The humble pub is an integral part of British lifestyle and culture. Just like everywhere else in the UK, in Manchester, we love a good pub. Whether you nip in for a pint and some pork scratchings, or order some pub grub and watch the football, pubs are iconic institutions and everyone has their local fav. In Manchester, there are some really old pubs that have survived the centuries to become established as some of the most popular and important parts of the local heritage. Whether or not you’re interested in the history behind these oldest pubs in Manchester, they’re always good for a piss-up.
1. Sawyers Arms
The Sawyers Arms on Deansgate asserts that it is one of the oldest pubs in Manchester, if not THE oldest pub in Manchester, with its documentation leading all the way back the 1730’s. From the outside, the unique character of its red-tiled façade is evident, with intricate stone masonry making up the first story exterior. This old pub prides itself on its traditional and friendly atmosphere and boasts a wide range of both seasonally sourced cask ales and malt whiskeys.
2. The Britons Protection
This beautiful old pub can be traced back to 1806, and upon stepping inside you find yourself in a beautifully restored and painstakingly polished establishment. Dark wood gleams all around, and you are spoilt for choice with dozens of comfy chairs to sink into with your bev. The cold English winters aren’t a problem, as The Britons Protection has original working fireplaces which are lit whenever needed and come the summer there is a large beer garden around the back. This pub is famous for its selection of whiskies as there are over 200 to choose from, and when that gets to be too much you can order yourself a nice homemade venison and mushroom pie. Winner.
3. The Oxnoble
Known for hosting regular shindigs consisting of anything from live comedy to live music, The Oxnoble is a pub with old roots (1804 to be exact) that has firmly been bought into the 21st Century through their wide collection of local hipster pale ales, craft beers, and funky local brews. Aside from that, it remains a traditional pub with regards to its aesthetic, darker gleaming wood and old red brick internal walls make for a really cozy space to relax in.
4. The Castle Hotel
Established in 1776, The Castle Hotel is a small pub with huge character. Polished Victorian tiles adorn the exterior façade, and mosaic floors make for an interesting trip to the loo when you’re 3 pints in. The pub is heavily interwoven within Manchester’s music scene and is proud to be part of such a rich heritage. Their upcoming calendar is always jam-packed full of live music events that take place in the pub pretty much every day of the week, so The Castle Hotel is a cracker if you want to discover new and upcoming acts while you enjoy your drink. This is definitely one of the oldest pubs in Manchester!
5. The Marble Arch
The Marble Arch is a pub where no detail is overlooked. The lovingly restored 1880’s interior gleams, and the curated selection of beers and ales is comprised of both their own homebrew and specially selected seasonal lines. Not only can you order a top pint, you can have watched their chefs whip up modern gastro pub food with a retro twist. Order yourself anything from a cheese raclette to prime cuts of beef sourced locally – all items on the food menu are intended to be ordered with certain beer pairings in mind for the full experience. Definitely, pay a visit to this pub, it’s well worth it!
6. The Circus Tavern
Not only had The Circus Tavern been around since the 1860’s, it is allegedly the smallest pub in Europe! Once inside, you’ll see what wall space there is has been covered floor to ceiling with pictures of famous visitors from over the years. CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ales consumer group) considers this one of the top ten heritage pubs of Britain, and if you pay this pub a visit you can’t help but make friends as you’ll be shoulder to shoulder for most of the night.
7. Peveril Of The Peak
Peveril Of The Peak (or just The ‘Pev’ to locals), named after a stagecoach that ran from Manchester across the Pennines, is one of Manchester’s most celebrated pubs. Hailed as a Grade II listed architectural gem, its two-tone, green tiled exterior gleams on sunny days. With four drinking areas and a permanent choice of two beers with a further changing selection of two beers, The Pev is an incredibly unique establishment. Supposedly they also have the oldest Football Table available for use, with it dating back to 1955. Overall this is a really beautiful and cosy pub, a firm favourite among many.
8. Sinclair’s Oyster Bar
Sinclair’s Oyster Bar is home to one of Manchester’s biggest beer gardens and it’s bang in the city centre so is popular even before taking into consideration the novel Tudor exterior. The pub dates back to the 16th Century, and in 1999 it was moved 300 meters away from its original location brick by brick as part of a Manchester Regeneration Project. You can enjoy that true ‘old pub’ feeling without having to go more than a stone’s throw from the most popular shopping area in the city centre. In contrast to the incredibly cheap drinks (we love you Sinclair’s) you can also order yourself some Oysters off the menu as you’d hope from knowing the name. As soon as the sun comes out, this place is absolutely PACKED and for good reason. This is definitely one of the oldest pubs in Manchester!