At last, the boozers are open. Even better, we can finally sit inside them.
Hopefully, this means no more battling it out against the elements with our anoraks and brollies – although those scenes did make us very proud of our fellow Mancs’ commitment to their locals.
Still, if you’re planning a big one it can soon add up price-wise. Especially if you’re paying over a fiver per pint, which has pretty much become the norm for anywhere selling craft beer in the city centre.
Suffice to say, after a year of not really going out and just over a month back at it, we’ve all been feeling a bit skint.
But there is some great value beer out there for the drinking – if you know where to look.
We asked, and you delivered. If you know of any more, let us know @themanc and we’ll add them in here.
Sinclair’s Oyster Bar, Shambles Square
The most suggested pub on the list by a mile, this black and white Samuel Smiths boozer off Shambles Square is one of Manchester’s most iconic. Famously moved after the 1996 IRA bomb to its current spot just a few yards down, it wins hands down on both value and aesthetic. Note to tourists, they don’t actually sell oysters here.
2 pints at £2.20. Dark mild and Alpine lager.
The Courtyard, Chester Street
The cost of Carling at this popular student bar has increased by a whopping 5 pence a pint since the start of the pandemic whilst other spots in town have put theirs up by several pounds. It’s also huge, with plenty of tables inside as well as in its namesake courtyard.
Hare & Hounds, Shudehill
With completely intact interiors dating back to 1925, this pretty pub is considered to be of some historic national importance. Popular with Manchester’s mature drinkers and sports fans, it’s got regular entertainment on here and pre-covid was quite well known for its karaoke.
Two pints at £2.70, Holt Bitter and Mild.
The City Pub, Oldham Street
This grade II-listed one-room pub at the top end of the Northern Quarter is full of characters in the day but typically quieter in the evening. For a time you could find some good real ale here, but it left the CAMRA fold in 2018 due to falling sales and now is very much keg over cask.
Joseph Holt Smooth £2.00, Boddingtons £2.10 (on happy hour, prices increase by 50p after 6pm).
Abel Heywood, Northern Quarter
This bar and boutique hotel is named after a former mayor of Manchester, as is, coincidentally, the town hall clock ‘Great Abel’ which can often be heard chiming across the city centre. Close to the Arndale, it’s a good, quiet place to head for a cold one when you’ve had enough of shopping.
£3.45 Hydes Original Bitter.
Seven Oaks, Chinatown
Located just off Mosley Street, this classic pub is a favourite of city centre locals, bored shoppers and off-duty bartenders alike. It also runs a ‘husband creche’ on the weekend.
Seven Oaks ale, £2.50
Trof, Northern Quarter
One of the Northern Quarter originals, due to its slightly hidden location in the midst of many new bars and restaurants, Trof is shamefully easy to forget about nowadays. At £3.50 a pint for its house lager it’s definitely stretching the boundaries of ‘cheap’ but deserves a shoutout nonetheless – much like its brilliant roast dinners.
Trof Lager £3.50 (on happy hour 4pm – 8pm, Monday-Friday).
Brickhouse Social NWS, New Wakefield Street
This New York-themed diner and bar boasts a pool room, roof terrace and ‘day of the dead’ themed basement club. Find it just off Oxford Road.
BH Lager, £2.50
And a few pubs further out of town
The Footage, Oxford Road
Formerly known as the Grosvenor Picture Palace, this student haunt still retains many of the charms from its cinematic heyday. At £3.45 for Carling, it’s pushing the boundaries of what we can really consider cheap, but their craft beers can be bought for £3 during happy hours with a choice of Punk IPA and 4-5 rotating guest beers.
£3 craft beers (on happy hour, Tuesdays and Thursdays).
The Friendship Inn, Fallowfield
Another great student drinking spot, The Friendship’s got a great sun trap beer garden with seating that goes all the way around the pub. Indoors, there’s plenty of big screens to catch the football on, too.
Holston Pilsner £2.10 (on happy hour, 12-6 Monday to Friday)
The Victoria, Withington
This cosy little Victorian boozer in Withington mixes students and locals quite happily, with a big screen for sports and a popular pool table inside. There’s a good weekly quiz here on Thursdays and live Motown nights on the first Saturday of the month, plus a nice little beer garden out back that catches the sun in the afternoon.
The Red Lion, Withington
Another very decent Withington pub, this one’s set just off Wilmslow road heading towards The Christie. Spacious inside and out with some cute little nooks and crannies, it boasts a large terrace area overlooking the bowling green and some decent pub grub.
2 pints at £3.05. Manchester Pale Ale and and Dark.
The Blue Bell Inn, Levenshulme
A very smart Samuel Smith’s pub, The Blue Bell Inn was fully refurbished to a high standard around 2006. Spacious inside with a large garden to the rear, it’s at the heart of the community with a variety of groups using the pub to raise funds for local improvement projects. There’s even a knitting club.
2 pints at £2.20. Dark Mild and Alpine lager.
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