Whims. Funny old things. The older I get, the more likely I am to concede.
There is a tendency – call it laziness – to stick to the tried and tested. The familiar. The places where you know you will get fabulous beer and a warm welcome. A comfort blanket. Something that has been (for want of a better word) a godsend these last 16 months.
But sometimes….. You just want something else.
Thursday evening, on the way home from work, I just had a yen. That impulse. To go for a walk. A beer or two. Follow the Tryanuary spirit, do something I’d not done for a while.
So, with a co-conspirator (Jock) secured, I donned the cans (Bluetooth – not Carling) and caught the 37 into Piccadilly – an area I’d not consciously crawled before…
The Jolly Angler : Ducie Street
From Piccadilly station, walk down the Approach and turn right onto Ducie Street and keep walking – heading right at the eventual fork. There you will find a previously heralded (by me at least) Mancunian gem.
A single room. A single cask conditioned beer. But a whole lot of Mancunian Soul. Something that I find increasingly important as tempus fugit.
I entered in this chilly and slightly windy Manchester evening to the warmth of a blazing real fire. A pint of Hydes Original in hand, I settled down to enjoy the start of an evening of entertaining conversation with Jock (being a boring old toss pot myself, Jock provided the wit).
Hydes Original. I love this beer. A paler shade of Amber reflecting the glow of the fire, an orangey flavour washed around my mouth and all felt right on this “school night”. A sign of a leprechaun above the bar indicating that offensive language wouldn’t be tolerated was a nice touch….
A cluster of obvious regulars at the bar indulging in jovial chat, I could focus on the charm of this place. It isn’t gentrified. It is almost anachronistic – considering the pace of development just yards away. An old fashioned street corner style Mancunian boozer – warm, welcoming, friendly. Just doing the right things.
And doing them so well.
Not enough people wax lyrical about places like this. I now consider that MY job.
Even with the photographs memorialising United legends (with Blue tinges) lining the walls, I still adore this place. Almost the embodiment of the phrase “Use it, don’t lose it”.
Just give the Piccadilly Tap the slopy shoulder. And enjoy something real. And Mancunian.
I took our glasses back. Thanked the barman/landlord. And headed off – although I could happily spend an entire evening in “The Angler”…
Back down Ducie Street, across “Piccadilly” (as the road is actually called) across Aytoun Street and past the magnificent Minshull Street Crown Court onto Richmond Street. At the end of which (Just before the junction with Sackville Street) you’ll find…
The Molly House : Richmond Street
I’ve had some lovely evenings here, but realised that it had been a long while since I’d last been. Way too long in fact.
There is a stripped back charm to this place. Set up over two floors (“The Company Bar” underneath – I’m told – being a separate club venue), upstairs also has a full bar and is where the unisex toilets are located.
Being fond of the odd euphemism myself, the venue is named from an old slang phrase for a brothel, but don’t let that dissuade you from experiencing this lovely place.
I’ve always had good beer in here, tonight was no exception with a new brewer (to me) having two beers on the bar (Rossendale Brewery), two from Howard Town and one from Beartown (a regular outlet).
The Rossendale “Halo Pale” was superb, hoppy and refreshing. And sessionable.
Lots of wood, stripped back floors, a few tables, some window seating, friendly bar staff, a simply MAGNIFICENT selection of spirits and a good reputation for the food (there’s an “open” kitchen in the downstairs room). This is a relaxing place for a beer or three with a very mixed custom reflecting the feel of the place.
And you can’t leave Richmond Street without a shot of the fabulous “Muriel” (sorry Hilda!) that graces the outside wall….
It won’t be so long before my next visit….
Back onto Sackville Street turning right onto Portland Street and across Piccadilly Gardens onto Lever Street. Across Stevenson Square and turn right onto Faraday Street, you will find a little known new place that Tryanuary should draw you to….
The Peer Hat : Faraday Street
The Arch Nemesis brought us here a few weeks ago following a visit to Fairfield Social Club. Tucked away between Lever Street and Newton Street, it was a complete surprise!
A bar cum live music venue (in the basement, something I’m yet to explore), this is a spacious two roomed pub. Friendly, with plenty of seating for old bones like mine!
If you enter from the Little Lever Street entrance, you walk past the mini music shop. If only I had a turntable….
Yes. Nice local music theme here, but it’s the beer… Skirting the Verdant on keg – YOU shouldn’t if you go – Curse Of Mexico by Black Jack hit the R Spot, nice and punchy sharp for a session beer. Just what Dr ordered.
Like this place. It’s Tryanuary, give it a try. Well worth the effort. It just has a Mancunian feel, my kind of place.
To finish off the evening – it WAS a “school night” after all and I was back out at 5:45 – yes, there IS a morning one…..
Back left onto Faraday Street and cross Lever Street (it’s a long walk this….) back onto Faraday Street and look right….
Pie & Ale : The Hive, Lever Street
Technically, Faraday Street – if you’re looking on Lever Street you’ll miss this. And that would be a a shame.
4 separate areas cleverly divided to give different feels, the name is kind of a mission statement. Pie. And ale. And – from personal experience, very good pies indeed.
Other than the fire alarm, a relatively quiet night. It was 10pm when we got here I suppose. Despite its “tucked away” location, this modern bar can get deceptively busy.
With a mix of high tables, diner style setting and bar seats, the bar has a rotating beer range with one reserved for an eminently missable house beer. With beers from the likes of Turning Point, Brightside, Tickety & First Chop (a very – and welcome – Northern line up), that’s easy.
The “Seven Waves” by Brightside maintained the perfect strike rate tonight. Full flavoured, punchy, with a moderate bitterness, it finished off the night (for me at least) perfectly. A lovely beer.
For the more price conscious, Tuesdays look good….
The “points” of tonight were various. To avoid the simple, the easy. Drinking in Manchester can become a magnificent Groundhog Day. Clichéd. If you let it.
I’m as prone to that as anyone. I have my favourites too. And they are very obvious. But there is so much more to Manchester than the classics. And the trendy.
Sometimes, it’s just time for something different.
And it’s Tryanuary.
So do just that. Try something different. Go give a hug and a kiss to somewhere you’ve never been before. Go with a friend (Cheers Jock), treat them, Share the love.
You won’t regret it.
Back soon. J x