After stuffing our faces at The Red Hot World Buffet, part of our group set off in search of more liquid refreshment. Friday night in Manchester, we needed to find somewhere that would accommodate us all. The nearby, quaintly named , 'Moon Under Water ' suited our needs!
One of the Weatherspoons chain, so, as expected, a good selection of reasonably priced drinks in a large 'characteristic building'..
Well, according to Wikki, this was a former cinema and is considered to be the largest pub in Britain and possibly Europe, measuring 8,800 square feet (820 m2) and has a capacity to hold 1,700 customers!
The name of the pub comes from the essay of the same name by George Orwell, where apparently he described his ideal pub!!!
While not in my Top Ten of ideal pubs ;-) (and Europe's SMALLEST Bar - The Circus, a few miles away, would be hovering by my Top Twenty), The Moon did have some character (and the usual smattering of characters!) Bar service was typical of a busy city centre pub at the weekend, but we soon had our drinks, and managed to find seating for us all.
There is an outside seating/ smoking area, which is a good 'people watching' arena!
I was bemused to see some of the later arrivals flashing passports at the door staff as proof of age.
Toilets were upstairs, which meant that I got chance to peruse the framed portraits lining the walls of the stairs and upper floor. There is another large bar here in a mezzanine area, which appeared to be quieter than downstairs. The toilets were clean, which is unusual for " A City Centre pub on A Friday Night"
Food served daily with Special Offers - check website for opening times and menu etc.
Dress Code: Friday night in Manchester so, a mix of casual to 'High maintenance glamour'
On the Saturday evening, during the 2009 VT Christmas Markets meet, a sizeable group of us went in search of a hostelry that could accommodate us, and we ended up spending an enjoyable time in The Hare and Hounds, which is located in Shudehill, in the Northern Quarter of the city centre.
Grade 11 listed, this pub dates back to around 1800, although the pub had a major refurb in 1925, and many of the internal features such as the wood panelling, brown wall tiling, leaded windows and screens, fireplaces etc date back to this date. Outside, the ceramic tiled facade was added at the same time, This is a great example of architecture from this period between the two World Wars, and is a rarity, especially for a 'City Centre' pub, that it hasn't been altered structurally.
The pub was quite busy when we arrived, and we ended up splitting into smaller groups and either standing or sitting in the different rooms and corridors. The clientèle appeared to be mainly locals and regulars, male and female and over 40's (.some who probably are just a bit younger than the refurbished pub) A Younger crowd pop in for the reasonably priced drinks before heading to the trendier (and pricier) Northern Quarter bars.
There was quite a friendly community feel, and as in other pubs like this, that we've visited in this area of Manchester, the locals are friendly and will chat easily to strangers. This is a place where elderly gentlemen will step back and let you get served first. As per usual there were a few 'characters'. This pub is next door to Rambo's Tattoo Parlour and neighbouring businesses include pawn and porn shops!
After not too long, the word went round, there was seating for us all in one of the back rooms! This was quite a large room, and we were able to spend the rest of the night here, causing confusion for the non- VTers in this room - A group of different accents and languages, taking photos of everything and chatting ten to the dozen!
The bar area opened into this room on one side. The selection of beers is quite limited - Holts Bitter, from Joseph Holts Brewery is the ale of choice here - I'd not heard of this and asked one of the men at the bar who was drinking this brew what it was like, he asked the barman to let me have a taster - yes, not bad!
I was quite happy with my pint, but SueT then decided that we were going to drink wine, which we ended up ordering by the bottle!
Entertainment here is often a sing-song around the piano, Karaoke in the upstairs room. Darts and TV.
A Real pub!
Dress Code: Come as You are!
The Circus is one of my favourite pubs in Manchester, one of the Tetley Heritage Pubs, that is quite quirky, with plenty of characters crammed into the small rooms and corridors.
CAMRA rate it as one of the Top 10 pubs in Britain, due to it's interior, which has remained structuraly unchanged since Victorian times..It is Grade 11 listed. The outside is quite attractive, with its hanging flower baskets.
This building dates back to 1790, when it was a butchers premises. It became a pub in 1840. It gets its name due to it being a favourite drinking hole for the performers from the nearby permanent Chatham Street Circus Hall.
This was built in 1793 by John Ward and George Banks, and mainly featured equestrian acts until 1797.
Mr Handy, a successful circus proprieter from London, saw the potential of investing in this circus - he had the funding and influential contacts, which meant that the cream of circus acts of the time appeared here, making the company quite prosperous. Hardy, Ward and Banks expanded their business, with tours to other areas of the UK, such as Liverpool.
Hardy left the business following a tragic event. Dublin was the intended destination for one of the circus tours, and the performers and equipment etc were to cross the Irish sea by boat. A storm blew up and the boat sunk.
Ward and Banks found themselves struggling once again. The Circus Hall fell into disrepair and was eventually demolished in 1808
Squeezing through the door, the minuscule bar is in the hallway.The friendly and good humoured bar staff tend to offer 'table' service to those lucky enough to have snared a seat in the tiny room at the front or rear of the pub, otherwise, they will bring your order to wherever You've managed to grab a space to stand.
Beer is either John Smiths or Tetley's, lager, cider and soft drinks, spirits are available, 'though obviously the range is limited.
The walls of the room at the front of the pub, and the hallway are covered in framed photos, posters, newspaper cuttings etc of sportsmen and also of celebrities who've visited The Circus over the decades.
At my first visit, a few of us were lucky enough to grab a seat, at other times, we've ended up squashed into a space at the back of the hallway, sometimes it's been too crowded to get through the door.
The pub appears to attract mainly locals, and mainly the over 40's. As I mentioned before, it attracts some 'characters'. However, we've always had a warm welcome - this is the type of place where people will chat with strangers.
At one visit, there was a duel!
Nothing sinister - just live music coming from two areas of the pub - we could hear both, but couldn't see - duelling guitars as opposed to duelling banjos!
Well worth visiting, get there early to grab a seat or prime standing position! Apparently this is popular for a pre match drink with football and rugby supporters.
Mon-Thu 12:00 - 23:00
Fri-Sat 11:00 - 24.00
Not suitable for wheel chair users, due to steps and limited space inside.
Dress Code: Come as you are!
If you don't want the risk of beer being spilled (accidently) on your fine threads, have a re-think about your attire!
. The Bank is a popular bar/ restaurant which is part of the Nicholsons chain, noted for their Real Ales and Traditional dishes, and housed in buildings of character.The Wellington, in The Shambles area of Manchester is also a 'Nicholsons' . More 'upmarket' than Wetherspoons, and therefore a bit more expensive, but reasonably priced and good quality.
Although I haven't eaten here (yet), I've enjoyed my meals at The Wellington.
The Bank is quite impressive from the outside, and you feel as if you are entering somewhere quite special as you enter up the steps, between the ionic columns and through the heavy wood and glass doors.
The building was constructed in a Greek Revival style (the first of its type in Manchester from Runcorn stone in the early 19th Century, by David Bellhouse to the design of Thomas Harrison, and has Grade 11 listed protection. A group of local business men planned the building as a library and newsroom, which was completed in 1806 and named the Portico Library. The Portico library still exists in the upper building.
So why The Bank and not The Library then? Well, The Bank of Athens leased the building in 1921!
The ground floor bar area was originally the Reading Room, and it retains a classic feel, with the marble and stone columns, decorative ceiling and tiled floor. Seating areas of comfy chairs/ sofas arranged around tables, while glass cabinets hold bottles of wine/ bubbly! Traditional styled wallpaper and architectural features remain.
The large dark wooden bar has a good selection of Real Ales, wines and spirits and the staff are professional and knowledgeable about the drinks they serve. The Ales are carefully selected, with an everchanging selection from breweries around the country. Although I enjoy trying new Real Ales, I tend to stick to wine, when I've been here, as I sometimes find they can be quite heavy, and I need to save some room for food!
Dress Code: Mainly smart casual, though our visits have been early evening, when people were calling in for drinks post work, or for a meal. Later on I guess that there will be plenty 'dressed to impress'
Following our meal at the Wellington,during the 2012 Christmas Markets meet, we headed off in search of a pub (preferably a Heritage Pub) that could accommodate our gang of a dozen or so VTers. Well it was third time lucky as security staff at the 2nd pub that didn't have room for us, pointed us in the direction of "The Wheat Sheaf - Just around the corner"
We wondered if we'd been sent in the wrong direction, we appeared to be entering a modernish residential area, but spotted this hostelery - It seemed very quiet from the outside Hmmmm...... Would this be one of those 'No Go' pubs for Strangers????
Well - this was ideal for us - plenty of seating, friendly locals, a good selection of reasonably priced drinks, complete with '70's/disco music and glitter ball'!!
This was quite a Traditional Pub, although it had been opened up into one large room with a bar in the centre. Plenty of original features such as the open cast iron fireplace.
I particularly liked the old photographs of market scenes. According to the website, the pub opened in the 1880's for the staff and customers of the Smithfield Fish Market.
Although you couldn't miss the large pool table, I did miss some more historical photos on the walls nearby - Team photos of Newton Heath FC - who were later to become ..... Manchester Utd!
This felt quite a friendly pub - quite a few of 'the regulars' were curious about our crowd - How we knew each other etc - Yes, besides us Ooop Northers, we had members from Devon, Denmark, Switzerland and Canada! Yes....... try explaining why they've travelled so far just to spend such a short time in this Northern Industrial Town at the end of November!!!
The pub started to fill up later, but wasn't too crowded.
A good selection of draught beers including Guest Ales, lagers, spirits and soft drinks
Besides disco nights the pub offers Talent shows, Singalongs, Quizzes etc.
There is an upright Piano and Dart Board too!
I guess that this is the sort of place that you could also spend a few hours with a newspaper/book.
Would certainly return here again and recommend it as a 'proper pub' not a posers place, nor 'spit and sawdust' either.
Oh, and the ladies toilet was spotless! Always a good sign!!!
Monday - Saturday 12.00 - 24.00
Sunday 12.00 - 22.30
ATM in the pub - Fee charged.
Dress Code: No dress code restrictions seen
Mainly casual - jeans and jumpers/Jeans and tops, the later arrivals were more dressed up - ready to PARTY!!!
The Royal Exchange is a grade II listed Vicitorian building that was designed by the architects, Mills & Murgatroyd, and completed in 1874 at this location. Initially the Royal Exchange was built at a different location. Between 1914 and 1931, an extension was designed and completed by Bradshaw, Gass and Hope and becoming the largest trading room in the country . Initially it was used as a business centre for exchanging goods until 1968 then from 1972 the building was used to house theatre companies. In 1976, The Royal Exchange Theatre Company was established.
The auditorium is housed at three levels in a seven-sided and glass walled capsule which is suspened from the marble pillars in the large former trading room.
The Royal Exchange Theatre offers an exciting and varied programme of plays and events. I highly recommend seeing a play there!
I've seen the following plays:
Macbeth, May 2009
Dr Faustus, October 2010
Private Lives, April 2011
Miss Julie, May 2012
A Doll's House, June 2013
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Home fans only on match days
If you're heading for a match at Old Trafford and you fancy a singsong before getting to the ground, then this is the place for you. Bear in mind that it's best to get in at least 2 hours before kickoff.
Also you'll need to be patient. as there's normally a queue to get in and then there’s the queue to get a pint.
This is a busy, noisy, in your face pub, for maybe the noisy youngsters in your group.
This is a decent enough pub for a drink in town before the match at Old Trafford. Mainly full of home supporters. It gets busy, but not so much that you can't get to the bar.
The taxi to and from Old Trafford will cost you aboput £15 each way.
If you are visiting Old Trafford for a match then this is an excellent bar, opposite the Lowry Theatre, for a pre-match drink.
It's a informal, mainly home fans, mixture although away fans are welcome.
The bar is roughly divided in half between the restaurant and the bar. There is also seating outside, and they also put on a bbq when the weather gets warmer.
There are now plenty of TV screens, inside and outside, giving you the opportunity to keep up to date with all the other sports happening on the day.
It serves up a decent pint of Guinness.
42's is a great night out, fantastic music, quality atmosphere and good people. Never had any trouble here, all the staff and people are so nice! Would reccomend this to everyone and also cheap drinks. all round 10/10!!
Dress Code: Smart casual
The pub is a Nicholsons pub and is one of the most culturally and historically important buildings in Manchester.Originally the 'Portico Library',it was concieved in 1803 by a group of businessmen and built in Runcorn stone and neo-classical design.the Library and newsroom opened 3 years later in 1806 and the Portico Library still survives upstairs.Always a vibrant atmosphere with plenty of good real ales and great home cooked food.
Opening times:mon till Thu:10.00-23.30,Fri till Sat:10.00-00.30,Sun:10.00-23.30
Dress Code: Casual
The pub was originally built as an extension to 'The Old Wellington' next door in 1738 and was called 'John Shaw's Punch House' and funnily enough sold alcoholic punch.
Mr Shaw was landlord of the pub for 58 years until his death at the age of 83.The pub then became known as 'Sinclairs' when they then started to sell Oysters in 1845 hence it became Sinclairs Oyster Bar.In 1996 both Sinclairs and the Old Wellington pub were dismantled and re-built over a period of 2 years and moved 300 metres to a site near the Cathedral and placed at 90 degrees to each other,this was because of the 1996 Terrorist bomb causing substantial damage to the area.Today the pub is still very popular serving a vast aaray of ales and beers at very reasonable prices.
Dress Code: Casual
Browns have converted the 'Athenaeum',formerly one of Manchester's most famous pubs but originally 'Parrs Bank' one of the city's former opulent banking halls.The building was designed by 'Charles Heathcote' in 1902 and is a superb example of Edwardian baroque with some fashionable art nouveau detailing,particularly in the wrought ironwork.Enjoy the sound of great live piano playing whilst dinning in the seperate restaurant or having a drink in the large bar section.The bar is situated in the middle of the hall giving the whole place a spaceful feel.We didnt eat here just had a few drinks but found the prices way to expensive even for a stylish place like this.A pint of Beer and a glass of red wine coming to over £11 is not good even if the place does have a nice atmosphere.
Dress Code: Casual/smart
The Fab cafe is the World's first television and movie themed bar.Opened in 1998 as the ultimate antidote to the mainstream,Fab now operates in both Manchester and Leeds where they continue to be at the heart of the alternative music scene.Daleks and Police box from Doctor Who,spaceships from Star Trek and various other sci-fi memorabilia are dotted around the place giving it a funky movie theme.Drinks prices are reasonable and it seems to be a very popular place.
Opening times:mon till thu-16.30-02.00,fri and sat-16.30-03.00,sun-18.00-00.30
Dress Code: Casual
Fab Cafe is a great place to go for a drink or 3 in Manchester City Centre, Playing some great 80's music it is decorated with comic books and has Models of Thunderbird's and other Sci Fi programs hanging from the ceiling as well as exhibition cases full of great collectors items. there is a Star Wars battle going on above the Bar and a full size Dalek guards the DJ Booth. you can even have your photo taken next to a Cyber man.
There is a space ship[ above you as you walk in that is a bit of a mystery and if you can guess which TV series it was in you get a free round of drinks!
Dress Code: None