It’s the return of our Metrolink Pub Crawl with Line 1, Part 2 and we're starting off in Bury, travelling through the wonderful towns of the North of Greater Manchester and stopping at Shudehill. It's a biggie this one and there's a lot of top boozers on the way.
There was a time when all that was in Bury was a Warner Bros. cinema and a shit-hole called Sol, but times have changed, oh yes. The town have seen a surge of fantastic bars, restaurants and arts over the years – the perfect place to start the crawl…
As the first stop on this crawl it would be a good idea to line your stomach before you start downing pints of Jagermeister and coke. Not only this but Bury has some cracking places that you should check out, just because you’re in the area.
A big favourite is the Arcade Club which if you’re lucky enough to be around when it’s open is jam packed full of old (and new) arcade machines, all playable and mostly all very addictive. Head upstairs, grab a beer and get button bashing to Daley Thompson’s Decathlon.
Another great independent gaff is the Automatic Cafe over in The Met on Market Street – which has an extensive menu of great brunch, lunch and evening dishes as well as more cocktails than George Best in the 60’s.
I’ve also been told to recommend The Clarence which is a proper mint ‘gastro-pub’ type thing and of course – Bury Market. Get some black pudding and eat it on the tram – first stop – Radcliffe.
The New Swan
My mate Ian Bayliss has recently moved to Radcliff with his fiancé and his new sprog and when I asked him what was going on he told me that he lives next to a farm. That was it. I asked if it smelt like shit and he assured me it did. Lovely. Well he’s only just moved here so he’s probably not had much time to check places out yet. Luckily for you there’s a cracking little local pub – the New Swan – within spitting distance of the tram stop. Even though they’ve got a bad bit of font work on the sign, go on in and you’ll find yourself surrounded by friendly faces, loads of laughing and whatever drink you could desire – for proper cheap prices too. If it’s open, pop into Stone’s The Bakers too for a fucking amazing pie.
The New Swan, 141-143 Spring Ln, Radcliffe, Manchester M26 2QX
0871 261 1425
Whitefield to Besses o’ th’ Barn
The next stop on this culinary and refreshment-based tour is the fantastic Whitefield and due to the rather lack lustre offerings near the next stop (Besses o’ th’ Barn) then you’re going to be walking from one stop to the next. It’s a brilliant walk down Bury New Road though – with some terrific joints to pop in to and have a mooch. First of all, I’d recommend One88 – where Head Chef David Gale serves up some proper British grub using fresh, local ingredients. More importantly though they have a brilliant bar area where you can tuck into a small but perfectly formed list of cocktails (or wine if you’re feeling fancy). They also have a great terrace out front which is perfect for a sunny day. Sat on the terrace you might also notice Slattery’s opposite where you can grab yourself a nice cheeky bit of chocolate for some energy. You’ve got a bit more walking to do just yet.
From here it’s around 10 minutes’ walk to Besses o’ th’ Barn stop and on the way you can stop off at the classic Beehive Pub, which could be classified as the most Northern pub you’re likely to find in Manchester and seemingly always has some live music on and plenty of freezing, fizzy lagers to get down your neck.
We’re onto the big boys now – Prestwich with all of its glitz and glamour – making Las Vegas look like Blackpool on a Wednesday night in February. As you’d expect from Greater Manchester’s newest hot-spot there’s loads going on all the time and everyone seems to either be opening up a new high-concept restaurant or a bar that features six hundred types of gin. Step off the tram and you’ll have a wealth of options available to you including classics such as Solita, the Foresters Arms and of course Bargain Booze. There’s also All The Shapes and the fantastic Cuckoo to contend with as well. If you’re looking for a proper decent boozer I’ve always had a soft spot for the Red Lion – a massive Joey Holt pub that is one of the best places ever to sit outside and sink a few pints.
Back on the tram and you’re heading straight towards Heaton Park and its seemingly endless green charm. My step brother once got bit off a snake in here so be extra careful around any of the bushes. Before then though you can stop off at the tram stop and head to the excellent Royal Oak pub for a bit of wet and a proper local pub atmosphere. This place is lovely inside, with a little patio bit as well as a rather impressive beer garden. They take darts very seriously in here too with 3 boards all lined up near the pool table and a ton of trophy’s so if you like throwing some arrows – you’re going to love it here.
The Royal Oak, 23-25 Whittaker Ln, Prestwich, Manchester M25 1HA
From here the tram goes underneath the park, goes all dark and you’ll lose phone reception so if you’re on the phone to Steve Penk on Key 103 – you’re going to get cut off. It’s also worth noting that the next few stops are a bit of a struggle, you’ve had it easy so far…
Bit of a weird one this, because once you get off the tram and start walking up Middleton Road you’re going to come across Cheers Bar which has the same logo as that one off the TV show but unfortunately no Kirsty Alley (when she was fit in the 80’s – not now). What you do get though is a nice, friendly pub with a decent selection of ales and lagers as well as all of your bog-standard classic cocktails. There’s not much else to say about this place – you can’t really go wrong – unless you start singing the theme tune to Cheers or sit on the same bar stool like fat lad Norm getting pissed up for 11 years.
Cheers Bar, 281 Middleton Road, Manchester M8 4LY
Cleveland Hotel & Egerton Inn
Get off at Crumpsall and you’re faced with a choice. There are two Joey Holt pubs which are in opposite directions to each other which you can head to. There’s the Egerton Inn on St Mary’s Hall Road or the closer Cleveland Hotel on Crumpsall Lane. There’s not that much between the two really – they both sell booze, they both have working toilets, they both have weird carpets and like many pubs in the world, they both feature some sort of bar over which someone serves you drinks and dry roasted peanuts. Pick one and enjoy.
Okay so from here until the city centre there’s not much going on. There’s a load of empty space knocking around full of either grass, rubble, kebab shops or houses. That’s why I’m going to whole-heartedly endorse the idea of staying on the tram at Abraham Moss and continuing to the next stop – Queens Road – which is a bit weird but will sort you out just fine.
Irish World Heritage Centre
So yeah, the next stop is Queens Road and there’s pretty much only one place to go around these parts. The Irish World Heritage Centre. Quite what this is doing here is beyond me but it’s a pretty large gaff with loads and loads of stuff going on. As a Heritage Centre there’s plenty of educational events and exhibitions knocking about as well as the usual flashes of sport and live music to keep the rest of us interested. I’ve never tried the food here except the odd packet of crisps but they’ve got a lovely pint of Guinness here (as you’d expect) and everything else Irish in between.
Irish World Heritage Centre
1 Irish Town Way, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 0RY
The Pilcrow Pub
Now that you’re in town you’d expect this one to be easy as pie but you’d be wrong. Dead wrong. Due to the Co-op buying every single building in the area, knocking it down and replacing it with what looks like a spaceship – there’s not much happening down this end of Manchester. In the past I would have recommended the brilliant Ducie Bridge but that’s gone the way of the Dodo so next up is The Pilcrow which is hidden away down the back of the old Police HQ in Cracker in Sadler’s Yard. The gaff is actually a bit of a hidden gem with a packed events calendar, some rather delicious food and a regularly rotating list of cask and keg beers. The bit outside is lovely in a Summer’s evening too.
The Pilcrow Pub, Hanover St, Manchester M60 0AB
There’s no point in you getting back on the tram at Victoria, you might as well walk to Shudehill – it’s only about 3 minutes’ walk away – or judging by how many pints you’ve had so far – 15 minutes’ shuffling, stumbling and faceplanting concrete.
Hare & Hounds
Here we are – the final stop. If you’re still going then I doth my cap to you. By this point I was AWOL which is army talk for fucking blotto’ed but I didn’t need to be there – this last stop is a firm favourite of mine and one of my most special places in the city. The Hare & Hounds is a cracking pub full of proper characters, cheap drinks, ice-cold Strongbow and the occasional singing pensioner. I’m a firm favourite of their Free & Easy day on Saturday where you can take advantage of the free sausage rolls or the karaoke on Sunday where you can get up and sing like a dick head in front of someone you fancy. I love this place – it’s my favourite.
Hare & Hounds, 46 Shudehill, Manchester M4 4AA
0161 832 4737