Bit late with this one, but here it is anyway – Our third pub crawl round Manchester. Just like the first crawl, I was joined by my old friends Mark Hillyard, and for half the crawl, Andy Morrison.
The rules this time were, all the pubs had to be new to us, we each took it in turns to pick the next one and we each had a veto we could use if we walked into somewhere and instantly hated the place – luckily, this rule was not needed, actually I don’t think we told Andy about that rule, now I come to think about it.
Mark and I met in Piccadilly Gardens at three o’clock and proceeded to ‘Slice’ Pizzeria in the Northern Quarter to lay a foundation of food down in preparation for the beer to come. Great little pizza place this where you could select lots of different quarters, which suited us fine. It was also beer number one, a pint of lager to warm up the liver.
Leaving ‘Slice’ we met up with Andy and walked to Mark’s choice, ‘The Tib Street Tavern’. This pub was nice but busy as it had big screens with the football on. We managed to find a table and did our best to ignore the distraction of the game. This pub had a nice atmosphere, even with though it was busy, it was probably one of the more trendy pubs on our lists and the beer was good (pint number two) but it was still good to get away from the crowds and the football and move onto pub number three – my choice, ‘The Angel’.
‘The Angel’ is on the way to ‘The Marble Arch’ (see crawl No 1) and was recommended to me last year by a Catholic Priest we met at Angel Meadow. With such high praise, it was time to check it out.
Not the smartest pub, but good atmosphere, friendly staff and an open fire. Andy ordered a burger and chips and was pleasantly surprised at how good they were, and the price. I liked this pub, it seemed very genuine – if that makes sense?
Pub (and pint) number four was across Manchester to Deansgate and the ‘Knott Inn’.
It was starting to get dark when we got there and the pub was busy. Great selection of beers here so we took our pick and found a couple of square feet out of the way to stand in. Again, nice atmosphere, but this pub felt like the kind of place you meet up with your friends before going somewhere else. I told a story about travelling through Russia and a lady nearby became very interested – it turns out she was Russian, what are the chances of that happening eh?
It was at this point that we had to say farewell to Andy who had a previous engagement, so, dodging the traffic, we crossed Deansgate and made our way to pub number five, ‘The Cask’ in Castlefield.
We approached the bar and Mark asked if they served food, “no mate, but there’s a chip shop next door. You can bring ’em in but take the fish away with you”. I got the drinks in while Mark went next door to get two fish and chips. Other customers eyed us enviously as we picked our way through the fresh cod and chips with our bare fingers (Mark forgot to get any forks). And soon we noticed more people disappearing before returning with white parcels just like ours.
Pub number six, ‘The Britons Protection’, just near the Bridgewater Hall. Beautiful Pub this, good atmosphere and friendly staff. Slightly strange layout here as you have to leave the bar and go outside momentarily, to get to the rooms at the rear. We managed though, and found a table to enjoy pint number six and contemplate our final destination.
Pub number seven, ‘The Temple’.
‘The Temple’ has had several incarnations. I remember it as a record shop in the eighties, but it was originally built as an underground public convenience, which is ironic because the loos here are the worst we’d seen all day. This is more a bar than a pub, but we were curious so we gave it a go and checked it off the list. Met some nice people, but it’s small, cramped and a little grungy, so we only had a half each and finally climbed the stairs out to catch our bus/train home and recover.
Overall, it was an interesting day exploring, I’m starting to feel now that I’m getting a bit of an overview of the most interesting pubs, and Manchester in general, though I’m sure there’s much more to find. Who knows, maybe I’ll come up with the ideal pub crawl, with all the favourites, etc.
Watch this space.