B Lounge (The Bridge) 58 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BW. Tel: 0161-834 0242. Formerly the Bridge Street Tavern (once also known as The Pack Horse) was first licensed in 1808. Its original name probably derives from having been used by the drivers of the pack horses from the nearby tannery. An old and traditional pub with original fireplaces, oak panelling and leaded windows. Advertises itself thus “… The Bridge is surely is the blue print for public houses who want to serve food. Soft red velvety lighting, good ale and superb food make this an enchanting place to visit. There is a separate dining area in here offering more tranquility away from the the busy bar area. The Bridge is a relaxing and friendly place to enjoy!
The Circus Tavern
86 Portland Street, Manchester M1 4GX. Tel: 0161-236 5818. Reputedly, this is the smallest pub in Manchester, and has one of the smallest bars in Britain. Small, unsophisticated, little changed since its earliest days. Built around 1790, when Portland Street attracted performers, travelling entertainers and artists due to the nearby Circus at Chatham Street – hence the name of the pub. No food or music. An authentic “old” early 19th century pub, where atmosphere, good ales and conversation are the order of the day.
Mr Thomas’s Chop House 52 Cross Street, Manchester M2 7AR. Tel: 0161-832 2245. Another traditional Manchester Pub, with a most unusual aspect – tall and thin and squeezed into a narrow plot. Exceptionally good examples of English Art Nouveau style in the ceramic cladding on the exterior and the profusion of green tiles inside. Bar food available. Real Ales available, including Timothy Taylor’s, Boddingtons and various guest ales. Lunchtime food is reckoned by many to be the best traditional British food in the city centre. Waiter service to all tables, and an extensive wine list.
White Lion 43 Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4NQ. Tel: 0161-832 7373.
First licensed in 1813, the White Lion is one of Manchester’s oldest pubs. Situated in the heart of the Castlefield Urban Heritage Park, it is a traditional pub of great character with a collection of displayed 19th century photographs and artefacts (most dredged up by the landlord from the nearby canal basin). Located opposite the Museum of Science & Industry in Liverpool Road, offering real ale and live music. Frequent jazz bands. This pub gets very busy at holiday and carnival times. Food available. Real ale available including Timothy Taylor’s, Boddingtons and guest ales such as Phoenix, quite apart from over 30 whiskies and 20 cognacs. Open air jazz sessions when weather allows. Popular with celebrities from nearby Granada Studios.
The Ox Hotel (formerly the Oxnoble) 71 Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester M3 4NQ. Tel: 0161-839 7740. Named after a famous type of potato (the ‘Oxnoble’) popular in Victorian times, but now virtually extinct, when barrow boys, known as Oxnoble men, unloaded potatoes (and other vegetables) from the nearby potato wharf in Castlefield. The pub was a favourite drinking house of these workmen. Reputedly the second oldest licensed pub in Manchester, it is a very traditional English tavern, and though many changes have taken place in it, the original timbers and cast iron pillars can be seen inside. Traditional pub meals and bar snacks are served during the day, and children are welcome – there is a family room showing popular children’s programmes on a giant TV screen. Real ales, guest ales on tap. Monthly entertainment and Blues music by local bands and occasional discos. Popular with boaters from the nearby canal moorings and very busy at Carnival times. Regular art exhibitions with work for sale adorns the walls.
Mother Macs 33 Back Piccadilly, Manchester M1 1HP. Tel: 0161-236 1507. Hidden away behind Piccadilly Plaza and the Piccadilly Hotel is this small pub serving Whitbread ales. Curious atmospheric pub with a long and ancient history.
Rain Bar Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester M1 5JG. Tel: 0161-235 6500. Website: www.rain-bar.co.uk Opened in 1999 and met with instant popularity, as this is a pub with a café upstairs. J. W. Lees beers served. Excellent food on offer with a speciality fish and chips made with beer flavoured batter !! Facing the Rochdale Canal, popular summer haunt for beautiful people.
Hare & Hounds 46 Shudehill, Manchester M4 4AA. Tel: 0161-832 4737. A rather forbidding green tiled exterior belies the warm greeting ambience of the interior of this pub. Tiles, wooden panelling and etched window glass, and the remnants of a once thriving market culture still abound here, even though the market has long since gone. Light snacks and sandwiches available.Has live music from 4.00pm to 7.00pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays when the organ is played (also karaoke Sundays from 5.00pm.)
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