Manchester City Centre Centric

The second piece of my “Shitting on my Doorstep” trilogy.

Part 1 here

Recently and more frequently I’ve been asking myself; “if it wasn’t that I worked in the centre of Manchester, or more accurately travelled into and out of the city centre, would I actually drink there so regularly?”

The benefit of getting public transport into work isn’t that whole “cheaper, better for the environment, healthier” argument as, especially when it comes to the former and the latter, I don’t have to drive I can have a few drinks after work (or even during, the much maligned dinner/lunch-time pint).

But after I wrote this piece for Manchester Beer Week (an event I fully support and will promote heartily) I started the self-questioning.

It also kind of married up with the Allgates Bus Tour (old reviews here (2013) and here (2014)) which was held on the Easter weekend just as every brewery in and around Manchester opened their taps and there were beer launches galore.

Another tie-in is that the Guided Busway has now opened.  This white elephant transport solution is said to decrease public transport travel times between Leigh and Manchester (via Atherton and Tyldesley) courtesy spanking new buses.  It may work, it may not.  What has definitely happened though is that many previous bus services, especially night services to places such as Wigan, Swinton, Bolton, Walkden, Atherton, Tyldesley and Leigh, have been cut.

Meaning you will have to be out of Manchester by midnight, or face a very expensive taxi ride.

Or, as discussed with friends, just drink through until the first bus service leaves at 5am.

So a mixture of travel nonsense and localism (and maybe even nimbyism) has made me reconsider drinking in the centre of Manchester.  Well that and a twitter discussion I had over the weekend.

Upon the launch of one of a plethora of double IPA’s (DIPA) I noted that the price of a cask pint of one 8% DIPA was being quoted at £4.  Surprisingly cheap, both for Manchester and the strength of the beer but unsurprising given the pub that was serving it.  After further discussion it was found to also be on cask for £4.40 a pint – again not something I personally would feel aggrieved paying.  But the kicker came when I mentioned I’d seen exactly the same drink, on cask, not more than 15 minutes walk away from either of the previous locations, for £6 a pint.

All 3 places would be locations I would recommend a visit to should anyone ask me where were the best places to go to drink in Manchester are.  I probably still will but now maybe with caveats.

I’m not naive enough to not credit the business mind that makes as much money as they can off what is ostensibly, a captive market.  Nor am I going to suggest that “small town” prices are a panacea of equality, but with everything that has gone on over the passed few weeks it seems I’m regressing back into my more local drinking enclaves.

Manchester city centre is expanding and growing rapidly; 27 restaurants and bars are set to open in 2016 alone.  But just how many of these are up and coming local businesses?  I’m beginning to wonder if Manchester is increasingly losing any individuality and identity it used to have, especially when the news of new builds seems to come at the expense of our local heritage.

It is now possible that Manchester becomes a place I will rarely visit and I may well treat and regard much like the place it appears to be trying to turn into, London.


Thanks for reading.


10 thoughts on “Manchester City Centre Centric

  1. Ah, the night buses. How can the city claim to compare with all those “cities that never stop” around the world when you have to worry about the time all nihgt in case you’re abandoned there when the various trams/buses now stop before midnight. And when they first did that they made no effort to inform or replace the times on the bus stops. I was left wandering around not knowing what was going on.

  2. It’s interesting reading about Manc from (almost) locals, as a plastic tourist who visits a couple of times a month, stays over and worships the place (and rates Stockport higher).

    I have the same issue with Cambridge, my town, which I regularly slag off as a poor relation of Manc (as well as being flat). Walking round Ancoats on Saturday, I was amazed by the vibrancy of the city, and it never occurs to me to lack individuality. Mind, I went in the Smithfield and This’n’That, it’s a big place.

    Good read, nonetheless.

    • I do like Stockport but everything seems to be spread out too…and up hills. I’ll always like Manchester, its just all a bit samey sometimes and obviously being a city the kind of “community” vibe is very different. I feel comfortable drinking there, I just don’t like how things are headed, food & drink wise and heritage/progress wise. Hopefully Part 3 will tie things together. Thanks for the comments.

      • Hills are an essential part of my pub visits. Hopefully in time Manchester will find a solution to its own lack of hills, or else Boggart Hole Clough will become the outer extremity of the Northern Quarter drinking circuit.

        I think I know where you’re coming from.

  3. “…….at the expense of local heritage…..”

    Couldn’t agree more. What Manchester DOESN’T need is a whole bunch of new bars, that look the same, cater to the same clientele, serving (essentially) the same product.

    Bravo sir.

    • And all I see is that is what is happening. But given that the owners of some highly recommended bars are indeed the same as each is building their own little cookie-cutter empire

      • Have to agree. The MEN raves about a refit at the faceless Neighbourhood, gives masses of column inches to another identikit bar from New World and our city councillors and leaders lap it up and are more than happy to destroy our heritage and character in the process.

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