The Beer House – Manchester Victoria Station – Why Bother

Why bother is indeed a statement, I’m not using that disingenious and lazy media thing of sticking a question mark at the end to disguise my own view as an open question.

You could say this is written from the point of view of a beer snob, I prefer to think of myself of someone who likes good beer, in good surroundings at an agreeable price.

I’ve been going through Manchester Victoria Station for the better part of a decade. I do a lot of commuting via the train and what is glaringly obvious is how poorly serviced Victoria actually is for a decent pint.

I’ve documented the comedic chaos that surrounded Manchester’s “Tap” here – suffice to say that compared to Leeds (both), York, Sheffield and Euston the Manchester Piccadilly one isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing surroundings and I’d be more inclined to trek elsewhere for a pint in a nicer (and cheaper) place as BeersManchester has ably documented here.

Stalybridge has its Buffet Bar and Bury (granted the East Lancs Railway) has The Trackside, Manchester’s station/pub set-up is more convoluted.

We have Deansgate, which is a short stroll for Knott Bar and a host of others.  There is Oxford Road, another short stroll to Font Bar, Thirsty Scholar and the hopefully not going to be demolished in the name of progress Salisbury and Grand Central.

A short walk from Victoria you can treat yourself to the joys of the Irish bar to end all Irish bars that is Waxy O’Connor’s. A bit further takes you into the Mecca of shit that is Printworks, which has a Lloyds bar, but also has bouncers on the door from midday – not a place to fill you with a sense of relaxation.

You have to walk a bit further to get to Sinclairs Oyster Bar in order to get your first decent and cost effective drink (it is a Samuel Smiths pub for those not in the know) but I’m reading that they don’t do cask anymore…hhhmmm, still there is Wellington and the Mitre to pass the time in.

Inside Victoria of old – a place hard to describe without pictures other than calling it a giant metal shed filled with diesel fumes that also scarred the interior building work there was Pumpkin Metro Bar (there is still one at Oxford Road).  With the renovations to Victora that have occured (behind schedule, obviously) over the past year Pumpkin has now been replaced by the Beer House.

What should come as no surprise is that both places were/are operated by SSP.

Outside it looks like this…

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Still a bit of refinement but you get the jist.

Inside it looks, well….

The Dome is probably going to be a lovely place to drink under.

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There is a fair bit of space.

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There are kitsch items from “Victorian” times that constrast heavily with the 3 fruit machines.

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I fucking hate pubs that have quotes on their walls.

I also really fucking hate, really fucking pretentious mirrors.

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The cretin that wrote this might wish to trek to the other end of Victoria station and pay attention to Soldiers Gate.  A place where men passed through on their way to the trenches of the First World War, that certainly is “some stuff happens” you absolute fucking dicksplash.

I really hate incorrect and poorly researched maps.

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But most of all £4.80 a pint….

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I’m walking 10 mintues down the road, I’ll pass the Black Lion and the (R)overs Return and pay a visit to Salford Arms.

The Salford Arms is right next to Salford Central Station, if you happen to be coming into Manchester on a pub escapade I recommend you get off here and sample all the pubs of Salford before you trek up Bridge Street and into Manchester.

Plus you also miss the ticket barriers at Victoria, cost effective all round.

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18 thoughts on “The Beer House – Manchester Victoria Station – Why Bother

    • Ashbury’s/Ardwick East Goods out of scale.
      Ashbury’s East Curve missing.
      Ancoats goods branch and station missing.
      Stalybridge branch East Curve missing, and West Junction in wrong place.
      Bury line junction only shown for Red Bank (only used for loco/ECS workings.
      Oldham line confused with Bury line:-
      No Irk Valley connection for Bury.
      No Smedley Viaduct curve.
      Non existent terminus shown on west side of city.
      Deansgate Station shown as a terminus.
      Trafford Park Junctions out of scale.
      Shows a non existent dock.

      Dr. Barry Worthington

      • Unless you were using this wall as a map whilst you were actually driving a train I doubt it’s accuracy really matters.

        Sorry Barry.

      • Looks like it’s a not-too-bad representation of the Railway Clearing House 1910 map to me.

        I’ve seen worse.

  1. SSP have done the same “Beer House” at Glasgow Central. It’s also dire, if not quite as expensive – the Greene King IPA will only set you back £3-ninetysomething there.

  2. Thing is you’re right…but they do mow sell the likes of Jaipur. Which is immeasurably better than the situation before.

    • Its one way of looking at it. Plus I suspect their ‘house’ cask is cheaper.

      But this piece was more about what they’ve done with the place, certain bits of it are tacky. It pains me to say it, but the Starbucks next door seems more in keeping with the building and furnishings it was given.

    • Not at all. It is just written from the POV of a quick pint before the train. I’d recommend getting off a Crescent & taking in all pubs down Chapel Street going into Salford

  3. Brendon and Beyer Peacock,

    If you are paying someone to copy a Railway Clearing House Diagram, you would expect that person to do a proper job. It isn’t rocket science. But, the entire décor at that level is crap. Look, if you can’t (metaphorically) punch a pub designer in the face over this , when can you do it?

    Dr. Barry Worthington

  4. Great blog. I went recently and it is still equally as dire as you describe.

    And you’ve hit the nail on the head as to why it seems so hard to choose where to go for quick pint when passing through Manc.

    Never realised how much I hate quotes on pub walls til I read this either!

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