The Pilcrow, The Pilcrow, Sadler’s Yard, Hanover Street, NOMA, Manchester, M60 0AB – Visit Now
Back in December 2015, The Pilcrow Pub first opened its ‘site’ to the public. The initial opening was delayed – something to do with a couple of hundred beer mats and an open flame – but when it happened, in truth, there wasn’t much to actually see: just a fenced off gravelly area in the undeveloped Sadler’s Yard on Hanover Street, Manchester’s newest public square. There were plenty of clues about what to expect in months to come, as well as a wire structure of what the pub would look like. But why did it take The Pilcrow best part of a year to sell its first beer?
Manchester had to build it first.
And so, for 10 months, swarms of enthusiastic volunteers flooded each and every workshop held to help build the pub; led by professional craftspeople, Mancunians made bar-stools, beer pump handles, willow-woven flower baskets, tables, tiles much more. Their skills and ideas helped dictate the direction of the build. “If me and you would’ve been left to design it, it wouldn’t look like this,” says Project Manager Ben Young to Head-Maker Joe Hartley on the night that The Pilcrow finally opened as a proper, functioning pub.
The third musketeer of the OH OK LTD team behind it all is Jess Higham, Head of Communications. All three were visibly emotional when handing over the pub to All Our Yesterdays LTD and now owners Paul Jones, co-founder of Cloudwater Brewery, and Jonny Heyes, the man behind Common Bar.
The Pilcrow has been dubbed “the pub that Manchester built”. The idea was that there are now people in the city who have bragging rights over the bar-stool they put together, or that beer pump handle they helped make. Everything about The Pilcrow screams Manchester, boasting unique wooden craftsmanship inside and out. The building is long and thin with floor to ceiling glass panels spaced out along the side encouraging you to look out into Sadler’s Yard, but also to draw the neighbourhood in. The hanging baskets of flowers give some colour to the nearly exclusively wooden interior.
Whether you’ve been to a workshop, turned up for a pint, or wrote an article for Creative Tourist about it (cough), you’ll feel a sense of ownership over the place. You find yourself telling friends about it and checking @ThePilcrowPub on Twitter for the latest news; rumour has it the next workshops are already being planned. But, for now – you did it Manchester, you built a pub.