My crawls always need to start with a good feed. Happily, this place on Oxford Road (there’s also an excellent Piccadilly one) is one of the best for that in Manchester. On arrival I quickly located Martin and Christine before heading to the bar.
As I was procrastinating over this excellent selection – finding it impossible to choose one – the barkeep pointed out that flights were available. Ah excellent stuff! But it was still hard to limit my selection to three.
I eventually opted for the Bundobar Black Lager, Chaitro Nitro Chai Porter and Dhania Pilsner.
It was lovely to catch up with Martin and Christine, who had recently returned from their Balkan adventures, which you can read about here.
Meanwhile it was time to get the scran ordered. I used to do this via a QR code but it seemed tonight they wanted us up at the bar so back I trotted to order these.
Martin enquired as to my expectations for the evening. I said I didn’t have any really and was happy to be led by him; all I wanted to do really was eat (tick!) and go to Matt’s book launch. We had discussed potentially going to a couple of new places to Manchester: Victoria Tap and North Westward Ho. But we didn’t, so you’ll have to either go yourself, wait or read Chris’s blog here. And I had completely forgotten that the two new GBG pubs that I needed to tick were Lower Turks Head and Track Brewery Tap. But I’ll cover all of those another time. Tonight I mentioned to Martin that there was a pub I’d had the urge to visit for ages but never been.
‘Ooh that’s just round the corner. Yes, we’ll go there.’
This pub was recommended to me years ago by Steve Dickie of Leyland & Chorley Seasiders fame. The attraction is that it is a converted public toilet.
I fell in love with the place instantly. I love cellar bars – they transport me back to Poland, where I frequented many such bars (mmm Zubrowka and apple juice…). I love dimly lit bars. And there were good tunes in here too.
But what to drink?
This is the kind of place I could happily settle in all night. And it’s also the kind of place that reminds me why it’s important to step outside of the Good Beer Guide because pubs aren’t all about cask ale.
But we had to leave because we had Matt’s book launch to get to…
I’d been here previously in Mission #2, when I got confused by a sparkler or something. I was soon reminded that the beer board here is notoriously tricky to photograph.
I went for a half of 8 because it sounded tasty (if that’s possible?) and a half of 10 because it looked like our man of the night had had a hand in brewing it.
This place was rammed with a veritable Who’s Who of the Manchester (and beyond) beer scene. I recognised faces from Wigan Beer Festival, Stockport & South Manchester CAMRA and ROB (Rochdale, Oldham & Bury) CAMRA. Lots of people were very excited to see Martin. There was Fried Coleslaw from Twitter, who tried to encourage us along to the new bars we had planned on visiting but changed our minds because we didn’t want a late one.
Matt stood on a table and rang a bell, bringing the bustling pub to an immediate silence. Wow that was impressive. He announced that there were only 15 copies of his book left. These were quickly snapped up by eager punters.
I completely forgot to take a photo of Matt signing his books. I had pre-ordered mine from the CAMRA book shop (click here to buy your copy) and it hadn’t arrived yet so I couldn’t get it signed. Matt said he’d happily meet me for a beer another time and sign my copy and I think I responded with something about him looking ten years younger in real life than he does on photos but to be honest the beer was quite strong so things start to get a bit hazy from here. Martin and Christine (and their son Matthew who had joined us) made their exit, leaving me with Mr & Mrs Tandleman.
Oh hang on, there’s photos…
My copy of Matt’s book has since arrived and I am in love with it already. So many pubs to visit! I wasn’t sure where to start on my post-GBG Manchester exploration, now I’ll never run out of Manchester pubs to visit.
Unfortunately my train home on this occasion was cancelled. Pub, then…?
I’m entirely reliant on photos for memories of this one so enjoy those and please excuse the lack of commentary (see Mission #1 if you want more deets).
Got the next train fine, probs listened to music on the train, no point trying to read or write after a few beers, what else is there to do? Got home safe. Good training sesh for Friday’s all dayer in Donny…
Next Up: Doncaster Pubs.