsty beer geeks and ale monsters can order a Marble takeaway. Could come in handy on match day for the walk* to the ground, and for the schlep up to the Sheridan Suite for the National Winter Ales Festival in January 2011.

* taxi

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Royal Brew Vaults, Charles Street

Royal Brew Vaults, Charles Street. (c) Bob Potts/Neil Richardson [1].

This lost Wilsons house pictured above in the 1950s was previously known as the Arbitration Inn but also nicknamed Dirty Dicks after the landlord, Richard Isted, who had it in the 1930s and '40s [1]. Like the Clynes Vaults around the corner, this pub was lost in 1968 when the area was flattened in order for the BBC North West HQ to be built on the site. When the Royal Brew Vaults closed it left the Lass O'Gowrie (which is on the opposite side and further towards Princess Street to where the Royal Brew was) as the only pub on Charles Street until the modern day Joshua Brooks and Base Café Bar opened.

1. The Old Pubs of Hulme & Chorlton-on-Medlock, Bob Potts/Neil Richardson (1997).

Half Way House, City Road (East)

The Halfway House stood at 49 City Road, just opposite and south of where the Boatman's Home used to be until quite recently. It is thought its name came from the fact it was halfway between Manchester city centre and the Old Trafford border. Thomas Travis Shore took over the Half Way House in 1914 when the pub was a Taylor's Eagle Brewery house, but when Taylor's Eagle ceased brewing in 1924 it was supplied by Marston's of Burton-on-Trent which came to Manchester by rail then horse and cart. Shore was renowned for keeping great Mild and the family kept the Half Way House through the Second World War until 1950 and it closed for good in 1963 as yet more streets around it were demolished in the slum clearances [1].

Former site of Half Way House, City Road (East), treed area to right. (c) googlemaps.

1. The Old Pubs of Hulme & Chorlton-on-Medlock, Bob Potts/Neil Richardson (1997).

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Clynes Vaults, Oxford Road

Clynes Vaults, Oxford Road, 1965. (c) Bob Potts [1].

The Clynes Vaults was a Wilsons house that sat on Oxford Road, just south of Charles Street.  That puts it pretty much at where the entrance to the BBC Building is now, itself which may be about to be lost when Auntie's staff decamp to Media City at Salford Quays. The pub was named after the licensee, Thomas Clynes, in the 1870s and early 1880s.  He then took over the Cavendish Arms on Cavendish Street and renamed it Clynes Wine Bar which lasted about a century. 

Clynes eventually sold up to Naval Brewery of Hulme and the Clynes Vaults and Clynes Wine Bar both passed to Wilsons Brewery.  In 1905 Clynes Vaults was known as Jesse Burton's Wine Bar (again, after the new owner) but he departed in 1908 and the pub was renamed the Clyne Vaults until it closed in 1968 [1] (the BBC Building was built in 1976).  Locals nicknamed the Clyne's Vaults as the Three Nuns due to the three spinsters that lived there at one time.

1. The Old Pubs of Hulme & Chorlton-on-Medlock, Bob Potts (1997).

Boatman's Home, City Road

Boatman's Home, City Road, Hulme, 1995. (c) Alan Winfield with kind permission.

Although yet another of Manchester's lost pubs, the Boatman's Home was only built in 1973 as a Tetley Walker house as seen here, and was named after the old Boatmans Home pub which was round the corner on Chester Road, closing in 1967 [1].  Described as "an old man's pub" and "a charming boozer in its own way" whilst also holding popular Irish music nights, the Boatman's Home was left isoloated by the Mancunian Way to the south and the industrial wastelands surrounding it.  However, the pub was not demolished until fairly recently (it still appears on many pub websites as being in existence, so may have been in the '90s when it went).  Some of the new build apartments and offices that now stand on the site on the corner of City Road (City Road East) and River Place are informally named 'The Boatmans' after the pub.

Former site of the Boatman's Home, City Road East. (c) Google 2011. View Larger Map.

Thanks to our pal Ronnie for his recollections of The Boatman's Home: "I used to go in the Boatman's about '89-'91 but it closed and was demolished about '95 I'd say.  The Boatman's was a decent little boozer, and as you say mainly an Irish pub.  Used to be busy weekday dinnertimes with people from nearby offices and a probably now demolished factory.  Weekday evenings it was dead but Friday and especially Saturday was busy.  The main room was full of Irish and there was always some God-awful Irish band on.  Best thing about it was the vault, good pool table and a local's zone.  As it was off the beaten track, after-time was usually available until 1am for the Irish regulars, and select few in the vault stayed later too."

1. The Old Pubs of Hulme & Chorlton-on-Medlock, Bob Potts/Neil Richardson (1997).

Neil Richardson

Old Pubs of Ancoats & Manchester's Little Italy. (c) M&LFHS.

Seeing as details of many old pubs recorded here have come from his books, it's about time Neil Richardson was further acknowledged for being the oracle of Manchester pubs. Sadly, Neil passed away in 2006 but his work lives on and is available from specialist bookshops in Manchester, such as Ian Allen's on Piccadilly Approach, as well as on-line, e.g. from the M&LFHS and Ranelagh Books. This list seems to be a comprehensive account of Neil's publications and includes books on the pubs of Ancoats, Ashton, Crompton & Shaw, Denton & Haughton, Failsworth, Hulme & Chorlton-on-Medlock, Rochdale Road, Salford and more. Others such as Ancoats Lad, Manchester's Little Italy and The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, have also been invaluable. It looks like the only one Neil didn't get round to doing is Pubs of Manchester...

Ancoats Lad & Old Pubs of Hulme & Chorlton-on-Medlock. (c) M&LFHS.

Here is his 2006 obituary from The Guardian:

The history of the north-west has lost a central figure with the death from cancer of the printer and publisher Neil Richardson, aged 58. Born in Bury, he completed a BSc in physics at Salford University in 1971. He abandoned work on his PhD to become a printer; his earliest publications included the Salford student newspaper and What's Doing, the newsletter of the North Manchester branch of Camra, the real ale lobby group.

Neil's first booklet on local history, about Salford pubs, appeared in 1978. Books on local breweries and gazetteers of public houses were followed by more general histories, all rooted in the experiences of people whose voices were, at best, marginal in the conventional historical record.

Assisted by his wife Sue, he edited, designed and printed his distinctive publications with speed and sensitivity, and they were soon occupying increasing shelf space in bookshops - at prices affordable to people who would not normally have bought a history book. Increasingly aware of the difficulties of obtaining particular types of documents, Neil made available nearly 300 out-of-print guide books, directories, maps and other publications, and changed the world of local history publishing. He helped to establish a more democratically produced history, based on the lives of ordinary people.

Much of this passed unnoticed in the academic world, though historians who discovered Neil's publications found them an invaluable source in their own teaching and researches. Indeed, some found in Neil a more appropriate outlet and congenial publisher for their own work.

He was a shy, modest man with a dry sense of humour, who peppered What's Doing with spoofs and satires of landlords and breweries. This resulted on three occasions in solicitors' letters on behalf of upset licensees. His commitment ensured that the newsletter appeared every month for 30 years - and 368 issues - until surgery in June prevented its publication. Neil announced that this was "owing to essential maintenance on the printer". Sue survives him.

The Manchester Village & Salford Pubs Part One. (c) M&LFHS.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Globe, George Street

Site of the Globe, George Street / Medlock Street. (c) googlemaps.

The site of the Globe Hotel is now beneath the Mancunian Way's Princess Parkway roundabout and a Premier Travel Inn - confirmed by the 1844 map of Hulme [1]. Before the inner ring road was built, this area was the intersection of Medlock Street and George Street (now Hulme Street - you can see where Hulme Street continues on; this was George Street and it turned into Bedford Street). The Globe Hotel or Globe Inn is described as being on George Street [2] and at 64 Medlock Street and was a Walkers & Homfrays house in 1951 as pictured below, having been licensed since the 1830s. In 1848 the licensee was Solomon Warhurst at 48 George Street according to the Slater's Directory [1].

Globe Hotel, George Street, 1951. (c) Bob Potts/Neil Richardson [1].

1. Hulme 1844, Alan Godfrey Maps (2007).
2. The Old Pubs of Hulme & Chorlton-on-Medlock, Bob Potts/Neil Richardson (1997).

Blue Ball, Chester Road / Deansgate

Blue Ball, Chester Road / Deansgate. (c) Asquith at practicalmachinist.

In 1647 Manchester's licensing records had just one, unnamed alehouse in Hulme, kept by Margaret Preston. In 1739 a James Williamson was recorded as keeping the Blue Ball at the top of Chester Road and it's thought that this is the same pub as Preston's [1]. In more recent times the Blue Ball was located on the corner of Owen Street until it lost its licence in 1954. This is just after where Chester Road turns into Deansgate, but it is likely that the original Blue Bell was a little south of here as part of a farmstead, on the other side of Chester Road where Castle Quay is now (therefore near Choice Bar & Restaurant and Lava Café Bar) [1].

1. The Old Pubs of Hulme & Chorlton-on-Medlock, Bob Potts/Neil Richardson (1997).

Friday, 16 July 2010

Grapes, Deansgate

Grapes, Deansgate. (c) Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson [1].

Ivy Forth was barmaid at the Grapes on Deansgate (at the Liverpool Road end) for a time in the early 20th century: "A lot of loose people went in there and the pub used to stay open all hours of the night. My husband was a bit of a fighter and if any of the rough customers spoke to me he was quick enough to put the fist in [1]." Between 1941 and 1948 the Grapes was actually used as a replacement synagogue after a main Manchester synagogue was bombed. Inside the pub-cum-place of worship was a door set into the wall, about 10 feet off the ground which presumably was an old entrance from higher ground at the rear of the pub, and it's said that women used to watch the prayers through this door as they weren't allowed onto the main floor.

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Roebuck, Ashton Street

On what was believed to be the shortest street in Manchester, the Roebuck was originally attached to a dozen houses on Ashton Street, but these were pulled down when the railway company built a goods shed over the site for the Liverpool Road Station [1]. The Roebuck, though, was saved and remained standing on its own for many years, a small pub, I think just off the bottom end of Lower Byrom Street.

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

Glasgow Arms, Lower Byrom Street

Glasgow Arms, Lower Byrom Street. (c) MLFHS.

The Glasgow Arms adorns front cover of the great little "The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered" book by Frank Heaton and Neil Richardson (it's available at the above MLFHS link). The cheerful young black lad is Bertie Armitage and the bloke in the top hat buying the kids ice cream is Eric Shell, a Great John Street bookie. He used to sup in the Glasgow Arms, and the local children would wait for him to come out and he would thrown a handful of pennies in the air, cue the kids scrambling and scrapping for the coins [1].

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

Navigation, Elm Street

This pub sounded like a bit of nightmare on Elm Street (where the New Elm Road is now, off Water Street). The Navigation was next to an abattoir and it was open all hours and "the killers (slaughterers) used to send nippers in with cans for their beer [1]." Oddly enough, it was also popular with courting couples, "If anybody in the area wanted to be out of the way with a young female, the Navigation was the ideal place to be because it was down in the Potato Wharf [1]."

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

Queens, Gartside Street

The Queens was a small pub at the bottom end of Gartside Street just off Quay Street, and was nicknamed the Bottom Hamer's, as the Crown was the Top Hamer's or Tommy Hamer's and must have been run by that family at some point. The Queens used to fill up with any drunks or troble causers that would get thrown out of the Crown. However, it was reported that the Bottom Hamer's was just about the only pub in the area that didn't water down its beer, and as such, the pub often struggled to make it pay. But the landlord still said, when told he should water his ale down like everybody else does, "No, never on your life. If I don't earn a penny, I'm not doing that [1]."

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

103. Kro2, Oxford Road

Kro2, Oxford Road. (c) thewednesdayclub.

This one is right on our south-eastern boundary with the Mancunian Way almost passing Oxford Road overhead, but what a great, albeit ultra-modern, bar Kro2 is. Almost entirely made from glass, this ground floor bar is sister to Kro Piccadilly and a number of other Kros around Manchester [1]. It's usually very busy when we amble past towards gigs at the Academy, but as well as catering for the obvious student customers, this place also attracts those who like proper beer. Four real ales and a real cider were on along with a very impressive list of Danish craft beers. The cask ales were standards - Bombardier, Deuchar's, Wainwright's and TT Landlord - but were priced well under three quid.

As for them Danish craft beers:
- Rise Brewery: Rise IPA (5.5%, £5.95), Aero Grolle Pilsner (4.8%), Aero King Arthur Stout (6.0%) and Aero Valnodde Ol No.5 (7.0%), all £4.95.
- Orbaek Brewery: Dark Horse, Fynsk Forar, OPA and Peach Beer (all 5.0% and £3.95).
- Sogaard Brewery: Jumfuhumle (4.8%), Loa (5.3%), Klosterbryg (5.5%) and Red Quinta (4.5%), all £3.95. (All available at discount, with occasional freebies apparently, at the Kro Beer Club.)

Kro2 beer garden, Oxford Road (c)

Fine food is a boast of Kros but doesn't really interest us; still, the menu looks to be a good mix of traditional classics and modern nonsense and portions always seen generous. A word for the friendly staff as well, including a personal reminder to each table of drinkers that last orders were approaching. A regular mini-beer festival is held at Kro2 in the large beer garden [2], which overlooks the delightful views of Europe's busiest bus route (the Oxford Road corridor which ferries untold numbers of students and commuters to and from town, the Universities and South Manchester suburbs such as Rusholme, Withington and Didsbury). Kro2 is another good real ale establishment at this end of town, and it's encouraging to see a modern, student-focussed bar selling such decent beers.


Kro2 Beer Festival 2009. (c) SSM CAMRA Opening Times Sept 2009.

102. Courtyard, Chester Street

Situated in the premises previously occupied by Scu 2 Bar and prior to that O'Sheas 2 [1], this is the latest attempt at running a good bar close to the large area of student accommodation nearby. Advertising itself as the cheapest pub in the area, "come in and check out our prices" (about £1.50 for cooking lager) said the sign on the door, we did just that. Inside is a large open bar area, with big screen televisions on each wall and the biggest Playstation/ X-Box with giant plasma I've ever seen. Indeed, a game was going on as we arrived with two students with their half pints of orange enjoying a game and utilising the pub's electrictity instead of their own. There are also two decent looking pool tables, with free pool all day on weekdays between 11am and 8pm; the jukebox being free at the same times. At the back is an open Courtyard (hence the name, no doubt) which is huge and probably a fine place to spend a summer afternoon drinking, assuming you haven't buggared off back home to the Home Counties of course!

Scu 2 Bar now the Courtyard, Chester Street. (c) Google 2011 -View Larger Map .

As for beer, disappointingly no real ale was in evidence despite a blank pump, although there was an excellent bottled selection including the famous Worthington's White Shield bottled-conditioned 5.6% IPA from Britain's oldest microbrewery, which is sadly quite a rareity in most pubs (at least in Manchester). If they could just sort out some real ale, this could definitely become a regular haunt for ourselves. And the prices, well, as usual you get what you pay for - cheap for cooking lager and keg bitter (Boddies), not so cheap for bottles and Guinness. Apparently they have a house band that plays jazz/funk on Monday nights. Don't let this put you off though, it's worth searching out The Courtyard, if only for a few White Shields - nip in here when you're at the Oxford Street end of town, perhaps between visits to Kro 2, Odder, Font or the Lass.

Worthington's White Shield. (c)

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Bridgewater Arms / Donkey, Hardman Street

This was another old pub in the Deansgate area, at the bottom of Hardman Street on the corner with Water Street, that was better known by its nickname rather than the Bridgewater Arms. Originally known as the Baulking Donkey, it was best known as just the Donkey, named after a "sambone" (after the unintelligible "rags and bone" shout) man who used to drink in the pub and give his donkey an ashtray of ale. Sometimes the old sambone man would fall asleep on his cart doing the rounds but his faithful old donkey would always find its way to the pub and wait outside [1].

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

Princess Tavern / Friendship Inn, Camp Street

The Princess Tavern beerhouse was an odd building for a bunch of teetotal Methodists to take over and make their HQ for preaching about the perils of strong drink. Even odder is that, instead of naming it something relevant and catchy such 'Squares R Us' or 'U Booze U Lose', they renamed their beerhouse the Friendship Inn Mission. One time they set up opposite the Fox Inn and started singing with a backing organ. Fox landlord, William Henry Forth, hailed a passing policeman and yelled: "I want you to go away! None of my customers will come in with you there. I've got a large family and I'm earning a living." And with that, the temperance movement packed up and went [1].

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

St Johns Tavern / Coffin Polish, Hardman Street

St Johns Tavern / Coffin Polish, Hardman Street, 1912. (c) Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson [1].

Officially St Johns Tavern, this local's pub was known as the Coffin Polish due to the nearby coffin shop. It was situated at the bottom end of Hardman Street and ran by a Mrs MacDonald and is shown in The Manchester Village on the corner of Young Street as a Walker's Warrington Ales house. In keeping with the times, the Coffin Polish had separate rooms for men and women, but did let in the local Irish lodgers from the nearby Biddy's lodging house on Gartside Street, unlike other many pubs in the area. The Irish used to hold beer drinking competitions with the locals, organised by the next-door-but-one bookies. Jack Green remembers: "Men sat at a table and they were brought the pints, which they drank in their own time. If someone jibbed or was sick, he lost. They were allowed to go to the toilet but somebody had to go with them to see they weren't sick. My grandfather was one of the top men - he could drink. My father's brother Joe was also a heavy drinker - he could knock back 20 or 25 pints a night. [1]". And we're told that binge drinking is a problem these days (more than three pints is considered a "binge" according to made-up government guidelines)!

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

Ship Tavern, Byrom Street

The Ship Tavern was on the corner of Byrom Street and Eltoft Street. This 1965 shot shows the Ship Tavern after closure and as the street was being demolished. A photo from the same position some years earlier in The Manchester Village shows the Ship as a Walker's Warrington Ales house with a Falstaff Ales sign on the roof as well [1]. Despite its respectable appearance, it had a reputation for serving prostitutes who would try to seduce the drunks. 'Deansgate School' stood on Eloft Street as shown in this 1965 photo and in later years the site of the old Eltoft Street was subject to an archaeological dig, as seen in 1978.

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

Admiral Collingwood, Fleet Street

Fleet Street was one of many streets that were lost when the Central Station (aka GMEX) and railway warehouses were built in the 1870s.  There must have been dozens of pubs lost when this station was built, so we'll try to dig up some details.  Fleet Street used to connect Deansgate with Lower Mosley Street and on it stood the Admiral Collingwood pub which was, for a time, ran by the same family as the Fox Inn (Admiral Collingwood was Horatio Nelson's right-hand man in the Napoleonic Wars).  Just before the railway came along they had special beer glasses made which were etched with 'William Austin Gibbons' (landlord) and 'Collingwood Hotel' [1].

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).

New Theatre Hotel / Hop Pole Inn, Hardman Street

New Theatre Hotel, Hardman Street, 1965. (c) Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson [1].

Situated on Hardman Street off Deansgate, where the Spinningfield development has sprung up, the New Theatre Hotel was a pub where theatricals used to stay and sometimes drink when they were on at the nearby Manchester Opera House [1].  However, the nearby Crown was far more popular and was known as "the Opera House's stage door".  In the mid-1800s this pub was known as the Hop Pole Inn, with Walker Street and Dole Field to either side [2].

1. The Manchester Village: Deansgate Remembered, Frank Heaton/Neil Richardson (1995).
2. Manchester City Centre 1849, Alan Godfrey Maps (2008).