Could there be a more controversial title to woo intrepid punters into a fierce debate? Everyone has a favourite pub, and truly there can be no definitive list of the best boozers – the best pubs are filled with memories of heady nights and ghosts of sessions past. With that in mind, we’ve ignored every bit of common sense and compiled our own indisputable list of Manchester’s best pubs. Forgive us.
- The iconic pub: Sinclair’s Oyster Bar
Let’s get the obvious one out of the way first. Situated in the heart of Manchester, with the Arndale centre opening out onto this historic pub, Sinclair’s is as famous for its architecture as it is for its cheap pints. So it may get busy (good luck finding an outdoor seat in the summer), but we couldn’t not mention this icon of the Manchester pub scene.
- The cosy pub: The Castle Hotel
Is it a bar? Is it a pub? It’s certainly not a hotel. The Castle has existed on Oldham Street under some guise or other since 1776. With history on its side, The Castle proves its pub bragging rights with a competent selection of beers and a no-nonsense interior that is cosy, comfy and snug.
- The alternative pub: The Molly House
Located in the heart of Manchester’s Gay Village, The Molly House is a fantastic pub grounded in the vibrant local community. Tucked away from the heady chaos of Canal Street, The Molly House provides a comforting rest-stop for those looking for a pint, a plate and a spot of good conversation.
- The waterside pub: The Wharf
Come sun or shine, this waterfront pub pulls its weight. The Wharf may have only been built in the 90s, but it oozes old-world charm and character – the interior is firelit, wood-panelled and strewn with plush chairs to sink into. The extensive beer garden does the heavy lifting, however. When the sun shines you can bask, watching over the picturesque Bridgewater Canal whilst the buzz of Castlefield passes you by.
- The live-music pub: Eagle Inn
A quality live-music pub in Manchester’s northern cousin, Salford, The Eagle Inn is a pub that forefronts environmental responsibility and community cohesion. So far so good. The interior is classic pub vibes with dark wood, bookcases and even a piano – hey, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.
- The pub with the ceiling: Crown and Kettle
Don’t be surprised if, upon wandering into this pub, the punters are staring upwards, mouths agape. The Crown and Kettle is rightly famed for its ornate ceiling, but this Ancoats treasure is so much more. Staying true to the public house spirit, The Crown and Kettle eschew booking in favour of walk-ins only.
- The no-thrills pub: The Orion
A little off the beaten track, The Orion pub in Withington won’t feature on many ‘best-of’ lists, but trust us when we say it’s worth the trip. A true no-thrills boozer that gives you a seat, a glass of the good stuff and a host of regulars to converse with. It’s a quality pub with all the touchpoints of a reliable local: mixed clientele, regular quizzes and TVs for the sport.
- The haunted pub: Mother Mac’s
Adorably renamed after a former landlady, Mother Mac’s has played host to a few not so adorable scenes in its macabre past. The site of a murder-suicide spree in 1976, Mother Mac’s wears its bloody history proudly. Despite the gore, the pub offers a warm welcome to all, and this mix of murder and hospitality lets it stand out in the busy Manchester pub scene.
- The countryside pub: The Fletcher Moss Pub, Didsbury
A true gem of a pub, hidden away in the far reaches of Manchester’s poshest enclave, Didsbury. This is a quaint pub done right, no kitsch or twee, just great drinks and a truly local atmosphere. Worth the bus fare.
- The pub with the floor: The Marble Arch
If The Crown and Kettle have Manchester’s most famous pub ceiling, then The Marble Arch claims the most famous floor. The sloping mosaic at your feet conveys you to the bar where you’ll have to choose between 9 hand-pulled cask beers. Even writing that sentence got our hearts pumping. A true Manc Institution.