Situated inside Memorial Hall, a stunning, Grade II-listed Venetian Gothic Revival masterpiece that first opened in 1866, built to mark the bicentenary of the Act of Uniformity, The Fountain House pub looks great from the outside. It also occupies one of the most enviable positions in central Manchester, fitting perfectly within historic and ornate Albert Square, which among other things is also home to a beautiful Victorian-era fountain (hence the name here) and the city’s jaw-dropping Town Hall.
Inside, things are equally pleasing, with guests seemingly transported to a local village pub once through the door, albeit with a subtle focus on chic sophistication in keeping with the location. Ranked in The Good Pub Guide as one of the UK’s 100 best gastro pubs, this gives an idea of the quality coming out of the kitchen. Sunday roast dinners are a big reason for the accolade, although food throughout the week reflects a commitment to using excellent fresh and often locally sourced ingredients to create contemporary takes on traditional British fare, with a full a la carte, brunch, and kids menu on offer.
In terms of specific dishes, seared scallops, back pudding hash brown, potted beef with bone marrow and prawn and lobster cocktail are indicative of the small plates. Meanwhile, larger courses at The Fountain House range from crab bisque linguini and roast squash gnocchi to Côte de Boeuf and the statement 16oz t-bone steak. Little ones won’t be wanting for innovation either, with turkey teriyaki meatballs and slow roast tomato and basil linguini marking this spot out as anything but by numbers. A large selection of craft and premium beers are available on draft and by the bottle, and this place also prides itself on an impressive wine list to go with the grub. An upper floor is available to hire for private dining and events, including wedding receptions.