The Central Manchester Slow Pub Crawl - Day 4


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Day 4 - Tuesday 21st January 2003 (Map)

Pub 25 - The Living Room (Deansgate)

Bar 10 thwarts us once more - this time it's closed, obviously not fancying a Tuesday night of barely trading.  It's been a long time since barney and spaceman last furthered the pub crawl.  But after the winter break we're refreshed and raring to go.  Sort of.  Showing unprecedented commitment, barney has bought a flat in the centre of Manchester - just, it seems, so that it makes it easier to conduct the pub crawl.  Wow.  Two pints of Carling are ordered for £4.80 - barney steps forward for this round and thus continues a run tonight of buying the most expensive beers.  It's about time, spaceman muses.


We discuss barney's new location, somewhere near Piccadilly (whatever that means, spaceman hasn't seen it yet).  Barney is very much looking forward to the Jolly Angler, the new local that barney hasn't tried yet.  Spaceman isn't.  We look around.  The Living Room is quite a trendy place - it looks good, stylish.  It's certainly popular with the punters as it's pretty full in here tonight.  Barney mentions ownership of a parking space 1 mile from the new flat, but it's free so who cares.  It's prompting barney to sell the, now superfluous, car that is parked there.


We sit in a semi-circular open-planned booth of which there are many lining the right-hand wall (although at first barney says "finger" when spaceman points at our seating place and asks for a description...).  A barman gets cocky with his bottle juggling skills - we only notice because of the sound of him dropping one.  But he carries on regardless.  Spaceman had forgotten that we have to move on after each pint and is reluctant to move - but there is a higher ambition driving us on, out the door and a short walk left to...


Pub 26 - Moon Under Water (Deansgate)

Spaceman had heard that this was the biggest pub in Europe - but how long ago was this?  Surely it can't still be the case, although it is deceptively large.  Still, who cares when two pints of Carling set us back a mere £2.58 (spaceman's round - heh heh).  However, we think this should have been £2.78 looking at the menu of drinks offers on the table we sit at.  Double bargain!  It's no surprise really, though, as Waterspoon's pubs are traditionally cheap - see the Waterhouse entry for a discussion on the reason for this (barney has swiftly bored of it).  Mind you, the décor (or lack of it) probably helps.  It's done out like a bad student bar that hasn't been done up in years.


Barney's bothered 'cos we can't see the ceiling from where we're sat, bless him.  We again peruse the myriad of menus in front of us.  Curry club only on Thursdays - dammit!  But it's enough to get us in the mood as we start discussing somewhere to eat.  We had contemplated here but we've already eaten at a Wetherspoon's so spaceman isn't keen.  (Barney, spaceman feels, would eat anywhere.)  Beers drained we move on in the same direction up Deansgate, but even less far, to...


Pub 27 - RSVP (Deansgate)

This is quieter than the two previous places - mind you it is only a Tuesday night.  The Living Room, one of the places you are likely to see a celeb, is clearly an exception to the rule.  The place must make a killing.  Anyway, back to RSVP where barney gets a round of Heinekens in for £4.30.  Spaceman can't even wait to sit down and dashes down the stairs to the toilets.  Above the stairs a sign says "please be careful when walking down the stairs" and spaceman wonders who exactly this is addressed to.  Surely sober people can manage stairs if they're old enough to be allowed in the pub, and drunk people just aren't going to notice when they stagger down.  It's like one of those useless government information films - "don't! put your hand in hot oil!" (although admittedly, spaceman did do that once, the idiot).


The toilet area, meanwhile, is very spacious if a little smelly.  We find little else to say about the place (from memory there are vision distracting TV screens showing non-TV stuff that repeats after about 10 minutes and starts driving you crazy).  There is a nice area on the right that is just made up, basically, of settees - always a good option.  Errr.. and that's it.  Across Deansgate, down by the side of the (not so new any more) Marks and Spencers, and time for...


Pub 28 - The Crown and Anchor (Cateaton Street)

A bit more of an old man's pub, this.  No recognised brands of lager here - we are faced with a choice of Crystal and Diamond.  Spaceman tentatively asks which is the stronger.  On being told that this is Diamond, spaceman immediately opts for two pints Crystal, costing £2.80.  This is possibly a mistake as the beer tastes rough.  As barney has since noted, it was fine while drinking it - it was just the after taste that had spaceman's nose wrinkling in disgust. Well, at least it's cheap.  At the time, however, barney didn't seem to mind it.  The nearby heater/filter thingy makes lots of noise, but we can still make out the 60s hits.  Barney reckons that it is a bit of real ale pub.


Spaceman has a surprisingly weak bladder tonight and makes excuses to nip to the gents again.  Grotty toilets await with a large central puddle which spaceman avoids and quietly hopes is water.  On the way to the toilets, spaceman notices another bar which is not open tonight, down a couple of stairs.  Presumably this is more used during the summer months when the area around this pub and the surrounding ones is full of beery revellers, sat in the Mancunian sunshine.  Honest.  The beer's aftertaste as it is, the best policy turns out to be to finish the beers as quickly as possible.  The appearance of the clientele don't exactly discourage this - while looking harmless, they also look friendless.  Just before we leave, we come to the conclusion that we will pay old favourite Shimla Pinks a visit after the crawl has finished.  For now, though, it's time for the next pub along in the little semi-circle...


Pub 29 - The Old Wellington (Cateaton Street)

Which turns out to be this pub and not the Mitre Hotel which is suffering from Tuesday night blues and, like Bar 10, is shut.  Two pints of Carling for £4.10 later and we're sat in the corner of a largely deserted pub.  This place was moved 300 metres towards the cathedral after the IRA bomb and was reopened in November 1999 (barney has started quoting from the historical information framed and hung on the wall).  It escaped the Blitz with little damage, but not from the 1996 bomb.  It used to be called the Vintner's Arms (it says here).  One of the shops in the Shambles belonged to an Abraham Isaacs, who was described as "a dealer in goldfish" - one of the more bizarre comments.  Barney continues to avoid conversation by reading more stuff and regurgitating it at will.  Spaceman jots some of it down but gets bored.


Barney sits back down and says "I could eat", to which spaceman replies that those sentiments apply most of the time with barney.  The music is in the 60s again, but playing to no-one in particular.  There's a small area downstairs for drinking - upstairs is for eating - as Barney resumes the history lesson.  This place has been traced back to 1328.  Blimey.  The only other people here have now left.  Now there are as many bar staff as there are customers - two (i.e. us and them).  Seems like a good job to get a lot of reading done.  Barney comes back from the toilets summaries that they are ok, the dryers are good and there are a lot of doors to open.  Barney then speculates (sarcastically) if it always this busy.  Enough of this excitement - it's time to move next door...


Pub 30 - Sinclair's Oyster Bar (Cateaton Street)

This is much better in the summer when it (and the tables outside) is packed to the rafters with boozers.  It's quite busy tonight still - quite why it is so much more apparently successful than the Old Wellington we're not sure.  Perhaps the trendier, more modern sounding name works.  Or just 'cos it's nearer and more visible from the main walkway.  Who knows.  It's a bit of a maze of a place - doors, stairs and rooms everywhere.  Spaceman has eaten here before, but it was more of a snack than a full blown meal.  There is a low beam in the restaurant that makes going there a bit like a limbo dance.  Two pints of Ayingebrau (or something) for £2.98.  Spaceman is hankering for calling it a day but barney is insistent that we make it 7 for the night so, glasses drained, it's back out into the night, continuing our journey to the Printworks, where we find...


Pub 31 - Tiger Tiger (The Printworks)

Unluckily for Barney, however, it's his round again, and yet again an expensive one (spaceman isn't complaining).  Barney's not had a good night finance-wise, and this is compounded by the price of £5.70 for two bottles of beer, one Tiger, one Budweiser (they are priced the same).  Barney thinks place might be bigger than the Moon Under Water.  Understandably, our stomachs rumble and the small size of the bottles mean that we don't stay long.  Spaceman isn't generally keen on this place, but the downstairs bar (where we are tonight) is okay.  It is usually busy as hell at the weekend.  Anyway, the smell of pieces of chicken in a spicy sauce is calling...



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