The English city of Manchester sits about 200mi (320km) northwest of London, and is home to red-bricked buildings, a bustling city center, the Premier League football clubs Manchester United and Manchester City, and the ever-quarreling brothers of rock band Oasis. However, Manchester is also known for its northern hospitality, and where better to experience this than in a local pub? We’ve rounded up just a few of the pubs that this historic city has to offer.
Appearing seemingly out of nowhere along the curve of Great Bridgewater Street in central Manchester, The Peveril of the Peak is a deeply beloved time-warp. The building dates back to the early 19th century and has remained virtually untouched, with its distinctive jade-green exterior clashing wonderfully against the comparatively grey, modernized cityscape surrounding it.
As well as being known for serving great pints of Guinness, it is also home to Nancy, one of the oldest and longest-serving landladies in the UK. Now in her mid-90s, Nancy has been running the Pev since 1971, and is something of a local legend. It’s the Pev’s character and refusal to change that makes it so popular with visitors, and one of the most authentic pubs in Manchester.
The Stones Roses frontman Ian Brown once quipped, “Manchester has everything except a beach”. For the residents living in this hipster suburb in the southwest of the city, The Beech Inn might offer a solution. Always busy – and usually with some form of sport being shown, making it perfect for football fans – The Beech is warm and inviting, and perfect to drop into while wandering this increasingly popular area. It’s no frills, but it’s this unostentatious atmosphere that makes it so popular with sports fans; this, combined with surprisingly nice pizzas (the Buffalo Blue is a personal favorite), and a large outdoor sun-trap area, means it’s not uncommon to accidentally stay until last orders.
Close enough to Manchester Metropolitan University to entice the students with the promise of affordable lager and pool tables, but with a large, heated garden to house the local football fans, The Courtyard appeals to more than just those studying; anyone looking for affordable beer and a lively atmosphere is welcome here.
During sports events you can expect to see the place packed, with its £8 pitchers of beer practically flying from the bar, and a barbecue sparked on extra special occasions (don’t come here for food on a normal day – you’ll go hungry). Open until 1am most evenings, its cheap, cheerful, and down to earth – and very easy to spend your whole night here.
If you’re keen for a history lesson with your pint, The Gas Lamp just off Spinningfields is the perfect, albeit slightly secluded, spot to drop into. Open as a pub since 2010 and hidden away down some inconspicuous steps on Bridge Street, the Victorian space used to serve as a mission’s kitchen for street children and the homeless. Now a cozy drinking den specializing in fabulous craft beer, its rich history is preserved in photographs and artefacts adorning its walls – it even displays an oven similar to that used in the space’s original function.
You can take a seat in the main bar area, or if you’re looking for somewhere quieter (it can get busy during evenings and weekends), you can take a wander through its tiled interior into the back parlor. Immensely popular with the locals, The Gas Lamp is not one to miss.
Although less of a pub and more of a bar, Big Hands is known across the city as a bohemian staple in its iconic music scene. Its well-missed late owner, Scott Alexander, was not only good friends with Elbow’s Guy Garvey, but also the lead singer of his own band, Indigo Jones, and from the moment you enter it’s clear he made this a music haven.
Inside you’ll find candlelit tables, scarlet walls smothered from floor to ceiling with gig posters and stickers from around the world, and a fabulous music playlist. Located just outside the student district of Fallowfield, and nearby to the Manchester Academies at the Student Union, it’s not unusual for playing artists to be spotted here after a gig. A rooftop terrace is what makes Big Hands a cut above the rest, and on a warm summer evening you can sit and view the city skyline with a cool beer or cocktail – perfect.
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