The Central Manchester Slow Pub Crawl - Day 15


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Day 15 - Tuesday 10th February 2004 (Map)

Pub 111 - Kro 2 (Oxford Road)

Barney is there already as spaceman is 10 minutes late again.  Good old barney has a seat, a table and two pints of Fosters waiting (which cost 4.60 for the pair).  But the seats are the near the door and it's quite breezy whenever anyone comes in or out.  The bar has a large glass front and a big green neon sign above it.  There are Danish specialities on the menu, according to barney.  It's Danish-owned, replies spaceman (see their website for more details).  We discuss notes for a possible new feature - a page-by-page pub guide.  We think it might feature such things as name, address, website, picture, the presence or absence of pool tables, quiz machines, food and happy hours, opening hours, pub rating, nearby food outlets, and toilet rating (spaceman's speciality, says barney).


It's quite full in here - full of (bloody) students, no doubt.  But we are on the edge of studentville.  Barney has already said that Monsoon's is a compulsory visit.  It seems that, already, there's only one thing on barney's mind, or rather stomach.  It's a bit of an isolated pub on our pub crawl, we think (but not, as it turns out).  There are cakes on the bar, spaceman notices.  There's a beer garden out that back, which is good in the summer, despite the presence of the Mancunian Way overhead (which signifies the very boundary of the slow pub crawl area).  We head back towards town...


Pub 112 - Revolution (Oxford Road)

As mentioned above, we discover that it's not, in fact, a long walk to the next pub along Oxford Road, which is Revolution.  It's right next to Monsoon's, which doubtless pleases barney.  We ask for two pints of Carlsberg and the barmaid tells us it will cost 3, which she confirms, rather bizarrely, by looking at her watch.  It looks a little odd and forces barney to comment that it must be a clever watch.  Spaceman guesses that it is because happy hour ends at 7pm - the barmaid confirms that spaceman is correct.  It's a little more cosy and warm in here than in Kro 2, with soft leather chairs (but more upright and less yielding than your typical armchair).  Barney says that we should have got a shot of vodka to go with our beers as Revolution is full of the stuff.  We finish our drinks and reluctantly move onwards...


Pub 113 - The Font (New Wakefield Street)

We get two pints of Fosters for 4.60 and find a table near the bar, where spaceman can watch the Playstation 2's Pro Evolution Soccer 3 being played on a big screen in the corner that you can't fail to notice in the corner of the bar.  Spaceman thought this was religious place, although there are no obvious signs of this now, it seems, save for a "The Messiah" painting stood against the wall.  Barney, idly looking round (barney does no other way), spots a table football, er, table and some fruit machines (they're down some, but not many, stairs) and another, more mysterious, downward-leading staircase (probably where the toilets are?).  Barney also notices a brown sofa (surprise), this time opposite a red sofa.  As we head out, we notice a sign advertising Sunday nights as "soul night", with a dress code of no tracksuits or Rockport...


Pub 114 - Pure Space (New Wakefield Street)

It's a quieter here than at the Font.  We get two pints of Castlemaine XXXX for 4.40 and have our choice of tables.  It's larger here, with more, and bigger, brown sofas, one of which we go for.  This used to be Generation X nearly two years ago, spaceman thinks.  Barney browses the Valentine's menu as spaceman goes into a sneezing fit.  Must be dusty in here.  The roof garden here is nice, says barney - in the summer, anyway.  Barney succumbs to the bladder already - surely a first.  Next door to here is Sub Space, which is a related, currently shut, club.  Neither of us have been.  Except barney.  Who has been loads of times.  (Barney's only comment on the place would be that it gets hot.  And they tend to overdo the smoke machine.)  Onwards we go...


Pub 115 - The Thirsty Scholar (James Louis Street, off Oxford Road)

As we enter, we notice a DJ setting up (or, in fact, a band, as it turns out to be later), but the jukebox is still playing for now.  Barney gets two pints of Castlemaine XXXX in for 4.60 (again!) as spaceman runs to the loo.  On returning, spaceman opts for playing on a fruit machine.  After five minutes of clueless playing, but still breaking even, we decide to call it quits and sit down.  Laziness prevents us from looking at what's on the jukebox.  At first, it seems to be a bit old-fashioned, but then Oasis comes on.  It's moderately busy in here tonight and starts to hot up as the band's start time approaches.  Unfortunately, our busy schedule means that we have to miss the band and carry on to the next pub along, which isn't too far away at all (in fact all that pubs tonight are in close proximity)...


Pub 116 - The Salisbury (James Louis Street, off Oxford Road)

Two pints of Fosters cost 4.60 here - is there some sort of cartel in operation (except during Revolution's happy hour, of course).  On our way to our chosen seats, we spy a pool table, two fruit machines and a broken quiz machine.  Well, it's not switched on, anyway.  Barney notes that System Of A Down are playing on the stereo and can't believe that barney has never seen this place, having been to the Attic (the club above the Thirsty Scholar) before.  This is one of those intricately laid out pubs, with lots of little rooms shooting off from the main bar area.  There are a few people in here tonight, but it's not hugely busy (but the pool table and jukebox are occupied).  An old-fashioned framed sign on the wall nearby promotes, amongst other things, "original sugar worm cakes", which, apparently, "have immense sales both home and abroad; will keep in any climate".  No thank you.


Spaceman, the naughty boy, decides to switch on the quiz machine in front of us, for something to do (not that barney's conversation is anything less than scintillating).  It takes ages to start up, and looks like the standard start-up of a normal computer, but by the time it does get to it's destination, we find we have a 50p credit.  Bonus!  The last laugh, however, is on us, as the touch screen system is less than perfect.  After a few unsuccessful goes on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire (where at one point we accidentally selected answer 'C' by pressing on answer 'A', somewhat bizarrely), we switch to Weakest Link.  Bad choice.  This being a answer-as-many-questions-correctly-in-a-limited-timescale kinda game, a responsive touch screen system is imperative.  In a 90-second round, taking 40 or 50 seconds just to answer one question, hilariously by banging and stroking the screen in various, ever more inventive, ways to try and get it to notice that we're trying to select 'A' like there's no tomorrow.  We slump back in our seats dejected, two pounds lighter, but nevertheless amused.  We now know why it was switched off.  To save further chaos, spaceman duly switches the machine back off.  We decide to get going...


Pub 117 - Grand Central (Oxford Road)

Fruit machines?  Check.  Jukebox?  Check.  Pool table?  Check.  Two pints of lager (this time Fosters) for 4.60?  Check.  Full of students?  Check.  A pub that doesn't disappoint, then; but at least it's been done up a bit since spaceman last came here.  An open-plan, wooden-floored bar replaces the sweaty, smoky little pub it used to be.  There are sofas too, but we take to some stools.  It's more spacious in here than you'd give it credit for given the view from the outside.  The pool table is free (from occupation, not in monetary terms) and we can't resist.  Spaceman shows some early, alcohol-fuelled form and races into a 2-0 lead, but barney drags it back to 2-2 before we finish our drinks and leave...


Pub 118 - Cornerhouse Bar (Oxford Road/Whitworth Street West)

Ouch - two pints of Heineken (the new 5% stuff) set us back 5.50, easily the priciest of the night.  Spaceman is a bit confused as the bar has moved since spaceman's last visit.  The barman does indeed confirm that they've had a refurbishment (sounds like a good business to be in) and the layout was changed around.  We sit in fairly uncomfortable seats.  When pressed for a comment on this bar, barney merely says "pretentious".  There was a plentiful selection of beer on offer, all offered from long taps.  Conversation, with lager, has slowed somewhat, and energy levels are falling.  We head off to our last pub of the night, although barney wants to push to 10...


Pub 119 - The Temple (Oxford Road)

This is a great little place, hidden away down some stairs opposite Elemental on Oxford Road.  It used to be toilets - hence its former name The Temple Of Convenience - but now it offers a vast array of world lagers.  As spaceman returns from the toilet, barney has purchased two pints of Krombacher for 5.40.  Another pricey one, then.  Spaceman trots over to the jukebox, which has an excellent selection of modern music, to put on a few tracks, including one or two Spiritualized numbers.  Frustratingly, the barman turns off the jukebox halfway through the selection, to spaceman's protestations.  "Do you want your pound back?" asks the barman.  "Yes please" replies spaceman quickly, and pockets the pound offered.  Monsoon has become less of an option now, as we've gone further away, as is the possibility of a tenth pub.  Spaceman decides that cheese on toast at home is the best course of action and the merry drinkers go their separate ways into the dark, snowless night...



On to day 16