Bar Buzz EXTRA – March 2020

Flixton & Urmston

The team behind Urmston’s BrewChimp bar have opened a second outlet in nearby Flixton.

The new BrewChimp is located at 432 Flixton Road opposite Flixton train station in what was previously Bistro 432 and before that AT’s Café. It follows a similar beer / wine bar hybrid model to the Urmston original.

A small bar sits at the far corner as you enter with four handpumps serving two beers from Beartown, one of which is the house BrewChimp Session ale and two guests. CAMRA members are offered a 10% discount on cask ales.

The bar has launched a regular series of Foodie Thursdays where they welcome a local independent street food trader to serve up food to accompany your drinks.

BrewChimp Flixton ©BrewChimp

Urmston’s The Assembly recently celebrated its second birthday. After completing an initial arrangement with Thornbridge Brewery, it is now sourcing cask ales from a wide range of breweries both local and national and has plans to add a third cask pump before the summer.

When Beer Buzz called the day before the second Birthday party, the two handpumps offered Tiny Rebel’s Pango and Pomona Island’s Session IPA (an early offer of the Pomona Island tap takeover planned for the birthday weekend). In keeping with the bar’s policy, both were on sale at keen prices for the local area.

The Assembly are also in the early stages of planning a nano-brewery for the bar. They plan to install a 100 litre brew kit (just over two 9 gallon casks or three 30 litre kegs per brew) on the bar’s upper floor and will add two additional keg lines to sell their own brew beers.

The bar has been voted as Trafford & Hulme CAMRA’s Pub of The Season for Spring 2020.

GRUB expansion

Street food and bar operator GRUB has raised over £18,000 to develop their Red Bank home (pictured below) through a crowdfunding campaign.

GRUB on Redbank ©Graham Donning

Plans to develop the space, on the outskirts of Manchester’s Green Quarter, include providing free space to charities and other groups who work to help the people of Manchester and provide opportunities for artists, makers and creatives to run events, workshops and exhibitions.

The funds will be used to build a new garden including a covered seating and workshop area using recycled materials. They will also develop a market hall to house a weekly arts market and build a 60-seater performance space.

GRUB also intend to develop their programme of free mentoring and training for amateur chefs looking to start a street food business. They will be investing in equipment to help them further this project including providing free training to potential operators.

New Scandi café bar for city

Beatnikz Republic Brewery’s owners are opening a new Scandi-style cafe bar on Spring Gardens in the city centre.

Lättsam, which means easy-going or light-hearted in Swedish, will serve ten lines of craft beer from Beatnikz Republic and Nordic breweries such as Lervig, Mikkeller and Dry & Bitter. There will also be artisan coffee, cocktails and natural wines.

There will be an all-day food offering starting with breakfasts, soups, salads and sandwiches for lunch and then an after-work meal menu.

Décor will follow the Scandinavian theme with pale concrete brickwork and splashes of timber.

Subject to planning and licensing, the café-bar should open late May or early June. Intended opening hours will be from 8am until late on weekdays, and 9am until later at weekends.

Fresh beer & bar billiards

The Smithfield Market Tavern has a brand new cellar install with six cask lines, one handpump cider line and thirteen keg lines replaced (including new handpulls on the bar)

©John O’Donnell

After being out of action for a couple of years, the pub’s bar billiards table is now back in operation. The traditional pub game was developed in the 1930s from the French/Belgian game billard russe. It is played on a table with no side or corner pockets but with nine holes in the playing surface which are assigned various point values ranging from 10 to 200. Seven white and one red ball must be potted through the holes to score points while not knocking down pegs which stand in front of the 100 and 200 point holes.

City Centre shorts

The Salisbury Ale House has been awarded the ‘Pint Perfection’ accolade at this year’s Star Pubs and Bars Awards. 2500 pubs from the Heineken owned pub chain were eligible for the award which recognises the highest standards of cellarmanship in keeping both cask and keg beers. The pub scored 10/10 in all ten of the judging criteria – faultless from the range of brands on offer, staff friendliness and product knowledge, to quality of serve and the fresh smell and taste of the beer.

Operations Manager Joe Gaskin and Bar Supervisor Jordan Murray
Photo © Bernard Platt

The Molly House on Richmond Street in the Village is planning a beer festival on the Spring bank holiday weekend (22 – 25th May).

Vegetarian Indian Street food restaurant and craft beer bar Bundobust have announced plans for a second restaurant in the city and that the new venue will include their own microbrewery. The group which began life in Leeds and now also has a restaurant in Liverpool has taken over a space known as The Cartway in the St James Building on Oxford Street (next door to the Palace Theatre). Formerly an indoor car park, the glass roofed restaurant will have space for 150 covers alongside the new Bundobust brewery. It is expected to open in May.

Trafford & Hulme shorts

Trafford & Hulme CAMRA named Hulme’s The Salutation as its Pub Of The Season for Winter 2019/20. The pub which is operated by Manchester Metropolitan University in partnership with Bollington Brewery was praised for serving top quality cask ales to a diverse clientele ranging from students, university staff and Hulme locals.

The Carter’s Arms in Northern Moor has introduced a discount on cask ales to card carrying CAMRA members who now receive 10% off.

Chorlton’s The Royal Oak may not be a pub where craft beer fans are likely to head to worship their DIPAs and TIPAs but it is attracting another kind of worshipper. Every Sunday morning, the function room at the Greene King owned pub hosts The Redeemer Church where the faithful gather together to sing songs, hear from the Bible & pray together.

The owner of Cumbria’s Fell Brewery has applied for a licence to open a bar in Chorlton. The premises at 518 Wilbraham Road, opposite The Lloyds pub, was previously women’s clothing store Freds.

The application plans to open a “relaxed and informal craft beer bar” with opening hours of 11am to 12:30am every day of the week.

Threatened Pubs

©Jon Gobett

The concerns over the future of The Stonemasons Arms in Timperley reported in the previous issue of Beer Buzz have been confirmed.

Continuing his brutally honest Facebook video updates, landlord Simon Delaney confirmed in January that the pub had been in difficulty, laying the blame firmly on the financial information provided by owners Greene King prior to signing a five-year lease in 2018 having massively understated the overheads of the pub.

Greene King went to court to get a repossession order on the pub but Simon and his partner Rachel, who also operate The Firbank Pub & Kitchen in Wythenshawe, remained in negotiations and hopeful of being able to reach agreement to continue at the pub.

However, on 20th February, Simon announced, in another emotional video blog, that they would be leaving the pub in April. Although committing to business as usual until they leave, they could not provide any information on what Greene King’s plans for the pub are.

Beer Buzz wishes Simon and Rachel all the best for the future and thanks them for their efforts during 18 months in Timperley. We continue to have concerns for the pub’s future under Greene King’s control who will now have seen three tenants walk away in three years.

The Railway in Broadheath remains closed while the building’s owners and potential tenant negotiate on who is to pay for sorting out the building’s aged electrical system.

The Grade II listed pub which sits on the edge of Altrincham’s massive retail park is included on CAMRA’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors ( which describes it as “an unpretentious Victorian pub”. The cut and etched glass door panels, fixed seating, bell pushes and the curvaceous panelled counter in the drinking lobby are all considered of significant historical worth.

Railway – Vault ©Mick Slaughter LRPS

Trafford & Hulme CAMRA submitted an application to have the pub listed as an Asset Of Community Value (ACV) on 4th December. Trafford council have once again failed to meet the expectations of national guidelines which say that a determination should have been made by 29th January. As Beer Buzz went to press (two weeks after that date), CAMRA had only just received acknowledgement of the application.

Regular readers will know that it took Trafford Council over six months to list Stretford’s The Robin Hood as an ACV. The developer who owns the building appealed against the listing but at a hearing in January attended by representatives of applicants The Friends Of The Robin Hood and CAMRA, their appeal was dismissed.

The Robin Hood ©Bob Dunbar

The planning application to turn the pub building into eleven apartments and build ten houses on the car park was suddenly and unexpectedly withdrawn in early February. It is not known what the developers next move will be but local campaigners continue to make the case for at least some of the building being retained for use by the community.

The fight to save Hulme’s The Church Inn goes on. The former JW Lees pub has been closed for a number of years with developers hoping to build a tower block of apartments for students on the site. After a previous application was rejected, revised plans lowering the height of the tower were submitted bt at a hearing on 13th February, the Planning & Highways committee recommended refusal on the grounds of overdevelopment and loss of local amenity.

Pub becomes laughing stock

A new comedy night at Chorlton’s The Font bar became rather more successful than anticipated.

The January debut of a monthly night of jokes and laughter at the Manchester Road bar was a total sell out, so much so that the bar had to be closed to non-ticket holders for three hours on a Monday evening.

The next night will be held on March 16th with Vikki Stone –  “The bastard love child of Victoria Wood & Tim Minchin”, comedian Steve Royale & Resident MC Tony Vino. The date for April’s night has yet to be confirmed but is expected to be Monday 20th April.

Lee’s tame the Lion

Middleton brewer JW Lees has bought Withington’s Red Lion from Marston’s. The extended former coaching inn on Wilmslow Road between Withington & Didsbury dates from the 17th Century. It features a bowling green surrounded by an extensive outdoor seating area which makes this a popular pub in summer.

Apart from a new menu and the installation of Lees’ beers on the bar, there have been no major changes as of yet, although locals have reported beer prices have increased.

One less slice of Pi

While outside of the Beer Buzz area, we were saddened to hear that Pi (Rose Lane), the Liverpool suburban sibling of Pi Altrincham and Pi Chorlton closed on 31st January due to what a statement on their Facebook page called “a sudden and unexpected surge in overheads”. Opening in 2011 as the second Pi bar , it was a Good Beer Guide regular which regularly saw Liverpool beer lovers make the pilgrimage out to Mosley Hill. The standing room only closing night was testimony to how highly regarded the bar was.

The closure does not affect the Chorlton and Altrincham bars and while describing the decision to close the Liverpool venue as “heart wrenching”, the owners have indicated that they are working on a plan to stay in the area.

Bar Buzz Extra (December 2019)

An extended look at news from pubs, bars and clubs across the Beer Buzz area.

New openings in the city

Manchester’s latest cask ale outlet is one of the more surprising. The Bull and Bear is located within the newly opened Stock Exchange Hotel on Norfolk Street (between Market Street and King Street). The city’s former Stock Exchange has been converted into a hotel by a consortium headed by former footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs and hotelier Winston Zahra.

©Len Hogkinson

While it sounds like a pub, The Bull and Bear is primarily a restaurant from celebrity chef Tom Kerridge (pictured with fellow chef and local CAMRA activist Len Hodkinson). The TV chef will be hoping to bring similar adulation as his two pubs in Marlow, Buckinghamshire – The Coach has one Michelin star, while The Hand & Flowers boasts two of the coveted stars. Both are known for menus featuring British ‘comfort food’. Kerridge himself is expected to spend two days a week until the New Year helping establish the menu.

The team behind Alphabet Brewery and PLY have opened The Quick Brown Fox on the corner of Swan Street and Oldham Street. The bar which was first rumoured over two years ago finally opened at the start of October. There is no cask ale available (not surprising given the operators) but 12 of the 24 taps on the back bar will dispense craft beers including three from Alphabet. The remaining taps serve premixed cocktails and natural wines.

©John O’Donnell

Historic Victorian pub, The Edinburgh Castle in Ancoats reopened in mid-November. As reported in the last issue of Beer Buzz, the 200 year old building which sits on the corner of Blossom Street and Henry Street has been relaunched by the team behind Northern Quarter cocktail bar Cottonopolis,  after spending decades abandoned and forgotten.

©Steve Davis

It has been very tastefully renovated with a long impressive marble topped bar opposite the corner door. In the area behind the bar there is more seating with another room on the right with mirrors and dark wood panelling. Two cask ales feature including a house beer from Marston’s Ringwood brewery.

Pilcrow on last orders

The Co-operative backed NOMA scheme have announced plans to convert the grade two-listed Old Bank building on Hanover Street into offices. A new seven story extension is to be built extending the building into Saddlers Yard – and the space where The Pilcrow pub currently stands. The wooden structure is expected to be relocated elsewhere in the NOMA development but rather than remaining a pub, it will be ‘repurposed’ for community use. The team behind the pub (Port Street Beer House owners Common & Co) are reported to be in talks about a new venue within NOMA.

New home for GRUB

After completing their summer season at Mayfield Depot, food fair operator GRUB has moved to The Red Bank Project on the fringes of the ‘Green Quarter’. After alternating between summers at Mayfield and winters at nearby Fairfield Social Club, the move will allow them to stay in the same venue throughout the seasons. 

©John O’Donnell

Visitors can expect the same rotating choice of the very best street food operators with the multi-room indoor are offering a bar with 22 keg and two cask lines, a second bar upstairs and even a playroom for toddlers complete with miniature street food stalls. Opening hours at 50 Red Bank will be Friday 4pm to 10pm, Saturday noon to 10pm and 100% vegan ‘Plant Powered Sundays’ Sunday noon to 6pm. Check for weekly food vendor listings.

Fairfield Social Club on Temperance Street continues to operate as a live music and events venue.

Coming soon in the city

The new site for Manchester’s Brewdog bar has been confirmed to be on Fountain Street off Market Street (just along from The Shakespeare pub and Primark). It was confirmed in August that they would be leaving their current home on Peter Street as the block in which it is located is to be redeveloped into a hotel. The new bar will be located in the former Enzo pizza restaurant. It is expected that the Peter Street bar will close and new bar open in March 2020.

Piccadilly Tap owners Bloomsbury Leisure have applied for a licence to convert a former refuse store on Victoria Station Approach into a new craft beer bar expected to be called Victoria Tap.

All change in Manchester suburbs

Technically in Hulme, The Salutation lies in the midst of Manchester Metropolitan University’s Eastern campus, dwarfed by the adjacent Student Union Building and surrounded on two sides by building work for MMU’s new School Of Digital Arms. The pub is owned by MMU itself and operated under the umbrella of the Students Union but, in an interesting move, when it reopened for the new academic year it revealed a new look and a new partnership with Bollington Brewery.

The brewery already has three successful pubs of its own, The Vale Inn in Bollington itself, The Park Tavern in Macclesfield and The Cask Tavern in Poynton. Its first venture into Manchester sees the pub adopt Bollington branding and four cask pumps dedicated to Bollington’s award winning beer range – Bollington Best, Long Hop and Oatmill Stout are permanent plus a guest from Bollington and space for two other guest beers.

©John O’Donnell

Removal of overhead glass storage shelving and supporting pillars from the bar and a contemporary colour scheme of greys and deep reds has opened up the space while the snug has been redesigned and there is new seating throughout. Big brand lagers have been removed from the bar with a new 10-line font wall at one end of the bar serving a range of beers and ciders from micro-breweries including Moravka lager and Shindigger ales.

Moving further out of the city, The Ducie Arms in Greenheys behind the Manchester University campus is reported to be one of the 137 pubs which Chester based Admiral Taverns has purchased from Marston’s. The pub company which is owned by Bulmers, Tennent’s Lager and Magners owner,  C&C Group has been on the acquisition trail over recent months, including 150 pubs purchased from Heineken’s Star Pubs in October. Following completion of the Marston’s deal they will own around 1075 pubs, the majority ‘wet led’ pubs with limited or no food operations.

Overdraught MCR ©Maxine Silcock

Levenshulme’s ever growing beer scene has another new addition with the October opening of OverDraught MCR, the second venue from Martha Winder owner of Prestwich’s First Draught. A copper clad back bar wall boasts an impressive number of taps. Nine core lines are mostly from the Carlsberg family including Brooklyn lager, Mahou and Sommersby ‘cider’ and the rarer Carlsberg Unfiltered lager, alongside Beavertown’s ‘Bloody ‘Ell’ and Shindigger’s West Coast IPA. The bar is located at 855 Stockport Road close to Levenshulme Rail station – the unit was formerly the TSB Bank.

Just down the road in Burnage, The Sun in September has bucked the recent trend for closures amongst the Sam Smiths brewery estate and reopened after around twelve months boarded up.

Across in Chorlton, Cask and Kiln on Wilbraham Road closed in early November, just over two years after first opening its doors. Despite the best efforts of the owners in selecting a changing range of cask beers and offering a range of events, including comedy nights and open mic nights plus pool tournaments, the venue never really seemed to find its market. 

Manchester Road, Swinton

The Farmers Arms has re-opened after a major refurbishment. After a couple of years which saw it go on a downward spiral, losing its way and its ‘Arms’ before closure, it is now on the up again. New landlords Tracey & Red have an aim to be the social hub of the neighbourhood. There is only one cask ale on sale at the moment, but when Beer Buzz correspondent Phil Stout called, he rated his Timothy Taylor`s Landlord as in excellent well-kept form.

©Ian Massey

Just up the road is the Cricketers Arms. Also recently refurbished, this small red brick Joseph Holt pub prides itself on its entertainment offering including sport from Sky and BT as well as darts, live music, quiz nights and karaoke. Holts Bitter is the regular cask ale and when Beer Buzz called, this was supplemented by the latest offer in Holts’ Generations series celebrating their 150th anniversary.

©Ian Massey

A new kid of the block is the Wobbly Stool just a few doors along from the Cricketers at 233 Manchester Road. This ‘micro-pub’ opened in September 2019 in what was formally a flower shop. There are usually three cask ales available which are constantly changing. When our Swinton correspondent called, there were two cask ales that had travelled some distance – Old Growler from Suffolk’s Nethergate Brewery and Wooha Brewing Company’s Rouge Smash, all the way from Kilnross, near Inverness.

White Lion ©Ian Massey

In contrast to the newly opened bar, at the end of Manchester Road is Robinson`s White Lion – a pub which is over 200 years old and is the spiritual home of Swinton Rugby League Football Club. The cask ale available here was Robinson`s Dizzy Blonde.

Assembly change

Urmstons’ The Assembly has changed its opening hours and is no longer open on Mondays & Tuesdays

Stretford gains an Assett

The Robin Hood pub in Stretford has finally been listed as an Assett of Community Value by Trafford council. The listing comes some six months after a local group made the application even though councils should only take eight weeks to reach a decision on ACV applications.

The pub was sold to developers by Greene King late last year with plans to build multiple homes on the pub’s car park and convert the pub building to apartments put out for consulation.

However this development has not progressed and the site was being marketed for sale.

Under the terms of the Localism Act 2011, local community groups interested in bidding for the site should contact Trafford Council within six weeks of an ACV being put up for sale to trigger a six month moratorium on the sale.

Sale Sports

The redevelopment of Sale Sports club has progressed with the new clubhouse up and running and the old club house now being demolished. The site will be redeveloped for housing.

The new club house has the same two cask ales on sale as before – Wainwright and Jennings Cumberland Ale – both from the Marston’s stable.

Trouble in Timperley?

As Beer Buzz went to press, locals in Timperley were in a state of confusion about the future of The Stonemasons Arms. After restaurateur Steve Pilling’s venture to take the pub upmarket failed after just seven months, the pub was taken on by Simon and Rachael Delaney, who also run the Firbank Pub & Kitchen in Wythenshawe, in October 2018. The couple have returned the pub to be a community focussed local hub and it seemed to be on the up.

©Jon Gobbett

Regulars were therefore surprised when on 22nd October, Simon Delaney (pictured below) released a statement on social media saying, “It is with great regret that I have to make this announcement, unfortunately because of personal reasons out of my control my time at The Stonemasons Arms is coming to an end. My intention is to carry on as usual until the end of the year. The new business owner will take over the business as a going concern.”

A week later, he posted a heartfelt video statement on Facebook where he said that since the announcement, they had received messages of encouragement from the people of Timperley, the local council and police telling them that they were doing a great job. However, he then explained that the rent and rates that he had to pay were based on the pub being a lot busier than it currently is and pleaded with the local community to bear them in mind for their leisure activities and choose them over other options as the only independent pub in Timperley.

For an insight into the passion of a publican facing commercial realities of operating a pub company owned pub with high business rates, it is well worth seeking out the video on their Facebook page .

In West Timperley, The Pelican Inn is reported to have been sold for redevelopment. It was reported in July that owner Greene King was marketing the pub and the adjacent vacant Altrincham Lodge hotel site. The current building dates back to 1931 but there has been a pub on the site from at least the early 19th Century. Locals have been advised that the site has been sold but that pub will continue to operate until at least March 2020. No planning application has been submitted to date, but with the combined site being large, there are fears that developers will seek to demolish the pub.

All change in Altrincham

In Altrincham, the management at The Old Market Tavern are working hard to get the pubs kitchen back up and running in time for the New Year.

The redevelopment of the upper floors into letting rooms is now complete and the 12 bedrooms are trading as The Old Market Coaching Inn.

Two years after developers purchased the Grade II listed building from Punch Taverns, it is now back on the market with an asking price of £2.29 million. It is being listed as a 12-bedroom house.

The pub, which is a free house, is unaffected by the sale and will remain open,  The pub is listed as an Asset of Community Value by Trafford Council.

Batch Bottlestore in Kings Court has removed its handpump, citing being uphappy with the quality of product they were serving.

Former Stamford Arms set for demolition

The former Stamford Arms (more latterly known as Home) in Little Bollington is set to be demolished. The pub has been closed and abandoned for several years.

The site was purchased at auction by developer Novo Property Group and has now submitted plans to build 12 homes and a community hub on the site.


In our last issue, we mistakenly listed Sale’s The Bulls Head as being on Church Road – it is of course at No. 2 Cross Street

Urmston Ale Trail

Urmston has a thriving pub and bar scene with many new arrivals over recent years as well as some classic pubs. Many are fine cask ale establishments and this has led to the development of the Urmston Ale Trail, for beer enthusiasts to enjoy.

It is a simple enough idea; pick up a collectors card in your first pub and work your way around the 10 participating pubs (this does not have to be in one day!). Enjoy a pint of
real ale in each, get a unique stamp from each bar and receive a free pint once your Urmston Ale Trail card is complete.

The trail loops you around Urmston and Flixton, taking in pubs and bars on the outskirts of the town as well as the town centre and includes varying styles of pubs and bars.

Participating pubs and bars are:

  • The Assembly (Station Road)
  • Barking Dog (Higher Road)
  • Bird I’th Hand (Flixton Road
  • Brew Chimp (Church Road)
  • Church Inn (Church Road)
  • Lord Nelson (Stretford Road)
  • Prairie Schooner Tap House (Flixton Rd)
  • Roebuck (Church Road)
  • Steamhouse (Station Road)
  • Tim Bobbin (Flixton Road)
Urmston Ale Trail
Click map to download as PDF file.

Bar Buzz EXTRA

More news from our local pubs and bars


Outgoing manager Chris Bardsley with new boss Zoe West (Photo: Pi Altrincham)

Pi (Altrincham) has a new manager. Zoe West (pictured with former manager Chris Bardsley) took the helm at the bar on Shaw Road in April, having originally joined the team from West Didsbury’s Saison in 2017. She brings a wealth of experience in Good Beer Guide listed pubs including Chorlton’s The Bar (now The Chorlton Tap) and The Macc in Macclesfield. 

The vacancy at Pi arose when former manager Chris (Bardsley) departed to open a new bottle and keg shop in the town’s Kings Court  with his business partner Will Brown. Batch Bottle Store opened at the end of May with six keg lines and one cask line. The cask line will mostly be Pomona Island Pale – a constantly evolving brew with different hops in each batch. Bottles and cans will predominantly be UK based to start off but once settled in they will be bringing in beers from rest of the world. The store will also be hosting Tap Takeovers, Meet The Brewer and Tasting Sessions. Opening times are Sunday to Thursday, noon until  9.00 pm; Friday and Saturday, noon until midnight

Also in Altrincham, Rustic has a new owner. American Summer Smith is new to real ale but getting stuck right in. It is likely that Bradfield Brewery’s Farmers Blonde will become a regular beer, with three changing beers.

Selected cask ales will be two for £5 Tuesday to Thursday. Opening hours have been extended slightly with an earlier opening at noon on Saturdays.

The Tatton Arms on the southern outskirts of Altrincham also has a new licensee, Mags Wiaczek, who reopened the pub on the 18th May. She is new to the pub business but has plans to make the pub more family friendly than it has been in some of its past incarnations.

Mags has given the interior a redecoration and tried to keep the traditional look and feel to the pub returning old photographs of Altrincham to the walls.

There is a dart board and pool table, and some of the TVs have been removed. Food will be available lunch times, with bar snacks in the evening. The menu will have a Polish twist featuring Polish sausage, Sauerkraut with a traditional Polish dinner with apple pie being served at weekend.

Three hand pumps are installed and beers from JW Lees should be available by the time Beer Buzz goes to press.

Retrospective planning permission was granted for Altrincham’s Old Market Tavern to convert rooms above the pub into letting rooms. However, planners refused permission for the owners to also convert the parts of the building which were previously used as band practice rooms and a martial arts gym and required samples of all materials to be submitted to the authorities.

Just before Beer Buzz went to press, management of the pub passed to Kev Winkley, who has long connections with the pub. Kev told Beer Buzz he has plans to expand the cask ale range to six or seven regular ales.

Alex Dunne who bought The Elk, Hale in November last year, has given it a makeover. The interior and exterior have been redecorated, and a new bar and back bar installed. This gave them the opportunity to add an extra hand pump, and they now aim to have three ales available.

When Beer Buzz visited, Marston’s 61 Deep was the current regular beer with the two guests being Marston’s Wainwright and Robinsons Dizzy Blonde. The two guest pumps are rotated for other local and national beers from time to time.     


One of Manchester’s newest incarnations is that of Mash Tun, housed in the block which comprises 55 King Street. It’s at the far end of Pall Mall on the corner with Chapel Walks, taking over the former Grafene restaurant site (the bar being a joint venture with the owners of Grafene). 

On the menu are up to eight revolving real ales from micros and other established regionals (although when Beer Buzz called only three were available), plus ciders, perries and a further 16 taps for keg ales and lagers. There are no pump clips shown; all the beers are indicated on a chalkboard above the bar. The bar is to the left of the entrance with the brewing vessels (not yet in operation) towards the rear. 

Spacious areas give rise to wooden and tiled flooring, tables and chairs, plus some leather seating areas. A curious booth style raised into a mini-board room, with table and several chairs and differing window pane panels are to be found around the rear, where the room overlooks Chapel Walks. Food is also available, plus live music nights are a feature, with soft piped music playing at other times. 

Rose & Monkey (photo John O’Donnell)

As reported in the last issue of Beer Buzz, the former Burton Arms on Swan Street has completed it’s transformation into The Rose & Monkey Hotel. The pub now offers a full line up of live music featuring both original artists and cover bands.


The Knott on Deansgate, Manchester has become the latest bar in the city to go cashless. The bar which acts as tap room to Wander Beyond Brewery moved to only accepting card payments from 1st May. 

The pub’s manager Simon Carroll blamed the move on rising banking charges for depositing cash and obtaining change. The statement pictured above was posted in the pub’s windows said they would rather not pass these costs on to customers in the form of increased beer prices. The proportion of cash sales made by pubs and bars across the city with many reporting that over three quarters of purchases are now made by card – at The Knott this had risen to 82% when they made the decision.

West Didsbury’s Wine & Wallop is another bar which has decided to only accept debit and credit card payments – with security being a factor in their decision. They join a growing number of bars across the city which now no longer accept cash including Cloudwater’s Unit 9, Track Brewery Tap Room, ÖL Nano Brewery & Bar on Oxford Road and Sandbar on Grosvenor Street.


The team behind GRUB food fairs and Fairfield Social Club have teamed up with Squawk Brewery to open a new cinema and tap room in Ancoats. Located on the fourth floor of Crusader Mill on Chapeltown Street, the Chapeltown Picture House is immediately above the Track Brewery Tap Room.

The cinema space has a 4k projector and 5.1 sound system while the connected Squawk tap room will have six lines from the highly regarded brewing team based about a mile away. When not screening classic films like Terminator 2 and Back To The Future, the big screen will be used for video gaming. 

For more information, visit


The extensive refurbishment of The Windmill on the top corner of Station Road was still ongoing as we went to press this has included major alterations to the building which include a new entrance, toilet block and smoking area to the rear. They have been closed for so long they had to reapply for a licence. 

The former Good beer Guide entry The Cock & Swine has now reopened as an Italian restaurant called Siena and they appear to only have Peroni available. 

Over the road at The White Swan their refurbishment has included an outside drinking area to the front, this was completed while the pub stayed open. 

Next for this treatment was The Cricketers on Manchester Road which should have started in May. Staff member Maureen Black was celebrating at Holt`s awards when she took the award for best front of house staff member back in march. Maureen has been here for over 25 years. 

Just along the road Roses ‘N’ Poses has been converted to a micro bar, and will open as The Wobberley Stool. (Hope they include a letter box in their plans). 

Egstra celebrations at The House Of Hops over Easter when glasses were raised for their first year of opening, Increasing the beers available to ten was a real bonus, well done Clare, Scott, Des & Staff (including unnamed bear). 

The Royal British Legion in Boothstown, have retained branch club of the year this year. The club puts on regular events and in November will be hosting the Boothstown Beer Festival. 

Over at The Royal Oad work continues with the vault having a face lift, the dart board has been relegated to the disco area in the back room. 

We have been informed that The Ellesmere in Winton has closed and that The Brown Cow & The Ship Canal have both been demolished.


Following a lick of paint and a general spruce up late last year, Craig and Nikki Waite have taken over the Carters Arms, a Marston’s pub in Sale Moor. They have made an instant impact with two real ale pumps in action at the weekend, featuring a variety of different ales from the Marston’s range to accompany the Banks’s Bitter which is a permanent feature. Activity in the pub is thriving too with two pool teams in action on a Tuesday, a darts team on a Wednesday, bingo and a quiz on Thursdays, karaoke on Saturdays and killer pool and darts on Sundays. The traditional Bank Holiday music festivals also remain a popular feature of the Carters, taking place at the end of the late May and late August ones’.

The Nags Head (Photo: Tim Hawkes)

The Nags Head  in Urmston has reopened after a major refurbishment. The pub which is on Davyhulme Circle between Urmston centre and the Trafford Centre, has been moved into the Craft Union managed division of owner EI Group (formerly Enterprise Inns).

Many interesting internal features have survived the refit, including a fine snug (on the right as you enter) and the remnants of a traditional vault at the rear (now opened out). Elsewhere there are elaborate tiling on the staircase to the function room, some stained glass in the windows, wood carvings behind the bar, and wood panelling at the rear of the main drinking area. Perhaps surprisingly, bench seating round the walls has survived in all rooms, with only two tall ‘posing tables’ to represent modern fashion. 

There are large, flat screen televisions throughout the pub, and the rear yard has been opened up to drinkers as a modest beer garden with a heated shelter for smokers.

Cask ale is available at low prices. When Beer Buzz called, Sharp’s Doom Bar was £1.85 and Timothy Taylor’s Landlord costs £2.05. 

Flixton’s Fox & Hounds re-opened mid May after an extensive refurbishment throughout (including the long-awaited new kitchen). The pub has been re-branded The Fox : Pub & Kitchen, pushing fresh food on a weekly changing menu. There are three cask ales; Timothy Taylor’s Landlord, Robinsons’ Dizzy Blonde and another from Bombardier, Black Sheep or Doom Bar.

The pub is run by ‘Thornhill & Senior’ who also have ‘The Goose’ on Bloom Street in Manchester.

Chorlton’s The Beech Inn has been taken over by EI Group’s managed pub arm ‘Bermondsey Pub Co’. 

EI denied long term tenant Chris Clish a lease renewal after he and his team had spent nine years returning the previously failing pub back to being a thriving community local. 

The pub is due to re-open after refit in mid-July. 

Champion Beer of Britain (CBoB) – how it works

The Champion Beer Of Britain (CBoB) competition is one of CAMRA’s flagship awards and is considered to be one of the most prestigious awards by the breweries in the United Kingdom that win it. 

There are eight CBoB areas, – these are London & South East, South West, East Anglia, East Midlands, West Midlands, North East & Yorkshire, Scotland & Northern Ireland and North West – these don’t mirror the 16 CAMRA regions, and some CBoB areas cover more than one CAMRA region.  

There are currently competitions covering 11 beer styles – milds, bitters, best bitters, golden ales, strong bitters, speciality beers, old ales/strong milds, stouts, porters and barley wines/strong old ales, and bottled varieties. CAMRA is currently reviewing its beer styles guide so these styles may change in future.

Nominations process

Every year in September CAMRA members  nominate their favourite beers, up to five in each style. Also at this stage, tasting panels from each CAMRA region have their chance to nominate beers they believe should go forward to the next stage. The results from members’ votes, and the tasting panel nominations  form a short list of the most recommended beers.

Ideally the next stage is for local judging. This is usually at CAMRA or pub based beer festivals, to give the opportunity to select an area winner. This can be a prestigious local award. These choices can then go forward to judging at The Great British Beer Festival (GBBF) and GBBF Winter (for the four winter beer styles – old ales/strong milds, stouts, porters and barley wines/strong old ales) and, hence, to find CAMRA’s Champion Beer of Britain (and Champion Winter Beer of Britain).

The Finals

At the GBBF the final CBoB category judging of the area winners takes place, with one winning beer from the Speciality Beer, Mild and Strong Bitter categories, coupled with two each from the Bitter, Golden Ale and Best Bitter categories proceeding into the final round in order to judge the Supreme Champion, which is crowned the best beer in Britain. The reason for two beers each from the Bitter, Golden Ale and Best Bitter categories is to accommodate for the proportionate share of the commercial beer market these beer styles command.

Four beers are fast tracked to the final round at GBBF; these are the winners of each category of the Champion Winter Beer of Britain (CWBoB) competition, held at the GBBF Winter festival in January-February each year. As these beers were judged to be the Champion Beers of their style earlier in the year, they are entered automatically into the final round of CBoB.

The CWBoB competition is similar in its structure to CBoB, as the final round of judging is made up of beers having reached this stage via the process of CAMRA members’ and tasting panels’ nominations, followed by area competition success. The categories in this competition are Old Ales/Strong Milds, Porters, Stouts and Barley Wines/Strong Old Ales.

There is a separate competition for the Champion Bottled Beer of Britain (which now includes cans too). Like CBoB the structure of the competition relies upon CAMRA members and tasting panel nominations, followed by the area competitions, with the final usually held at the BBC Good Food Show in November.


Beers are categorised according to their ABV, as it is now considered that this is more reflective of style and easier for most beer drinkers to understand.  To be eligible for CBOB, a cask conditioned bitter, best bitter, strong bitter or golden ale must be available for seven or more months of the year, and a cask conditioned mild or speciality beer must be available for three or more months of the year, or the cask beer must be one of the beer styles associated with the winter season. We also categorise according to their Original Gravity (OG). If we have two beers with the same abv then we turn to the OG.

Beers with misleadingly promoted geographical origin, brands with non-cask versions promoted using CAMRA awards, or beers which have sexist or otherwise discriminatory pump clips or other branding are excluded.

Graham Donning

Bar Buzz EXTRA – April 2019

Beer Expos at The Prairie Schooner

Urmston’s Prairie Schooner Taphouse let Beer Buzz know about a new series of events,

Although their main commitment will always be to local brewers, they are launching a series of regional beer showcases on the first weekend of every month.

Their first ‘Beer Expo’ at the start of April focussed on London brewers. This will be ,followed by Wales and the Peak District at the beginning and end of May respectively (latter forming part of a larger beer, cider and music festival)

Showcases dedicated to breweries from Newcastle, Bristol, Scotland and Leeds are also being planned.  

Dates for your diary:

  • Welsh Beer Expo is scheduled for the first weekend of May (brewers TBA)
  • Spring Cider & Music festival will kick off with a cider & cheese night on Weds, May 22nd. Local bands will be playing live music daily on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday (acts and cidermakers TBA)
  • Peak District Beer Expo will begin with a Thornbridge cask and keg tap takeover with street food on Weds, May 29th (other brewers TBA)
New craft beer bar & restaurant for King Street

As Beer Buzz Issue 2 went to press, news broke of a new venue set to open on King Street, Manchester.

The Mash Tun is due to open on April 19th in the site formerly occupied by Grafene Restaurant at 55 King Street.

The venue is being opened by Adam Regan who opened Stage and Radio bar beside Port Street Beer House in the Northern Quarter and Scott Martin who runs Fundamentum bakery on Piccadilly Place, working with Grafene’s former owners Paul & Kathryn Roden.

It promises a host of local ‘real ales’ and beers from local breweries including
CloudwaterRunaway and Beatnikz Republic and a range of their own ales. Advertising a total of 26 taps along a 12m long bar, it’s not clear if there will be any cask conditioned beers available.

The menu will include a mix and match selection of ten different sausages and ten different mashes, with choice of gravies. There will also be ligher lunch options and baked goods from Fundamentum’s bakery.

The venue will feature live music Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with the bar due to be open until 3am. at weekends.