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.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Sandbar

    Image courtesy 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.

  • 2. Marble Arch Pub

    Ben Williams

    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.

  • 3. Port Street Beer House

    Port Street Beer House Father's Day
    Ben Williams

    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.

  • 4. GRUB Manchester

    GRUB Mayfield
    Courtesy of Mayfield Manchester

    GRUB Manchester, Baring Street, Manchester , Manchester, M1 2AD - 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.

  • 5. The Knott

    Ben Williams

    The Knott, 374 Deansgate, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M3 4LY - Visit now

    Nestled among the railway arches at the bottom of Deansgate, The Knott is a handy little boozer with a great selection of beers and a decent-if-not-brilliant choice of food. The balcony is a dry outdoor space perfect for watching the high-heeled struggle on their way down the cobbled road to Albert’s Shed.

  • 6. BrewDog Manchester

    Ben Williams

    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.

  • 7. The Smithfield Market Tavern

    Ben Williams

    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.

  • 8. 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.

  • 9. The Pilcrow

    The exterior of The Pilcrow
    The Pilcrow.

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

    The Pilcrow is “the pub that Manchester built” – over 10 months of volunteer workshops. Beautifully constructed, it’s an unusual community boozer in the new NOMA district.

  • 10. Cask

    Ben Williams

    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.

  • 11. Beatnikz Republic

    Beatnikz Republic
    Beatnikz

    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.

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
Light Falls at the Royal Exchange. Credit: Manuel Harlan
Theatre 24 October–16 November 2019, from £7.00

Light Falls at the Royal Exchange

Cinema 10–14 November 2019, from £9

Manchester Animation Festival at HOME

Exhibitions 20 July 2019–5 January 2020, from £6

The Sun at the Science and Industry Museum

HOME
Festivals 1 January–31 December 2019,

HOME 2019 Season

Hallé
Classical Music 19 September 2019–30 May 2020,

The Hallé 2019-20 Season

Manchester Christmas Markets 2020
Families 8 November–21 December 2019, FREE

Manchester Christmas Markets

Music 30 January–31 December 2019, from £19.62

Striking Gold Piano Series at The Stoller Hall

Music 15 October–12 December 2019, from £5

RNCM Autumn Season

Activity 20 October 2018–31 December 2019, FREE

Documentary Challenge at IWM North