Eight pubs with real pulling power
FROM cool city retreat to edge of countryside boozers - they are all pubs of the year in Greater Manchester.
CAMRA has unveiled the best watering holes in the county, one of which will be crowned overall winner and go forward to a national final.
The local winners have been chosen by local branches of CAMRA for their quality of ale, value for money, customer service, and decor.
The eight best pubs in the region are:
Trafford & Hulme branch: Knott Bar, Manchester.
Bolton - Victoria and Albert, Horwich.
Wigan - John Bull Chophouse.
North Manchester - Crown & Kettle, Ancoats, Manchester.
South East Lancs - Pendle Witch, Atherton.
Stockport and South Manchester - The Magnet, Stockport.
High peak and North East Cheshire - Harewood Arms, Broadbottom.
Rochdale Oldham and Bury - The Baum, Rochdale.
April is CAMRA’s community pubs month this year.
Tom Stainer, CAMRA Head of Communications, said: “It is about highlighting the important role pubs play in community life and no pubs are better examples of fantastic locals than CAMRA branch winners.
“Each one of them has been judged the best in their respective area and are well worth seeking out for any would-be ale lovers.
“Recent CAMRA research showed 75 per cent of pub-goers believe a well-run community pub is as important to community life as a post office, local shop or community centre – but despite this 29 pubs are still being lost in the UK every week.
“Pubs play an essential role in our communities and are clearly very highly valued, but despite this are still being lost at an alarming rate across the UK.
“The best way people can protect their local’s future is by getting down there and supporting it – which is why throughout April CAMRA will be calling on people to visit their local pub and support an important British industry.”
Simon Crompton, 42, has been at The Baum in Rochdale for 22 years, as barman, manager, and now landlord with wife Heidi.
Three years ago the popular alehouse won national pub of the year, and it has picked up a raft of other accolades.
Simon said: “You learn something new every week when you run a pub. We’ve been here 22 years but it’s completely changed since then. It looks totally different and a lot of people won’t expect this, but the smoking ban has really helped.
“With it, lots more people will now come into our pub, families, women - and now if you don’t do food in your pub, you’re losing a lot of your customers.”
“We have seven hand pumps for real ale and one real cider pump. We probably go through about 20 per week, the ales are always changing.
“The pub has wooden floors, a beer garden, and different areas to the pub. There’s something for everyone here.
“The secret to success is standards and continuity. Great staff, too. We don’t want continual changing staff, we want to keep hold of them and look after them. We support local ales.”
Phil and Yvonne Wild have only been at the Harewood Arms for 18 months and are already making an impression.
Phil, 61, said: “We sell five real ales and the best selling one is probably the Greenmill Gold Ale. It’s our weakest so that always sells well.
“We came fourth in the country last year, so it’s good to be named again.
“We’re quite a traditional pub here, with open fires, ales. But we sell all the normal stuff as well. Your Carlings and ciders. We have the oldest beer in the world here as well, from Germany.”
“The secret to our success is hard work. Hard work and good beer!
“We’ve had a brewery for about eight years now, my son and myself. but there’s been a massive increase in breweries in the last couple of years, I think there’s in excess of about 50 in Greater Manchester now.
“So we wanted to get our own pub and sell them there. So we moved to Broadbottom.”
The Knott Bar, under railway arches at the bottom of Manchester’s Deansgate, is a magnet for real ale hunters and students.
It has eight craft beers and won best bar for region in 2010.
Simon Carroll, 31, Manager, said: “It’s a lovely place to work here, great atmosphere. We have everything from trendy young kids to 60-year-old guys coming in because they love ale.
“We have lots of different ales, from local to national. We’re trying to find the best ever ale. We only sell the best. We know about beer here.”