Castle HotelMatthew Britton
Is there a more well-liked Manchester pub than this? At the Castle Hotel on Oldham Street, slap bang in the middle of the Northern Quarter, you’ll struggle to get yourself a table – at pretty much any time of the day, any day of the week. And that’s even with the addition of an upstairs room.
The 200 year-old boozer has, like so many of the city’s drinking dens, a musical past. It was here, for example, that John Peel interviewed Ian Curtis for the Northern Lights ‘zine, and where for over 30 years local bands have played live gigs. Despite its history, though, the Castle wasn’t without its problems. By the early 2000s, the building had fallen into disrepair. When it closed in 2008 there were some who wondered if it would ever open again, but luckily entrepreneurs Jonny Booth and Rupert Hill stepped in, expertly renovating the place. The pub re-opened in 2009.
This is the preferred choice of boozer for pretty much everyone in the Northern Quarter
A selection of the finest ales and the elaborate Victorian interior now make the Castle the preferred choice of boozer for pretty much everyone in the Northern Quarter. The pub’s cramped back room is where you go for live music, and the cheap rents and incredibly low capacity (capacity is officially 80, but it’d be a push to get over 50 people in here) mean it’s a great testing ground for new bands, whilst keeping a remarkably even standard. Mercury Prize winners Alt-J played here in the not-too-distant past – don’t be surprised if next year’s winners have already passed through The Castle’s doors too.