Craft Beer in Manchester

Ben Williams, Managing Editor

There was once a time, not all that long ago really, when words like ‘craft beer’ and ‘real ale’ conjured images of warm, flat pints of Robbie’s stewing by an overflowing ashtray on a wonky table between the always-about-to-drop fruit machine and the twenty pence piece laden pool table. Not these days, the extinction of the pool table and once-affordable price of a pint aside (you know who you are), it’s a great time to be alive and drinking beer.

Where Manchester and Salford once had crumbling railway arches, we now have microbreweries watched over by wizard-like beardos serving up a mind-boggling choice of delicious beers to the city’s pubs. The brewery-ran boozers have either gotten their acts together or disappeared completely. Here’s a few of our favorite purveyors of quality beer.

What are you waiting for? Hop to it.

Our top picks

Sandbar

Sandbar, 120 Grosvenor Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 7HL - Visit now

Sandbar, just off Oxford Road in Manchester, is a well-loved watering hole, with a great selection of ales and some pretty irresistible  stone-baked pizza.

Image courtesy Sandbar.

Marble Arch Pub

Marble Arch Pub, 73 Rochdale Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M4 4HY - Visit now

Before I was introduced to Marble Beers, I mistakenly thought real ale was exclusive to middle-aged men nursing pot bellies beneath Iron Maiden t-shirts. Way before the trustafarians began slapping £7 price tags on tiny cans of uber-local beers scrawled with cartoons, Marble were producing the best stuff in town at an unbelievably reasonable price. They’re still good value and easily remain one of the best in town. The Arch itself is a beautiful pub with a food menu almost as appealing as its beers. You can also find Marble on Thomas Street and in Chorlton.

Ben Williams

Port Street Beer House

Port Street Beer House, 39-41 Port Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M1 2EQ - Visit now

Ideal for the true beer aficionado, the wide-windowed Port Street has an unrivalled selection of speciality ales – from seven handpulls, eighteen draft lines and over a hundred bottled beers – to be enjoyed in its ground floor bar, upstairs lounge or small beer garden space at the back.

Port Street Beer House Father's Day
Ben Williams

GRUB Manchester

GRUB Manchester, 50 Red Bank, Cheetham Hill, Manchester, M4 4HF - Visit now

Manchester’s legendary independent street food festival GRUB has found a permanent home behind Piccadilly Station, open every weekend and the choice of craft beer here can be superb.

BrewDog Manchester

BrewDog Manchester, 35 Peter Street, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M2 5BG - Visit now

Ahh BrewDog, the brewery the media love to hate. Okay, you now find their beers filling the fridges of Tesco and the publicity stunts got a little old, but the beer is good and their bar on Peter Street is a nice spot.

Ben Williams

The Smithfield Market Tavern

The Smithfield Market Tavern, 37 Swan St, Manchester, M4 5JZ

While it looks a lot like a traditional pub, you won’t find a sticky floor or the smell of stale beer. What you will find is darts, billiards, skittles and an excellent line-up of ales.

Ben Williams

The New Oxford

The New Oxford, 11 Bexley Square, Salford, Manchester, M3 6DB - Visit now

16 changing cask ales, 12 continental beers on draft and a “world beer menu” with over 100 bottled European beers, need I say more? Bexley Square is a lovely spot in the summer and the New Oxford is an essential stop on your Sounds from the Other City itinerary. During the winter, it’s just the right amount of cozy.

The New Oxford

Sadler’s Cat

Sadler’s Cat, The Pilcrow, Sadler’s Yard, Hanover Street, NOMA, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M60 0AB - Visit now

The Pilcrow is now Sadler’s Cat, a contemporary community pub at the heart of the NOMA neighbourhood. Overlooking Sadler’s Yard.

The exterior of The Pilcrow
The Pilcrow.

Cask

Cask, 29 Liverpool Road, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4NQ

Not strictly “real ale” specialist and certainly not the first choice for local brews, but it’s impossible to argue with Cask’s selection of continental beers. If you like yours bottled and north of 8%, look no further.

Ben Williams

Beatnikz Republic

Beatnikz Republic, 35 Dale Street, Manchester, M1 2HF - Visit now

Beatnikz Republic Brewing Company is a microbrewery based in Manchester which has focused on innovative and high-quality beer since 2017.

Beatnikz Republic
Beatnikz

Where to go in Manchester

Finders Keepers
Ancoats
Bar or Pub
Finders Keepers

Welcoming waterside bar in New Islington Marina, serving a wide array of carefully-curated cocktails.

City Centre
Restaurant
Climat

Highly-regarded wine-led, French-leaning wine bar and rooftop restaurant in the city centre.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Henry C

Henry C is an intimate neighbourhood bar in Chorlton, serving up superb quality drinks.

Manchester
Restaurant
11 Central

11 Central is a new bar and microbrewery launched by local brewing legends SEVEN BRO7HERS BREWING CO at the Central Bay site in Salford.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Kennedy’s Irish Bar

A fan favourite in Altrincham, Kennedy’s Irish Bar offers live music, a vibrant atmosphere and undoubtable Irish charm and hospitality.

Manchester
Restaurant
Axe & Cleaver

This is the perfect pub for an indulgent weekend, following up a long countryside walk with a hearty and high quality meal.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
On Bar

This multifaceted venue is primarily an award winning gay bar in Manchester’s Canal Street area – but that is not all…

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Vanilla

This award winning bar is open six nights a week due to popular demand. Described as the ‘mecca of the north’ for the lesbian community, it is no wonder why.

Manchester
Bar or Pub
Cruz 101

Everything you want in a Canal Street club can be found here. Cruz 101 – better known as Cruz – is an institution, and a must-visit in Manchester.

Salford
Restaurant
Old Pint Pot

This lively spot could be considered a jack of all trades – pub, restaurant, events space and live music venue.

Manchester
Restaurant
Public

New to Stevenson’s Square, Public is the Northern Quarter’s new local, from the team behind Evelyn’s.

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