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
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.
Featured image: Pixabay
From musician to Manchester’s world-famous physicist | Brian Cox – Manc of the Month September 2022
You could see his distinct and unshakeable smile from space and recognise that softly-spoken voice anywhere. September’s Manc of the Month is none of other than Oldham’s very own Brian Cox.
The world-renowned physicist is the proud holder of an MBE and an acclaimed member of the Royal Society Fellowship whose fascinating but accessible work in science and particle physics, specifically, has seen him become a beloved TV personality and pop-culture icon.
Brian Cox: the physicist and celebrity astronomer
He’s been a familiar face on our TV screens for over a decade now. From Wonders of the Universe and Wonders of Life to Forces of Nature, Stargazing Live and more, Brian Cox has helped bring the world of science to millions watching at home.
His TV appearances aren’t just limited to documentaries though. He’s been on everything from late-night talk shows and Dr Who to becoming one of the very few Brits to appear on the controversial Joe Rogan’s podcast. He truly is the Carl Sagan of the 21st century.
The 54-year-old might share his name with another familiar TV face, but there’s no mistaking his quiet yet captivating ruminations for anyone else. Have you ever ever heard him explain time?
Speaking of podcasts, his award-winning show, The Infinite Monkey Cage Podcast – co-hosted by comedian Robin Ince – is now into its 24th series and has become one of the most successful audio series not just in the UK but on podcast platforms across the globe.
The informative but entertaining concept has become a live show and has featured special guests such as astronomy colleague Neil deGrasse Tyson, Sarah Pascoe, Eric Idle and many, many more.
The former musician
Though many people will have seen his face on the box or heard him on the radio in the past decade or so, there are plenty that are still unaware he has been on the airwaves long before he was the science guy.
Yes, that’s right, before he was Britain’s favourite brainbox, Mr Brian Cox was a rather successful musician in not one but two bands throughout the mid to late 80s and well into the 90s.
First came Dare, a rock band formed in his native town of Oldham by former Thin Lizzy keyboardist, Darren Wharton; they went on to record two albums during his time in the band. Look out for the guy in the back.
Beginning his studies shortly after, he then took another run at music fame by joining pop-rock and dance outfit D:Ream in 1993. Having contributed on two albums, the group eventually disbanded in 1997 playing with them until 1997 and he began his journey to becoming an instantly recognisable pop physicist.
Cox had already secured a first in physics from his alma mater back in 1995 and in 1998, not long after leaving the music biz, he got his PhD in High Energy Particle Physics for his work at the Hadron Elektron Ring Anlage (HERA) in Hamburg.
An academic through and through
All that being said, his various entertainment exploits have never stopped him from making a direct impact on the world of academia, as he remains a Professor of Particle Physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester, running courses every year.
During the pandemic, specifically, he also did his part to keep students, kids and those stuck at home in general engaged with his Lockdown Learning and Lecture series. Very cool and very digestible; we might be back to walking free and learning normally but they’re still well worth giving a watch.
Just a year before he was made a lecturer at UoM in 2005, Brian even had the privilege of working on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland (you know, the Big Bang machine), acting as a senior physicist and co-spokesperson for a key research and development project between 2004 and 2009.
He played an important role in the ATLAS experiment which is still running and investigating everything from the Higgs Boson particle discovered in 2012, to dark matter and even alternate dimensions. In case it wasn’t abundantly clear at this point, the bloke is very smart.
It’s not an exaggeration when we say Brian has already done a lot for both UK and global science, especially in helping bring it further into the public eye. But more importantly for us Mancunians, he’s continued to be an active and important presence in the 0161 area.
As well as continuing to lecture hundreds of domestic students at the university that helped launch his career, his international and celebrity appeal draws thousands of applicants from all over the world to the Russell Group institution every year.
Moreover, his ‘Brian Cox: Horizons’ World Tour – which expands on his intellectual, highly entertaining and often comedic lecture format with an immersive audio-visual experience – came to Manchester earlier this week, much to the delight of his fans.
Taking the stage in front of thousands of people at massive arenas like the AO, he and podcast partner Ince dive deeper into astronomy and cosmology in a way that brings you closer to some of the most mind-boggling concepts in the universe.
Better still, even amidst a world tour, he somehow managed to find the time to speak to global news outlets on the biggest news in science, such as the stunning new images captured by the James Webb Space Telescope.
He is a jack of all trades, absolutely everywhere and best of all, he’s been helping put smart Mancs on the map for years now.
It may be long overdue but Brian Cox, you are our Manc of the Month.
Siam Smiles, the authentic Thai cafe on a Manchester backstreet
When Siam Smiles was still a little cafe in a Chinatown supermarket it received serious rave reviews. Since moving up to Deansgate Mews, however, it seems to have been forgotten about a little.
Most famously described as “the most exciting thing to happen since the days of the Hacienda” by Marina O’Loughlin in a 2014 review for The Guardian, owner May also made headlines for teaching herself to cook on Youtube after her chef left the business one month after opening.
National critics, like O’Loughin and others, were seemingly drawn in by the cafe’s novelty – not one review missed the opportunity to mention the supermarket, or tell you how the ingredients in the dishes were often the same as the ones on the shelves.
But since it has moved over to The Mews, an oft-forgotten back street within the Great Northern Warehouse complex, the reviews have gone suspiciously quiet – so we thought we’d pop in to see if it’s all still up to scratch.
Spoiler alert, it definitely is.
Two years after that rave review from O’Loughlin, rising bills forced the cafe to close – but with a little help, May reopened in 2016 at the Great Northern Warehouse. It’s here that you’ll still find her cooking up a storm today.
With bills firmly on the rise once again, we thought we’d pop in to shine a light on this longstanding Mancunian gem and are happy to report her food hasn’t faltered one iota.
We went for stir fried chicken Pad Ka Paow with jasmine rice and a fried egg, and a steaming bowl of KuiiTiwe Moo Nam Tok with fresh egg noodles and roasted duck breast, with two glasses of Singha on the side.
We also couldn’t help but opt for a hearty portion of green papaya salad with dried shrimps, a dish that’s hard to find but something of a speciality here, as well as a second glass noodle salad with plump prawns and minced pork.
The dressings, always made by May herself, completely hit the spot with their balance of hot, sour, salty and sweet.
We strongly recommend you pop in and show Siam Smiles some love. It’s not all just about the shiny new restaurants, after all. We need to treasure the veterans too – and this is one we need to protect at all costs.
Find the cafe on Deansgate Mews Unit G Upper Level ,Great Northern, 253, Deansgate, Manchester M3 4EN.