Whether you’re a born and bred Manc or simply visiting, ‘The Didsbury Dozen’ is an absolute institution of the Manchester drinking scene.
However, the sad reality of going out post-pandemic is that not every watering hole survived and, unfortunately, some of the original Didsbury Dozen didn’t make it through lockdown. Rest in peace, The Stoker’s Arms (now Dockyard), The Sanctuary (now Head of Steam), The Slug and more.
That being said, while we will certainly miss them, they say every ending is a new beginning; as one door shuts, another one opens — and when we say door, we of course mean the door to a pub.
So, without further ado, we decided to formalise The NEW Didsbury Dozen. At least one drink in each, those are the rules. You can argue all you like, this is the definitive list from here on out, so you’ll just have to deal with it.
1. The Didsbury
Where else to start but the beginning? Lucky for us, the consensus has always been that a pub crawl called The Didsbury Dozen should obviously start at The Didsbury. Kicking off the crawl on the curved corner of Wilmslow Road, this traditional pub offers little surprise but signals the start of a great night.
2. Ye Olde Cock Inn
The best part about the opening two pubs on this list is that not only have they remained literal cornerstones of this crawl but they are genuinely spitting distance from each other. As in you just walk five yards. Another ‘olde’ English pub that offers the same as next door plus a ping pong table. Easy.
3. The Famous Crown
Ok, so now you’ve had a couple pints, you’re ready for the short walk down the road as you begin the first mobile part of The Dozen toward The Famous Crown. What’s it famous for? Coming back from the dead with solid beer, a cosy interior and some mint food to line your stomach for the bulk of the boozing.
4. The Royal Oak
Had some pub grub or at least a butty from the Co-op up the road? Good. Sod that ‘eating is cheating’ nonsense, this is a long old night and we don’t need any heroes — you’ll all be heroes at the end. Next up, another non-nonsense boozer: The Royal Oak. Small and cosy; beer, wine and the rest of it. Simple.
5. Fletcher Moss
Now we move on to one of our favourites and arguably one of the best bars in Didsbury, let alone on The Dozen, Fletcher Moss. Just 75 yards off the Village high street and offering up live sports, craft beers, plus the beloved beer garden, this hidden gem is just as pretty in the winter as it is in the summer. Iconic.
6. The Nelson
Back toward the high street now; just on the corner of Barlow Moor Road, you’ll find The Nelson. Yes, named after the Admiral and yes, another no-frills boozer owned by Craft Union Pubs. Often serving up Moorhouse beer as its guest and playing host to the local darts league, it’s everything you’d expect.
7. The Dog and Partridge
Ok, halfway there and we’re definitely into the busy section now: pubs every couple of yards and, before you ask, yes we’re skipping The Botanist (formerly Pitcher & Piano) there’s loads of ’em. We’re moving on to The Dog and Partridge for some classic ale, Pieminister pies, cheese plates and more. Oh yes.
8. The Dockyard (formerly O’Neills, The Stoker’s Arms)
f you’ve been around Spinningfields or Media City in the last decade, you’ll recognise the name The Dockyard and if you’ve been in one, you’ll know you won’t be disappointed. Serving up pizza, burgers, wings, great beer, live sport and a wonderful back patio complete with wooden huts, it’s a winner.
Hopefully, you’ve soaked up the alcohol with some well-earned carbs as we’re now at a crucial juncture where many bow out. Make sure you’ve got all your belongings as we pull into The Station. This popular Irish pub has sport, live music three nights a week and a serious love of Guinness. Say no more.
10. The Woodstock Arms
Still standing? Good, cos we’re entering the final third of this drunken journey and you’ve gotta walk again. The fresh air might do you good. When you do stop you’ll arrive at The Woodstock: a beautiful establishment with lots of room and lots of booze. If anything, it’s too nice for your raucous rabble.
11. The Metropolitan
The penultimate stop on our alcohol-fuelled trip through Didsbury is The Metropolitan, or as it’s commonly known, ‘The Met’. Once a grand Victorian railway hotel, it’s now a massive bar and restaurant plating up banging Sunday Roasts and hangover-curing breakfasts. But you’re on a mission, concentrate.
12. The Railway
You’ve made it. One more drink and you’ve smashed The Didsbury Dozen. Starting in the Village and ending the night in East Dids, head over the road to The Railway, a simple, British, cask ale tavern, much loved by locals. We don’t need to sell it, you’ll love it too — that’s if you can remember it, of course.
Better still, you’re only stumbling distance from Burton Road tram stop. You’re welcome.
This hidden Manchester pasta and dumplings restaurant has just made the Michelin Guide
Michelin has just added some new additions to its guide, and one of our favourite Manchester restaurants has finally made the cut.
Loved by locals for its continental pasta and dumplings, gorgeous European wine list and sake collection, The Sparrows in the Green Quarter is something of a hidden gem – tucked in a disused railway arch on Red Bank.
It received rave reviews from local and national critics alike when it first opened in 2019 in a tiny space with room for just 12 covers. Since then, it’s relocated to a bigger home and its following has grown significantly.
After spending years wowing foodies in the know, the restaurant has made it onto the radar of Michelin’s inspectors at last – and we have to say, the accolade is well deserved indeed.
Front of house is headed up by Polish-born Kasia Hitchcock with her chef partner Franco Concli at the helm in the kitchen. Plates celebrate Franco’s Tyrolean heritage, with their signature dish spätzle, a rustic fresh egg pasta from which the restaurant takes its name, sitting front and centre.
Traditionally made by scraping dough from the wooden board straight into a pot of boiling water, these irregular-shaped delights translate from Swabian-German to mean “little sparrows.”
Served in multiples ways, they can be enjoyed either savoury or sweet – mixed with braised onions into a creamy gruyere and Emmental cheese sauce, as is traditional, or transformed into a pudding with a touch of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter.
Joining the now seventeen Manchester restaurants to be featured in the prestigious guide, its description reads as follows: “Nestled under the railway arches in Manchester’s Green Quarter is a restaurant whose name is (almost) the English translation of the word ‘spätzle’ – which gives some clue as to the style of food on offer here.
“The dumplings and assorted pasta dishes are all made in-house and include excellent pierogi. The focus on Eastern Europe carries through to the wine list, which has a leaning towards Polish wines.”
A welcome new addition, if you haven’t yet visited then we recommend you book in swiftly. No doubt the news of its conclusion in the Michelin Guide will send reservations filling up pretty sharpish.
Feature image – Google Maps
New DNA evidence could clear ‘innocent’ man who spent 17 years in prison for Salford rape
A man who spent 17 years in prison for a rape he has continued to claim he did not commit has now been granted a fresh appeal after DNA was linked to an alternative suspect.
57-year-old Andrew Malkinson from Grimsby was convicted by a jury verdict of 10-2 of strangling and raping a woman in Little Hulton in Salford back in 2003, and was jailed for life following a trial at Manchester Crown Court in February 2004.
The victim – who had been walking home alone in the early hours of 19 July 2003 – was sexually assaulted after being throttled until the point of unconsciousness, and also suffered a broken neck and a fractured cheekbone during the attack.
There was no DNA or other forensic evidence linking Mr Malkinson to the crime at the time, and the prosecution case relied mainly on identification evidence from eyewitnesses.
This is why he has always maintained his innocence and insisted it was a case of mistaken identity.
Mr Malkinson had twice been refused an appeal in the past after applying for his case to be reviewed by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) – which is the body responsible for investigating alleged miscarriages of justice – but after being released on license from prison back in 2020, scientific techniques have advanced, and this has potentially lead to some new evidence.
The legal team at the charity APPEAL was able to commission new DNA testing that revealed the presence of unknown male DNA in samples taken from the victim and her clothing, and this “breakthrough” has therefore cast doubt on Mr Malkinson’s conviction.
APPEAL Director Emily Bolton said “the battle for justice is not yet over”, adding that the CCRC “will now form its own view of the fresh evidence and we hope they will agree that Andy’s conviction cannot now be regarded as safe.”
Mr Malkinson says he “finally has the chance to prove his innocence”.
“I am innocent,” Mr Malkinson questioned in a statement provided by his legal representatives.
“Finally, I have the chance to prove it thanks to the perseverance of my legal team at APPEAL. I only have one life and so far 20 years of it has been stolen from me. Yesterday I turned 57 years old. How much longer will it take?”
As well as the case having being referred back to the CCRC this week, in light of new information, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) confirmed last month that it had arrested a 48-year-old man from Exeter on suspicion of rape, but he has since been released under investigation.
Addressing Mr Malkinson’s case, CCRC chairwoman Helen Pitcher said: “The new results raise concerns about the safety of these serious convictions.
“It is now for the Court of Appeal to decide whether they should be quashed.
“New evidence can come to light years after a conviction, and in the ever-changing world of forensic science, it is crucial an independent body can undertake these enquiries and send cases of concern back to court.
“Following Mr Malkinson’s application, we used our special powers and expertise to re-examine this case, instructing experts to undertake state-of-the-art DNA testing.”