The Wharf might just be Greater Manchester’s best waterside pub

A quaint canalside gem that's popularity speaks for itself.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 7th June 2024

We’re very lucky here in Greater Manchester to have so many wonderful pubs and restaurants right on our doorstep but when it comes to the very specific locale of waterside spots, we think you’ll find it very hard to beat The Wharf.

Considered by many as the jewel not only Castlefield‘s culinary crown but the pinnacle of canalside hospitality, The Wharf has been open under its current name for over a decade now and has gradually built up one of the most adoring customer bases any business could ask for.

Although the pub itself was opened back in 1998 as Jackson’s Wharf, it wasn’t until its regeneration in 2012 that it truly found its footing in the local food and drink scene, going from strength to strength ever since becoming part of the Brunning and Price family.

You only have to check our favourite pub or favourite beer garden series to see it crop up and you can bet we’re by no means the only ones shouting about it.

Beer garden bliss

Just like the man says (it’s me, I’m the man), The Wharf‘s beer garden is so popular for a reason: it’s big, beautiful and situated right next to a picturesque corner of the Bridgewater Canal, soaking up the rays for hours on end whenever they decide to grace us with their presence.


It’s this combo, plus the fact it’s knitted perfectly into its green and pleasant surroundings, that makes it feel like something ripped straight out of a postcard from some idyllic little village in the country. Only it’s not, it’s just a short walk down the canal from the city centre.

Whenever it gets really nice and summery, they really push the boat out – pun very much intended – with their outside bar and dedicated cocktail hut, open Thursday-Sunday every week in spring and summer, which serves all manner of seasonal concoctions, as well as all the classics.


It also means you don’t have to leave the comfort of the sun-soaked terrace even for a second, not to mention it helps service flow smoother as they split the crowds between this and the indoor bar.

Gastro pub goals with a superb Sunday roast

But even when the big yellow thing does go back into hiding as we know it does most of the year here in our corner of the North West, we’d also wager The Wharf is up there with one of the cosiest pubs you’ll find in and around Manchester city centre.

From the homely and inviting interior spread across two floors, with a raging fire and comfy little nooks for you to cosy up with your dog, to the now tipi-covered outdoor seating area with plenty of heaters to keep the outside just as welcoming, it – but it’s that food that truly warms up the cockles inside.


Be it their legendary fish and chips that is quite literally bigger than your arm, hearty homemade pies and rustic but refined classics you’d expect from a traditional boozer, to lighter and seasonal small plates or their equally stunning Sunday roasts, we’ve never once left here feeling anything but fully satisfied.

You’ll find decent pub grub all over Greater Manchester, but you won’t find many that do it to the kind of standard The Wharf has consistently delivered for years now.

@the.manc Could this be one of the best Sunday roasts in Manchester? Available Sundays and bank holiday Mondays at The Wharf😍 #sundayroast #manchester #foodietiktok #mcr #roastdinner ♬ vlog, chill out, calm daily life(1370843) – SUNNY HOOD STUDIO

A proper pub with a community feel – in every sense of the word

Whether you’re sat out on the terrace, up on the balcony, or around a big table with your nearest and dearest sharing a few pints, you’ll notice that this place is rarely even a bit quiet and literally never empty.

That’s not just because it’s a pretty pub with good food but because its booming business is built on locals from the Castlefield community and beyond. It’s one thing calling yourself a family pub, actually living up to that image is something else entirely.

Packed out with regulars every evening, not just punters come the weekend; welcoming as many furry faces as possible with free snacks and a water station, as well as hosting regular events like their upcoming burger week this August to their annual summer bash and BBQs, the proof is in the pudding.


Be it the live music, pub quizzes, board game meets or their resident running club which starts and ends there every Wednesday, there’s always something going on at The Wharf.

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This particular writer has no shame in proclaiming it as his favourite pub anywhere in the region and why should he? You only have to wander down the locks and through Manchester’s historic canalside neighbourhood to see it full of smiling faces, flowing drinks and busy tables.

Castlefield is steeped in Roman heritage but its modern reputation hinges on, to our count, three key things: TV shows love to film around here, it was the geese’s home first so don’t mess with them, and The Wharf is absolutely mint.

Aesthetics are one thing but if you’ve never tried it before, you’ll find this vibrant waterside watering hole and restaurant has more than enough substance to back up the country pub style.

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Featured Images — The Manc Group/The Wharf