Food & Drink

The Manchester taprooms serving up the freshest pints in the city centre

Manchester's definitely earned its title as the second best place in the country for craft beer - and we're absolutely spoilt when it comes to choosing a taproom. Words by Alice Gerrard.

The Manc The Manc - 6th April 2024

Manchester knows its way around beer, with some of the world’s best breweries right here in the North West, and we’ve got some serious top taprooms to prove it.

From the tiny spots serving colourful cans of ale to the giants spotted in pubs across the nation, there’s a lot going on.

And if you’re looking to sample some of Manchester’s freshest beer, look no further than the city‘s almost intimidatingly high volume of taprooms.

Each attached to a local independent brewery, you can experience a whole new way of drinking – separate from the city centre bars. In the promised land of taprooms, beer pretty much flows straight out of the tanks into your awaiting pint glass.

The trade-off? Typically, taprooms offer a slightly more industrial setting but still, if you want to drink straight from the source and try the newest brews, there really is nothing better.


The top 10 taprooms in Manchester city centre

Whether you’re a fan of craft ale on tap, lager or a traditional cask hand pump, there’s plenty to discover in Manchester to suit all beer drinkers’ tastes.

Keep reading to discover our top Manchester taproom picks.


1. Track Brewery Taproom. – Unit 14, Piccadilly Trading Estate 

Once the new kid on the block and now a local favourite, Track Brewing Co. is a mainstay on the drink-in indie brewery scene springing up near Piccadilly.

There are more than 20 beers to choose from here, including three lager taps, 17 draught taps, and 3 cask pumps on offer. An integral part of Track’s 10,000 sq ft home on the Piccadilly Trading Estate, the taproom seats 80 people and also has room for a DJ.

2. Cloudwater Brewery Taproom – Unit 9, Piccadilly Trading Estate 

Cloudwater Brewing Co. is one of the most esteemed in Manchester and the UK, having won multiple awards including the second-best brewery in the world. Its cosy taproom in the same complex as Track has over 20 draught taps of their own beer to showcase and you’ll struggle to find a bad one.


There is also a shop selling cans and bottles to take away directly from a walk-in cold store and it’s worth noting that the Sadler’s Cat (formerly known as The Pilcrow) at NOMA has been spreading the good word of the lord through their Cloudwater stock.

3. North Taproom – Circle Square

While not attached to an actual brewery, there’s enough beer flowing at North Brewing Co’s first Manchester bar to keep you occupied.

Saved from closure by Kirkstall founder Steve Holt, the stylish, Scandi-inspired space at North Taproom is kitted out with plywood and plants, with seating for up to 100 punters at a time plus outside space. Then there are 24 draught lines, flanked by glowing fridges filled with cans to take away. 

4. Green Arches – Green Quarter

The team behind this Green Quarter brewery previously worked at Beatnikz Republic – now reborn as Pelican (see below) – under the very same arches and it’s one of our favourite additions to Manchester’s taproom scene.

They’ve created a welcoming space with real New York vibes, with ivy climbing the walls and there’s a great range of flagship ales to nurse your way through.


5. Pelican – Northern Quarter

Speaking of the big bird that’s taken Beatnikz’s place, Pelican is the first and only taproom from Squawk Brewing Co. and while the company itself might have sadly shut down after a decade, their gorgeous little bar will thankfully remain.

Located on the corner of Dale and Tariff Street, this colourful, floral and ornithological little spot serves up incredible independent craft beers, stouts, rubies and more, not to mention deals such as a pint and a pizza slice for £9 as well as a great monthly pub quiz. Give it a try if you haven’t already.

6. The Sureshot Tap – Unit 5, Piccadilly Trading Estate

Next up is The Sureshot Tap from the brewing company of the same name which is always sure to deliver an absolutely lip-smacking tipple. Part of the ‘Beermuda Triangle™’ (very good) alongside Track and Cloudwater, their reputation precedes them and we’re big fans of the Piccadilly space.

With dreamy and juicy pales, perfectly punchy porters and an ever-renewing lineup of other clever creations, they’re genuinely up there with some of the best brewers in the game at the minute.

7. Seven Brothers Beerhouse. – Cutting Room Square

Set up by seven real brothers, the now legendary brewing company’s beerhouse in Ancoats offers amazing craft beer and some seriously good scran. In truth, their main taproom is over in Salford but with an empire now stretching into Kampus, MediaCity, Middlewood Locks and more, you can take your pick.


The menu is updated regularly, with a beer for every season and mood. If you’re not sure what to go for, just ask for a sample and the team will happily oblige. Seven Brothers Brewing Co. is and always will be one of the GOATs.

8. Balance Taproom – Unit 10, Piccadilly Trading Estate

Back over to Sheffield Street and what is effectively the central hive of activity for city centre taproom culture, the Balance Brewing and Blending‘s Taproom is a little less rough and ready than some of its neighbours, not to mention an irresistibly cosy and welcoming little space.

They’ve not been open long but it’s already starting to feel like a community over here – they’ve even started a cycling club recently. Oh yeah, and their carefully curated selection of wide fermentations of beers, sours and ales is stunning.

9. Northern Monk Refectory MCR – Northern Quarter

Our penultimate pull comes from Northern Monk, the popular Leeds brewing company whose Manchester taproom over on Tariff St is another one of our favourites. Thanks for keeping us in the know, The Hoot.

With a brilliant main room with an even better lineup of northern crafts, plenty of outdoor benches for when the sun comes out, a cool cellar bar that’s perfect for private events and a great rotating lineup of food residencies, this place is the complete package in our books.


10. North Westward Ho – City Centre (kind of…)

Consider this 10th and final suggestion a bit of an honourable mention as although it isn’t technically a taproom, it is comfortably one of the best pubs to have opened up in Manchester over recent years and it is from the team behind beloved Manc brewery, Pomona Island.

Delivering a classic and almost old London boozer-like feel, North Westward Ho has quickly become one of the most packed-out post-work pubs and watering holes most weekends. We can’t speak highly enough of it.

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We’ve sadly had to say goodbye to legends like the Alphabet Brewing Company (ABC Taproom was always a great go-to) Wander Beyond, Carbon Smith and others, but we’re glad that the Manc brewing climate at large is still going strong.

It, of course, goes without saying that there are plenty more around Greater Manchester to get stuck into; we’re a region of beer lovers and craft ale connoisseurs, and we look forward to many more breweries establishing their reputation across the ten boroughs and beyond.

Cheers ears!


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Featured Images — The Manc Group