Manchester, like many British cities, is famous for its pubs. As one of the original centres of the industrial revolution, Manchester saw its population rise nearly tenfold from 1700 to 1900. Many pubs sprouted up during this time as a way to feed and water the growing population with their increasing disposable income. We check out the 10 best and most historically significant pubs in Manchester city centre to visit today.
With its brown tiled and mosaic facade, The Castle Hotel certainly stands out among the usual Northern Quarter drinking establishments. The pub was first opened in 1776, changing hands and names several times, with its current frontage being added in 1898. Under new ownership since 2009, the current owners have taken great pains to restore the interior very much to its 19th century glory. Over the course of the 20th century, The Castle cemented itself as an important venue for musicians and music fans, with the pub being a popular stopping point before going to Band On The Wall and also hosting the famous 1979 interview between John Peel and Ian Curtis. Today, the concert hall still plays host to gigs, comedy shows and film screenings.
Nestled in the gay village just behind Canal Street is The Molly House, an homage to post-Victorian drinking for ‘discerning gay boys and girls.’ The pub takes its name from 18th century Molly Houses, the precursors to today’s gay bars, where men could meet other men without the fear of persecution. It is split into the ‘tea room’ and ‘bordello’ on the inside and also has an outdoor veranda, all of which are decorated with vintage and delightful shabby chic items. There is a vast array of beers, wines, spirits and cocktails as well as tapas and special lunch and brunch selections. It attracts a diverse clientele which serves as a good reminder that Manchester is one of the original multicultural, liberal cities.
The Molly House, 26 Richmond Street, Manchester, UK, +44 (0)161 237 9329.
One of the classic city centre pubs on the list, in spirit at least, is The Seven Oaks. The interior is simpler than others, with stools generally being used in favour of the more lavish leather sofas and generally more space on the floor than in other pubs. Built in the 1920’s, The Seven Oaks is exemplary of the type of pubs that were being built around this time. There is a good range of real ales, ciders and lagers and a simple but hearty menu of pie and mash. It has a warm and friendly atmosphere, but be warned, it gets very busy when there is football on.
The Seven Oaks, 5 Nicholas Street, Manchester, UK, +44 (0)161 237 1233