Manchester: 3 and a 1/2 day (travel report)

Finally I managed to book this long desired holiday. I already checked the place section on the website, but maybe you can help me with good, first hand recommendation.

I prefer real ales over craft beer. I can have Cloudwater, Marble and Nothern Monk in Berlin as well. So, can you suggest me some nice, traditional pub with casks and a nice selection of bitter, mild, golden ale?

Where can find the best sunday roast in town?

BTW, I am thinking about making a day trip. I’ve been to Liverpool already, but I would happily go there again. Otherwise? Would you suggest Leeds or Huddersfield?

Food at Marble Arch is cracking. It’s a lovely pub but is Marble tap.
Crown and Kettle has decent food but not a roast I don’t think but good cask beer as does the Smithfield and Port Street beerhouse.

Huddersfield is great. Grove, Sportsman, Magic Rock Tao, Mallinsons Tap, Rat and Ratchet and the Kings Head all great. Good bottle shop close to station too Arcade beers. 6 taps plus rake away.

Liverpool is mentioned in a UK MidWest thread

The Crown and Kettle had the loveliest pork pies.

If you’re after oldschool beers then try some Hydes and Holts pubs (there are two in a row plus a Teltey’s pub if you look at Manchester places). I was looking for some ticks so went to a few of them. Never did tick off Hydes Dark Mild or whatever it’s called.

Thanks! Added to the list :beers:

These are the locations I have noted so far.

Craftbrew (it’s 5 minutes from my hotel and I will visit Media City anyway)
Piccadilly Tap
The Smithfield Market Tavern
The Crown and Kettle
The Knott
The Old Wellington (for a pint under the Cathedral)
The Moon Under Water (checked selection on UT and looks interesting. And they should broadcast football)

57 Thomas Street Marble Beers if time allows

What do you think? This is the map I am preparing. Feel free to suggest some other pub if you feel to (and sightseeing as well): Manchester Map

If you know a nice pub with cask ales and football where I could see Everton- City and/or United-Arsenal, let me know.

For Liverpool everything’s set. I am only unsure if to add Love Lane or not. I will be in the Baltic Triangle anyway for The Black Lodge and the Baltic Fleet, but I am unsure if I should give them a chance.

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I had a similar list but met a mate and we only got so far - damn civilians.

Not the greatest pubs in the city but these are the trio that you could check out for local cask:

When I was heading back to my hotel I thought I’d have one last attempt at ticking off the Hydes mild. They only had two casks on but spent 2 hours just chatting to the landlord:


Hey Rauch,

I think you’ve got a good few days there. Manchester’s a great beer city with ticks galore, and all within walking distance. I can recommend a few additions though.

I don’t know if you are into Manchester’s music scene, but the Hacienda music venue was iconic before it was knocked down and turned into flats. Along the canal behind this on Whitworth Street West is a time-line covering its role in Manchester’s music scene since it opened in 1982. Here’s a link to each section:

You’ve got a cracking line-up of pubs, but I would also add:

Port Street Beer House (one of the first specialist beer pubs in Manchester, not far from Piccadilly Tap, cask and keg)
Cafe Beermoth (equal mix of cask & keg, usually some good rarities)

Can’t comment on Liverpool as havent properly explored the city beer-wise, but it is home to some lovely old Victorian pubs such as the Philharmonic Dining Rooms.

Have a good trip!

Great info all I’m taking notes as well. Heading back to Belfast for work this fall and Manchester is common layover from here so perhaps can get a day of tick on as well.

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Hey Mat! Thanks for the suggestion. I am more into Birmingham’s scene (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest and so on…) but that’s a good place to see anyway. And I just discovered that not only Oasis come from Manchester, but also Joy Division, The Smiths, The Stone Roses… I will for sure visit the Phil in Liverpool. It’s right inbetween the two Cathedrals and I read is one of the most beautiful pubs in Uk, so I need to go there this time. :beers:

About Liverpool, does anybody has an unbiased opinion about The Baltic Fleet? When I was there (in 2011) I was a bit disappointed but wanted to give it a second chance. Reading reviews here and there, seems like they don’t care about customers, the pub is dirty and so on. I am seriously thinking about skipping it this time, even if it’s an historical place.

Good news/bad news on my trip. I am heading to Belfast in November laying over in Manchester. However my boss has booked on us on same flights so no opportunity for me to extend layover this go round. I’ll only have like an 1hr in Manchester airport early in morning. That being said i’ll be right around my 5K rates at that point and desperately want to be at 100 regions before official 5,000 so if any new English County rates available ill bite bullet and drink in front of boss at 7am. So my question any good pubs in Manchester airport open for breakfast beers? Merseyside is closest county I’m missing any easy to obtain brews I can grab? I was at 99 regions back in March and despite drinking plenty in Belfast and Dublin unable to nab that elusive 100. sorry for thread jack

There’s one pub in each terminal:

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The bar at Manchester airport is mainly focussed on Thornbridge, Marble etc… but does have rotating cask from what i remember. You may get lucky with a regional tick but i wouldnt get your hopes up

I will make a proper report when back,but this is something you might find interesting.

It’s raining cats and dogs, but under the tent of the beer festival it’s soooo cozy

First of all, let me thank you all for the nice suggestions. Thanks to you, to the place section, the Camra app Whatpub and UT I had a very nice experience while in MCR.

Day 1: Manchester

Arrived in town around 2 pm on Saturday, while outside was raining hard (with a very strong wind as well), so stopped at the Piccadilly Tap for some ales and a quick snack. Two ales from Adnams available on cask (Ghost Sip and Broadside, plus the Mosaic on tap) so a very good way to start my beery trip! Paired my ales with mushroom arancini.

I enjoyed Adnams, still the best ale had there was Kirkstall Black Band Porter.

After a quick hotel check-in, I was ready to discover Manchester. St.Peter’s Square, the Town Hall, the Hidden Gem, all nice and interesting. On the way to the Cathedral I made a quick stop at the Moon Under Water (JDW): nice place, but ales in bad condition. Just had an half of Saltaire South Island Pale and left.

As the Cathedral was already closed and it started to rain again. I headed to the Old Wellington (Nicholson’s).

What a nice location! 5 or six cask ales available and tasty pub food (loved the cheddar croquettes!). Had two ales from Black Sheep (Venus & Mars and Monty Python’s Flying Circus) plus the Nicholson’s Pale ale and Boss Let The Dragon Roar, one of the few Welsh ales I had.

On the way to the Northern Quarter I found the location that made my stay in MCR special, the Manchester Drink and Food Festival (still on until the 6th of October). Lots of street food (pizza, chinese, fish’n’chips), 50-ish cask ales (most of them gravity dispensed) and live music/dj sets.

Here I tried two of the best ales of my trip: Wily Fox Karma Citra and the Camden Town Camden Ink at Camden’s truck. I do not know how they were before the aquisition, still I found this stout delicious and well made.

To conclude the evening I went to the Crown and Kettle and - following the suggestion of @beardedavenger - I tried the pork pie.On a beery note, they had a delicious Neptune Ezili available (cask). I closed the first day with one of the few “craft” ales of my trip:
Flash House Chocolate Strawberry Marshmallow Stout
, served in dimpled mug.

Day 2 : Liverpool

I’ve been there 8 years ago, but my brother (who was travelling with me) not. So planned a day trip there. Started my pub crawl at Philharmonic (Nicholson’s), probably the most beautiful pub I’ve ever been in… Unfortunately the ales were not in good condition, so just had a half and left.

After a quick visit of the Cathedral , moved to the Grapes, so had a chance to dry my shoes a bit (terrible weather the whole day!). Friendly and knowledgeable publican made my visit a good experience.Nice selection of cask ales. Enjoyed in particular the Brimstage Oyster Catcher. As it was time for lunch, said good bye and went to the nearby Love Lane Brewery - Bar & Kitchen.

As I said in my review, they have the potential to become like Brewdog. Beers are good, so the was the food (sunday roast anyone?). They brew both craft (DDH IPA and Rye Red Ale) under their name and traditional for Higsons (Bitter ale). As addition to their range, they also offer 4 guest casks. Enjoyed a lot the Seven Bro7hers Sling It Out Stout.

After getting completely wet while walking the docks - and a very much needed stop at the Tate to warm and dry a bit), I completed the sightseeing tour at the famous Royal Liver Building. A quick walk in the Cavern Quarter and it was already 5 pm. The train back to MCR was booked for 20:25, so plenty of time to spend at the Ship & Mitre. Again, had a pleasant stay while there. Friendly barmaid and delicious beers.

Tried a good mild ( J.W. Lees True Faith) plus a couple of their Flagship beer (Jar and Vandal).

As it was not time for the train yet and had already six ales there (the remaining ones, especially the “craft” did not sound interesting to me), I checked the selection of The Dispensary and the Roscoes Head on UT, opting for the first one as they had the Titanic First Class. When there, the cask just had been changed and I’ve been suggested the Fernandes Malt Shovel Mild, a delicious mild. Tried also the Oakham Citra.

When back in MCR we wanted to pay a visit to the F&D Festival, but it was closed. They said it should have been opened until 11pm, but there was no-one around because of the heavy rain, so they probably closed earlier. Took the chance to visit the Smithfield Market Tavern (Blackjack). Very nice pub. I should have spent more time there, but it was already 22pm when I arrived. So just 3 ales before going to sleep.

Day 3: Manchester

A bit of sightseeing in the moring (Castlefiled, the Roman ruins) and then straight to the Food and Drink Festival for a nice pizza and several ales. The best of the morning was for sure
Silver Street Ruby Ruby Ruby Ruby

As the weather was nice (some sun at least) spent the early afternoon wandering around the Northern Quarter. After being “scammed” at 57 Thomas Street (“we don’t do halves”, they said… while on the board was clearly written “all beers available in 1/3, 1/2, 2/3 and pint”) I decided to follow again the suggestions of Beardedavenger and had a great time at the Grey Horse Inn (Hydes). Superfriendly bartender, small but well kept selection and cozy atmosphere. I highly recommend this place!

After a quick stop at the Old Monkey (Holts), went back to the Festival. As it started to rain cats and dogs, I really enjoyed my stay under the tent, having a wide choice of real ale.

Six ales after moved to the Pilcrow, which is more on the hipster/craft side of the beer. So enjoyed two cask ales and moved back to The Old Wellington, where I had a Tiny Rebel Clwb Tropicana to close the day.

Day 4 : Manchester

My bro had the flight at 7 am, so spent the day alone. After a quick visit of the Art Museum, visited the Town Hall Tavern, a place I would recommend. Five cask ales available, but in good condition.As it was lunch time, what should I have done? I tried to locate the Microbar in the food court of the Arndale shopping center, without success, so the one and only option was again the F&D Festival!

Just 3 ales (with Beartown Creme Bearlee going straight to my 2019 Top10!) and then looking for Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. UT said it was available at Waldorf, which is 2 minutes walking distance from Piccadilly Tap, so took the chance to try it.

Before taking the train back to Manchester Airport, I made another 90 minutes stop at The Piccadilly Tap, where I had a nice conversation at the bar with a 60-ish years old Londoner. Tried two amazing ales - on tap - like ShinDigger Aliya and Lost And Grounded No Rest For Dancers along with 3 cask ales before leaving.

As you could have seen, I skipped Cloudwater. I wanted to try as many real ales as possible. Nothing against the craft beer scene in Uk, but if I’m going to Franconia I would drink keller, pils, rauch and not a random ipa/apa/cherry stout from a random contract brewer from Nürnberg/Bamberg (even if they rock).

I should have probably trusted my inner instict and skip Marble as well…

In general it was a super experience. 73 new beer ratings, several micro breweries from Greater Manchester discovered thanks to the Festival. Price-wise it has been way cheaper than expected. I found a wealthy scene: each pub had different cask ales available, so pub crawling’s been a must. I tried a lot of golden ales, which is good. Still haven’t understood if I like this style or not.

If you managed to read until here, thank you! Hope this report will be helpful to someone in the future.


Thanks for the update. I’m doing a Manchester United game in January and then beer and cider cider fest.

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Cheers for the report and photo’s, glad you had a good time, even with our rain!


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The more it rained the more I had an excuse to stay in a bar to drink :rofl:


Awesome travel report!

Tempted to write one about my pacific northwest trip (cut and pasting my insta posts)… i will if i get a minute


Please do! :slight_smile:

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