Crawling from Paramount to Cask

I am alive. My liver is functioning and I now have time to start writing about drinking again. There are quite a few reasons why I’ve been absent(bought a house, applied for lots of jobs, been poor, got new job, had no time!) because it’s been a bit of an odd year. I’m going to try and do at least one pub review a month next year but until then I’ll tell you about a really good pub crawl I did a few weeks ago.

 

In classic drinkingaloud style start in the Paramount –

The Paramount - Manchester

The Wetherspoons on Oxford road. If you have a smaller party start in the Old Grey Horse or the Circus the two tiny pubs on Portland street (but we had more than two people).

 

The Paramount was standard Wetherspoons, quite busy but coping. It’s gets a bit mad in there and is one of the bigger ones in Manchester. It’s good for the train station and bus though. We had a quick pint in there, something pale but my friend couldn’t remember what.

 

We then moved on to The Temple –

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I really like the Temple but you have to pick your moments with it. We went slightly later a few weeks after and could barely get in the door. It’s an ex – public toilet and has getting close to the worst toilets in Manchester. The bar is so small all the ales are bottled. I had Coniston Bluebird which is a nice Bitter. The glasses are pretty much always warm in there too so once you’ve cooled the first down with your pint keep hold of it. They do a range of different bottled beers and have Tuborg on tap. We managed to get a table but the place fills up very quickly.

It's tiny.

It’s tiny.

The Temple belongs in the Northern Quarter but is infinitely better because it isn’t there. The juke box is excellent and usually playing something I like(this is entirely subjective) and we debated not moving on and staying there until we had to go home. However variety i the spice of life so we moved on down the road.

 

The Peveril of the Peak –

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It’s an odd pub to say the least. Green tiled outside and with slightly bizarre opening times it has a weird little garden on the top of it that looks like a Wallace and Gromit model. It’s quite expensive but well worth a visit because it’s rare for these pubs to still exist.

 

There are a few rooms and its bigger than it looks inside so even if it seems busy you can usually find a seat. We were in there for one before heading over to

Rain Bar –

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Rain Bar used to be an umbrella factory. It’s fairly generic inside but the beer is excellent. They have JW Lees MPA which is one of the best pale ales I’ve had for a long time. I can heartily recommend it. There isn’t much else to say apart from there is a good beer garden for the summer and that the food is OK. Just down the road is the

The Briton’s Protection –

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It’s unfortunate that the pub’s name will put people off because it immediately puts you in the mind of a Britain First off shoot. It is nothing like that and is a really, really good pub. It’s a Robinsons pub so you can get Unicorn amongst many other things. It still has the original decor and loads of seats and rooms. It’s standard Manchester prices so don’t expect it to be cheap but it’s a really cool old boozer and you should go.

 

Cask –

cask

Eventually we stumbled into Cask it’s near MOSI and is a real hidden gem. It’s not the best place but it is just off deansgate. Now usually they have a good selection on but tonight they had very little in the form of handpumps. I went for one of the lagers because I didn’t fancy the one handpump beer that was left which I think was a stout. I had a high end lager, which was nice and cleared my head a little. Cask is pretty rustic in it’s furnishings but that makes it mre about the beer. It’s a good simple bar that’s always pleasantly buzzing and friendly.

 

I think someone picked us up after that but to be honest I just don’t know.

 

8 Pints\6 Pubs.

In Search of Hydes

I just went for a calm afternoon drink yesterday, finally having some theoretical disposable income. Beer tokens so to speak. So I went and met Billy in Didsbury, we had a serious craving for Hydes.

Genuinely one of the top things when you google Hydes beer. Look how happy she is!

Genuinely one of the top things when you google Hydes beer. Look how happy she is!

Hydes pubs in Manchester seem to be getting rarer and rarer, there’s the Old Grey Horse on Portland Street but that’s a Man City pub and it was match day so we gave that one a miss. In fact town has been so busy on saturdays because of the football we decided to give Didsbury a try instead. Though I did go in the old grey horse the other week and it was really nice, quite tiny but friendly with a good atmosphere. Apart from that you have to head out into the ‘burbs.

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Anyway we went in the Fletcher Moss in Didsbury just off School Lane, it was £2.54 a pint. Win. It looks like like a small place but it’s big inside we found a spot in the corner. Hydes is a nice light beer, it’s a just slightly hoppy and a real session beer. The Fletcher Moss was comfortable and just busy enough to give it some atmosphere but not to be too busy.

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These were our seats for the whole session.

These were our seats for the whole session.

We used to drink it all the time in the Gateway but no-one was ever in so it ended up being turned into a Wetherspoons which saved it I suppose, but before that it was great drinking hole. Now it’s busy all the time, but it’s not the dark place that always felt like it was on the verge of a lock-in. In fact I vaguely remember being locked in against my will, good times.

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We just stayed there and drank many, many pints of Hydes after six pints or so and a few missed a few buses home. it’s nice to be in a pub that doesn’t feel like they want you to leave if you don’t order food which seems to be what’s happening further out of town. Gastro-pubs don’t really care about beer they just want food money. Speaking of food at that point we needed some food. So in traditional stationary crawl tradition we went to Wetherspoons. Whoever invented the beer and burger is a genius but I’m unsure if they were on the side of good or evil.

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They had Jaipur on as well so I ordered that but it was a mistake because it’s so strong. Jaipur is lovely fruity and surprisingly easy to drink but it’s 5.9% so I could only manage half(don’t worry Chantelle finished it). I don’t remember much after that. It was a good day.

The Tiger Lounge

It has been quite a while fellow drinkers that I have been out and had anything to write about. We go for quality over quantity here which, depending how the mood takes us, is also how we like our alcohol.

I started off the evening by having a EPA(English pale ale) with my dinner which was ok. If I was out I’d use it as a standard inbetweener kind of drink rather than something I would enjoy but you know beggars can’t be choosers.

We had been invited to a friends leaving do at the Tiger Lounge in Manchester and interestingly, no one from my close drinking fraternity had ever been. Which is odd because we have been to most places. What put us off, I think, is that it kind of looks like a strip club from the outside(my girlfriend disagrees with this).

Tigers are big pussies.

Tigers are big pussies.

It’s kind of a bar pretending to be a club. You don’t have to pay in until later though which means you can get in early and take advantage of the two cocktails for £5 offer which lasts until around 11. We arrived around 9 and it was still very quiet. Descending down the stairs into the gloom it smelled a bit but once you got used to that it was quite nice. It has seating all around the outside of the room with a few little cubbies off the main room and a small dance floor in the middle. It was quite bright as well so I could see where I was going.

There was a good range of cocktails on the 2 for a fiver menu like Mai Tai, Long Island ice tea, White Russian, cosmopolitan. I had two Tequila Sunrises, I like tequila sunrise. I like that it’s thicker at the bottom. Normally on these deals you get mainly juice but this blew my head off, it was the real thing there was a similar reaction from my fellow drinkers as well.

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They had San Miguel and Carling on the bar plus Guinness, I think they had Rekorderlig as well but my memory and head are a little hazy this morning so I’m not entirely trust worthy. After 4 tequila sunrises I was nicely inebriated. The music was excellent, all Motown, blues and funk record which we really enjoyed but we were still able to talk making this a good night and a good bar/club.

However the problem comes when the cocktail deal runs out and each cocktail is around £4.50 which makes the price of your evening rocket up past 11. To finish my friend bought a straight double vodka for something like £4.70 I’m not a fan of vodka but that stuff was rough… Now we know how the cocktails can be so cheap.

We were flagging at this point so instead of going home as a compromise we went to the old favourite the Wetherspoons Waterhouse which is next door. We all know it’s pretty cheap in there and we had one more round. There is a debate raging about what to drink after cocktails, wine doesn’t mix, ale is definitely too heavy, shorts are good if you can drink some more sweet stuff but I went with a bottled lager. Sticking with the tequila theme of the evening I went with a Desperado which is Tequila beer and I’ve been OK today so the mix can’t have been too bad.

Tequila flavoured beer. What could go wrong?

Tequila flavoured beer. What could go wrong?

Then we got turfed out by a man who sounded like he was the unwilling collaborator in a prison escape movie and the police are about to show up as he told us ‘you have to leave’. So we did.

Black Dogs and Englishmen

I went out for a friends birthday on Saturday and unusually I deceided to drink lager. I had a couple of stubbies before we went out and decided that I’d stay on lager to avoid mixing the fizziness of lager with ale.

Let me say now I have decided that lager does not agree with me. It’s not that I’m an ale buff and I think lager is bad and the mark of the devil, it’s more that it doesn’t suit me. Like putting diesel in a petrol engine, it fucks everything up.

tuborg

So I had the stubbies then we went to Wetherspoons as a special stage on the way to the main event. At this point I had Tuborg which is pretty nice… for a lager. Lagers taste much of a sameness to me. The thing is I can tell a high quality one from a low budget hangover juice but the difference is much more subtle than ale. So I think Tuborg is pretty much in the middle of the road, though it’s very fizzy. So I had a desperado for my next drink. Which if you haven’t tried it is great stuff, it’s tequila flavoured beer! You can only get it bottled but it’s very refreshing and not too fizzy. Wetherspoons was good ‘n’ cheap as usual and that’s all I can say on that one, though I regret not getting some ale.

the waterhouse

desperado

We then moved on to the Garret which was the staging area for the birthday party. It has to be one of the ugliest pubs in Manchester. The Garret is one of those pubs that was cool when you were 18. It always seems to be too busy, there’s no ale which is why I hadn’t bothered with any all night. Despite how it looks it isn’t cheap either with most lagers being well over the £3 mark, well over…

This was the best picture I could find it's like the photographer was trying to avoid showing it in all it's grim glory.

This was the best picture I could find it’s like the photographer was trying to avoid showing it in all it’s grim glory.

The best thing you can get in there are the £8 pitchers of cocktail and it keeps all the dicks out of the good pubs, like some sort of knobhead magnet. I had kronenburg though, it’s definitely a lager… In hindsight I should have moved on to cocktails, this is where the headache started to develop. The other problem with the Garret is it’s next to 5th Avenue so you get studenty people pre-drinking which is never pretty plus the weird old guys who watch all the girls and try to re-live their 20’s. It’s pretty obvious they don’t belong, you can see their beer bellies.

Yup it's lager...

Yup it’s lager…

It’s very cramped in there as well when it gets busy. Plus we’ve been kicked out before when some bitch claimed my friend had pushed her in the toilets and she was ‘friends’ with the managers. So yeah maybe I don’t like the Garret there’s nothing to drink the people in there are usually idiots and the music to loud which is the final nail in the coffin because what’s the point of being in the pub when you can’t talk to people, not that you’d want to talk to anyone in there. Also there are TVs on the wall it’s like all my pet hates rolled into one. No-ones watching them, turn them off!

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This is where we move to the new Blackdog Ballroom off Oxford Road near the Thirsty Scholar and Font. I thought this was just going to be the usual club style, pay to get in, be forced to sit in a loud room while other people dance and I don’t. It wasn’t like that at all, there are three levels a top bar, a lower bar and a club level below. We didn’t have to pay in which is always good in my book, this became interesting when we could sit comfortably upstairs and talk without loud music, in a club! It was nice I have to say but again it was a bit pricey. £3.70 for a pint of Tuborg though it came in an actual glass, in a club! It’s like they trust you or something.

We lost the birthday girl in a haze of alcohol and our party of four split the drinkers stayed upstairs and the dancers went downstairs and for one I actually had a good time in a club. It was comfortable, not too loud and had a bit of atmosphere. There are big comfy sofas and we availed ourselves on these whilst we drank and waited for our dancing friends. I should now mention they had cocktails as well, these were £6 each so not the cheapest but then again unlike most clubs it was a comfortable place to drink. So you know I’m all for it. There were loads of pool tables as well which were busy but definitely a nice touch. We would have been better meeting in there and just moving downstairs when we felt like it instead of suffering through the Garrett.

Now normally this is where these reviews end but my hangover the next day after drinking lager (which I don’t normally drink) gets special mention. It was like the tiny men inside my head were all on pogo sticks trying to escape by hitting their heads against my skull. So it was impressive to say the least. So to sum up, lager bad for me, I don’t like the Garret and I found a club that I like. It was an interesting weekend.