"Oi, mate! ...Yeah you--the tall bloke! Watch yer head on that beam there, yeah?" Three guys are sitting at the bar, the smallest one is looking at me and my friend as we walk into the Olde Man & Sythe. He's right, the ceiling is really low in this pub and I probably would have given my skull a good crack without the warning. "Thanks," I give a nod of appreciation. Hearing my accent he asks, "Where you from?" "Canada," I reply. He looks surprised, "Go get yourself a pint of Thatcher's Cider and come have have a chat with us, yeah?"
Well, that's an odd introduction to a place, isn't it? I walk to the bar and do as ordered; a pint of cider for me and a Coke for my friend. I return to the three guys with my cloudy cider in hand, wondering if maybe they're the local thugs to be reckoned with and whether they have the hots for my friend because she's wearing a short skirt. "Drink it with respect, lad," the short, talkative one says. "Respect," his two friends chime in unison as we all clink glasses.
He introduces himself as "Vance," a piano dealer from Ireland. He tells me at length about how the best piano he ever had was a vintage that was made in Toronto. I quickly realize that these guys aren't thugs, they're just regulars that are probably completely bored with each others' stories.
Eventually, my friend and I are able to tear ourselves away from Vance and company and find a table near some display cases that contain historic items from the pub--including a wooden chair that's probably 400 years old.
An elderly gentlemen walks over to us carrying a long board in one hand. "You're not going to hit me with that, are you?," I ask. "Nah, I was just doing some renovations. My name's John--I'm the owner. I thought I would come over and tell you some of the history of the place."
Well, how cool is that? Obviously, Vance and his buddies had spread the word that there was tourists in the house.
This pub dates back to 1251. People have been drinking here for more than 750 years! It's the third oldest pub in England and one of the oldest in the entire world. He tells us that the building has gone through some renovations since its inception, but many of the original parts still remain. The chair in the display case was sat in by James Stanley, the 7th Earl of Derby, on October the 15th, 1651 as he ate his last meal here. He was then brought right outside and executed for his support of Charles Stuart and the Royalists during the English Civil War.
There are enough ghost stories and sightings surrounding The Olde Man & Scythe to fill a small book.
John tells us that although he doesn't serve food here, people are welcome to buy a pizza or whatever they want up the street and eat it here.
Two hours melt quickly away as folks chat with me and my friend. I have to admit, the Thatcher's Cider is going down my throat very smoothly and I've lost count of how many I've had. What a beautiful drink--I'm getting completely hammered! But we suddenly realize the time and have to rush off to catch a train back to Manchester. We reluctantly say "Goodbye," to John, Vance, and all our new acquaintances. As we stagger down the cold, rainy street with big, happy grins on our faces we exclaim to each other "Wow--great pub! Insanely friendly people!"
2012 Update: I was extremely saddened to learn of the news of John Jewitt's passing. John drowned while swimming in Lanzarote on October 31, 2011.
Ikon is Bolton’s biggest and most well known night time venue.
The music here is dance and the club opens its doors at 10pm and stay open until 3am. The place rocks with access to the smaller club down stairs called “Jax”
The admission cost is around 10 dollars for entry before eleven and 12 dollars there after.
The club is adjacent the Moat house hotel.
Dress Code: Smart club dress no sport wear/
Located just minutes from the busy high streets of Bolton is this small but quaint local pub,
serving a variety of ales and spirits,not sure if they do food as we just popped in for a quick
pint,there were plenty of chairs and tables,t.v's showing live sports etc.
Dress Code: casual.
The Ye Old Man and Scythe is a public house located in Churchgate in Bolton.
The first recorded mention of it by name was in 1251 making it one of the ten oldest
pubs in Britain and the oldest in Bolton.
It is not known what date the pub was built,but a charter of 1251 mentions it by
name.Due to the age of the building though it has been rebuilt at least once(1636)
according to the datestone inside,and only the vaulted cellar remains of the
original building,though some of the internal beams remainfrom the 1636 rebuild.
In 1651 the Earl of Derby was executed outside the Man and Scythe(owned at the
time by the Earl of Derby's family).Outside,there is a cross on the site that bears
a plaques which relate stories of Bolton through the ages.However,within the pub itself,
there is a chair that the Earl of Derby supposedly sat in before being taken outside
to be beheaded,the inscription of which reads "15th October 1651,in this chair 7th
Earl of Derby sat at the Man and Scythe Inn,Churchgate,Bolton immediately prior to
Like many old pubs in Britain that carry similar stories the pub is said to be haunted
by the Earl,and the pub runs regular all night stays and supernatural tours that run
from 10.30pm till 5.30am with a trained medium and guide,prices are £35.00 per
The pub is a friendly place with a variety of drinks and food available at reasonable prices.
Dress Code: Casual.
Ikon nightclub on Bridge Street is currently receiving a refurbishment to give the place a fresh new look in time for summer.
The popular Bolton venue will stay open throughout the refurb to ensure customers can enjoy their favourite venue in the run up to the relaunch. Once complete, Ikon will hold a ‘huge’ celebration on Saturday 5th July to officially unveil the club’s changes, and the message from management is “It’s still Ikon but better”.
One of the major changes will be the introduction of stylish VIP booths. Perfect for birthday and party celebrations, each booth is available for reservation and includes table service. General manager at Ikon, Derek Loadwick said: “We have a range of packages available to customers that want an extra special night to celebrate. These booths are extremely stylish and offer your very own private area overlooking the action in the club and already we’re starting to take enquiries and bookings.”
Ikon will also receive a new stage area to enable the venue to bring in live music entertainment and performance artistes. Already management are in talks with agents of Friday night’s Clubland events, top name DJs and local bands to bring in a variety of live entertainment.
Derek said: “The refurb is not about changing the venue completely, it’s about adding to our overall customer experience. This is our way of saying thanks to our customers for their loyal support and giving them something extra and fresh to keep them coming to their favourite venue.”
Details of entertainment for the opening weekend will be released shortly. However, management can confirm Galaxy FM will bring their party to Ikon on Saturday 12th July.
For further information or to book VIP tickets for the opening, call 01204 521246 or visit www.ikonbolton.com
Dress Code: Dress code varies depending on event - generally though, smart clothing and avoid trainers and sportswear.
When comes to a big night out then Bolton knows how to have a good time. The alcohol flows and the locals dance the night away.
There are traditional style pubs and wine bars. There are also fun pubs and night clubs which offer a late licence until about 1pm or 3pm.
Most of the bars are situated on Deanesgate a strip of a round 10 to 15 bars allowing a great choice in ambiance and style to suit anyone’s mood. You’ll find that most people will do a bar crawl, this is travelling from one bar to another enjoying a drink or two in each establishment.
Dress Code: Smart Casual and no jeans allowed.
Saturday night is party night!! Well maybe not party night but its a great night out, for all up and coming "rockers" if thats the right word. You can get up and play but not karoake fashion, gets rather packed so be warned, you could spill your drink! Also renouned to be haunted so watch out for the spirits aswell.
Dress Code: N/A
This is Bolton's largest cinema complex - it's a 15 screen multiplex which includes two "premier screens" (where there is a bar and refreshements served at your seat - at least it used to be this way, I've a feeling it has changed lately).
We saw the blockbuster "X-Men 2" here - an excellent film!
Dress Code: Clothing is advisable.
Fascinating Victorian decor on the exterior of this pub - once bigger than it is now (in fact it was once a hotel) part of it is now taken over by the shops next door. Former favourite haunt of Radio 1 "ladette" Sara Cox.
Dress Code: Casual
Probably Bolton's oldest pub - it proudly proclaims that it was "rebuilt in 1636", way before even Richie was born. It dates originally from about 1251. As part of it's history, a famous earl of the time The Earl Of Derby spent his last hours here before his execution in 1651. I hope they let him have a free drink!
Dress Code: Casual
A bit of a "formula pub" this is part of a chain that aims itself at a smarter and slightly older crowd - a bit like the All Bar One and HaHa Bar chains. That's not to say everyone in there is a geriatric - by older I just mean 20+, so I was still able to go in - only just though ;-)
Inside is friendly and relaxed, they serve coffees & teas as well as the usual bar drinks, the food menu is interesting and inexpensive and there are newspapers to read.
Dress Code: Casual
If you enjoy Rock n Roll Tonge Ward is the place to be on a Tuesday night, cheap entrance and cheap bar prices. Very good atmosphere.
Dress Code: Crepes and drapes if you have them but not essential!!!!