The ever-regenerating face of Stockport continues to build a new and improved reputation for itself, as one of its local boozers has just been named among National Geographic’s list of 12 ‘perfect’ pubs in the UK — and it’s none other than old The Magnet.
While many of you might be familiar with the likes of the viral Chestergate pub right in the town centre, people not so familiar with the area may never have heard of The Magnet Freehouse before, but it’s actually been sat on Wellington Road since 1840.
Originally built as a coaching inn for people to rest up along the busy stretch of the A6, it eventually went on to become a Wilson’s Brewery, drifting into company pub ownership limbo and was at one point left derelict, before it was ultimately reopened and turned into a multi-beer freehouse in 2009.
Brought back to life by mother and son duo, Lesley and Lee Watts, The Magnet is now considered one of Stockport‘s best and not-so-hidden gems, with more and more punters popping in to see its evolution year on year — so much so that Nat Geo has even paid a fair few visits themselves, as it turns out.
All that being said, for those in the know, this latest piece of recognition won’t come as that big of a surprise whatsoever.
Not only was The Magnet voted the best pub in Stockport by CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale) back in 2011 but the family-run venture also won the same accolade at the Greater Manchester Beer Awards in 2017, as well as numerous other regional nods down the years.
Making a splash within the first 18 months of its resurrection, the pub has been plugging away at locals over time and post-pandemic, especially, it seems the number of regulars and new faces enjoying a tipple at the modern-day Magnet has increased — and so has the buzz around the place.
Take that from an SK native who knows a fair few people who have only recently taken their first steps in place over the past couple of years to see what all the fuss was about.
It also have a lovely outdoor space out back that’s the perfect suntrap in the summer. (Credit: The Magnet via Facebook)
With National Geographic insisting that “if everyone had a neighbourhood local like this, the world would be a better place”, they hail the no-frills watering hole for getting “all the basic things bang-on” and focusing on “crucially, the community”.
Now multi-award winning and offering up 14 different cask ales, 12 ever-changing craft kegs, as well as a wide selection of wine and spirits including craft gins, The Magnet Freehous has come along in the past decade and a half. They even have their own microbrewery and have done since 2014.
As well as live music and comedy nights, they also now boast everything from special events like ‘Cocktails ‘n’ Canvas’ and their hugely popular weekly pizza nights, where stonebaked slices are served up by fellow Stopfordian and artisan market regular, ‘The Pizza Maker’.
Stockport is becoming trendy — that’s just their words, they’re ours too and, at this point, just straight-up fact. There’s a reason it was voted Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture in 2023. Congratulations to The Magnet and whether you’re a local or not, make sure to stop in for a pint next time you’re in the area.
Featured Images — The Magnet Freehouse (via Facebook)
Food & Drink
The Failsworth pizzeria with queues of delivery drivers and mac and cheese pizza
There are a lot of contenders vying for the title of the best pizza in Greater Manchester – but judging by the endless stream of delivery drivers traipsing up to Failsworth, Corner Slice might be up there…
This little pizzeria has carved out a niche for itself serving Detroit-style pizzas, and though some have attempted the same, no one comes close to this quality.
These deep-dish rectangular pizzas are made with a lighter, spongier dough than the sort of chewy Neapolitan you see a lot of these days.
They’re baked in a dish so that the edges crisp up perfectly, and with toppings and cheese spread right to the edges, you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Corner Slice has just raised the bar again with its menu of creative toppings, including – and brace yourself here – mac and cheese pizza.
The Lord Lane local clearly looked at its normal thick-based pizzas and went ‘hmm, no, not enough carb. Add pasta’.
The result is their oozy, gooey mac and cheese pizza called Mr Mac – a béchamel base with macaroni, smoked mozzarella, a cheese blend, and a pesto crumb. Oh lordy.
Corner Slice’s Mr Mac pizza dipped in fermented hot sauceThe cheese pull on that…Pasta on pizza
Other menu highlights include the Red Wing (nduja, jalapeños, pepperoni and hot honey) and Sunrise (Korean BBQ cauliflower, gochujang mayo, kimchi onions and pickled cucumber) – the former leaving you with streaks of bright red chilli honey up your arms, the latter so packed with flavour that you find yourself staring down at your slice in amazement after each bite.
And if you just can’t decide, you can always go half-and-half on your pizza topping.
It’s not just about the pizzas either.
Half-and-half Detroit-style pizza at Corner SliceParmesan waffle fries and buffalo chicken
Corner Slice also has incredible sides, like Korean BBQ popcorn chicken, parmesan waffle fries, and garlic dough rolls with rotating flavours.
There are dips too, made on-site, like the fermented hot sauce that’s probably most closely related to Buffalo sauce (but infinitely more interesting) and BBQ ranch.
The whole time we’re there (which is midday on a Friday) there’s a constant stream of delivery drivers coming to collect orders. The phone never stops ringing.
At one point, they take an order that’s fit to feed an entire American football team.
It looks like the future is bright for Corner Slice. And thank god – we’re already lusting after those crusts.
Corner Slice in FailsworthA spread of pizzas and sides at Corner Slice in Failsworth
Manchester’s massive Irish Festival is back next month with 200 events over 10 days
Manchester’s massive Irish Festival is returning to the city centre next month, and bringing hundreds of events over 10 days along with it.
And when we say massive, we do mean it.
Manchester Irish Festival is the biggest of its kind in the whole of Europe, and it’s known and loved for putting on 10 whole days of Irish revelry in the heart of the city centre every year – with something for everyone of all ages to get involved with.
Taking place from Friday 8 March, right through to St Patrick’s Day on Sunday 17 March, you can expect a jam-packed lineup of events spanning the whole city this year.
Expected to shine a light on the vibrant Irish community here in Manchester, and flood the city with the best celebrations outside of the Emerald Isle itself, this year’s Manchester Irish Festival is will be made up of whopping 200 different events across the city, including a lively pop-up Irish Festival Village, a Limerick competition, and, of course, the return of the legendary Irish Parade.
Manchester’s massive Irish Festival has been confirmed to return next month / Credit: Colin Home (via Supplied)
This year’s Parade on Sunday 10 March will see more than 30 floats, dozens of stunning and colourful Irish dancers and bands, and hundreds of people march through the city centre with pride to showcase the culture, heritage, sounds, and joy of the Manchester Irish community.
Some of the other exciting events on this year’s Festival lineup include a traditional Ceili-Cise dancing class for adults, with everyone of all abilities able to take part and the promise of a “fun and friendly atmosphere”, and a huge 12-hour St Patrick’s Day party at the city’s biggest and best-loved Irish bar, O’Sheas.
If you head on down to the Irish World Heritage Centre, there’s also the chance to learn, network, and attend talks from social historians and more as part of the Irish National Studies Conference.
There’ll be a whopping 200 events happening over 10 days up until St Patrick’s Day / Credit: Kevin Gallagher (via YouTube)
And then, when it comes to the musical offering, Irish sensation Damien Dempsey is stopping off at Manchester Club Academy on Saturday 9 March – right in the middle of the scheduled celebrations – as part of his 2024 UK tour, and the “true master” of Irish music, according to Irish Music Magazine, John McSherry and band will perform songs from their debut album at Band On The Wall on Sunday 17 March.
So, like we said, there is quite literally something to satisfy everyone.