Manchester Tap – Let Us Speculate

Apart from being a beer geek I’m a bit of a history/building geek too, yes especially the history of pubs, closed ones, demolished ones, new ones, etc

I get the train every day into work in Manchester, arriving at Manchester Victoria.

Manchester Victoria was, back in 2010, labelled the worst station in the UK.  Not having much experience of other major city stations I didn’t have much to go on other than it was a dank, horrible and poorly lit place where it actually rained inside, the roof being so dilapidated.

Then it got a bit of money and coupled with the expansion of the Manchester Metrolink (tram system, fondly called MetroStink) and the 2nd City Crossing, work was underway to overhaul the station, including a beautiful new roof.

There is a thread on the SkyScraperCity forum that as of writing has 186 pages of the history and the current ongoing work.  Some of the buildings are listed and are undergoing renovation.

So when Greater Manchester Ale News went a bit wobbly at the news that a “Tap” outlet was coming to Manchester, this instantly got many wondering where it would be located.

All we have so far is a “coming soon” Manchester Tap website and a Twitter feed of 3 tweets.  The anticipation is palpable.

For my sins I’ve only been to the Leeds and Euston Taps (including the cider one at Euston).  Both of these are located outside of the station.

My understanding is that the ones at Harrogate, York and Sheffield are actually within the station.

So the question is, which of the 4 Manchester stations will get this Tap?

Deansgate and Oxford Road seem to have already been written off; though a Deansgate Tap would fit in well with the surrounding Castlefield area (though should be wary of Satan’s arse crack that is the Locks) and an Oxford Road Tap fits moulds into the so-called “Manchester Corridor” redevelopment and the general student clientele.

But you really can’t look past Manchester Piccadilly and the aforementioned Victoria stations.

The Victoria area is going through a major upheaval as noted above, plus you have the pub/bar haven that is the Northern Quarter located a stones throw from the station.  Though to be fair the NQ does more-or-less link Victoria with Piccadilly.

Victoria, also in the process of electrification, also links up (as does Piccadilly) with Liverpool and Yorkshire and also the overly hyped, unnecessarily busy and largely abused TransPennine Ale Trail.

Plus there is always the East Lancs Railway.

Piccadilly is the major hub – the proposed HS2 route would go in and out (even if it is a typical London-centric Westminster con-job).  Virgin trains services operate from this station, so the idea of going from the Euston Tap to Piccadilly Tap in 2 hours is quite fitting.  In fact you could probably end up doing a “Tap” crawl, if UK train fares weren’t such a rip-off.

But Piccadilly is more modern, a bit too busy and a bit too sterile.

Victoria has the history and the, well, Victorian surroundings that seems to place it at the top of the pile of being in-line with other “Tap” venues.

I’m biased, I’ll be happy wherever it is in Manchester.

Though after all this, it may end up at Stockport Station.


4 thoughts on “Manchester Tap – Let Us Speculate

  1. I’ve been wondering about this myself, there’s a few things that have made it harder to figure it out.

    Firstly, there’s no planning applications in. So unless they’re looking to do it, and then apply retrospectively then there’s not much change planned for the building, including exterior illuminated signs, changes to windows, etc, etc. Which leads me to think that it will be inside one of the stations.

    The licence application is due up in about two and a half weeks, so they’ve obviously already bought the place and sealed the deal. And licence applications take a few weeks to go through, meaning it’ll be late October/early November that it’s due to open. Which also happens to be the time that Victoria is due to start reopening.

    There’s a lot of work going on on Station Approach at Piccadilly, and there are the bars inside there. But the other Taps I’ve been into have really played on the style of the buildings they’re in, and Piccadilly doesn’t fit that style. Victoria does.

    So I think my money would be on Victoria.

    It’s ideally suited being just away from the stage/hen party mecca that is Printworks, and the trendy/trending area that is the Northern Quarter. So it wouldn’t be in direct competition with any of these, but would be complimenting them.

    • When I think of Victoria one naturally thinks it should be at what is currently the Pumpkin Cafe, with its ornate roof, within the station. However you have the small, former barbers building over the road. The old Post Office, which is part of the NOMA project I think, and would need a lot of work regardless, but the one that I completely forgot about it the former MACE store on the corner, which seems to be quite a large unit.

      Unless they retro fit everything, but as you point out the licence is due up in a few weeks – I assume you’ve book-marked the pages in order to gain a opening night tab?

      • I’m hoping to have my beer being sold on the opening night ;¬) One can dream.

        The old Post Office needs a *lot* of work, and the NOMA project keeps stalling, so I don’t think it’d be them. The Mace store is a possibility, but as you say would need a lot of retrofitting.

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