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The best proper real ale pubs across Greater Manchester

At I Love Manchester, we respect Britain’s national drink and one of our finest traditions

At I Love Manchester, we respect beer and real ale as Britain’s national drink and one of our finest traditions.

According to research from Oxford University commissioned by Campaign for Real Ale, people who have a local pub are happier, have more friends and feel more engaged with their local communities.

CAMRA campaign to save the Great British Pub from extinction, including some of the oldest pubs in Manchester. Many pubs help provide space for the local people to meet, tackle loneliness, and strengthen the local community. What’s more, beer and pubs contribute a significant amount annually to the economy.

The chairman of Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) Nik Antona commented: “Pubs, clubs and taprooms are all vital parts of the social fabric of our communities and need our support now more than ever due to the rising costs of goods and employing staff, government help with energy bills being cut, and customers continuing to tighten their belts due to the cost-of-living crisis. Even a small window of an extra hour could be enough to attract more punters to the bars of our country’s locals.

Where to drink real ale in Manchester city centre

To help you sample its delights, the CAMRA have helped us select the ten finest real ale pubs in Manchester where you’re guaranteed a great pint to spread beery love. Cheers!

Sadler’s Cat

Brought to you by Cloudwater, Sadler’s Cat is the new community pub in NOMA with one of the best beer gardens in Manchester. Enjoy Cloudwater beer, natural wine, mixed drinks, and non-alcoholic options in a welcoming atmosphere. Stay safe indoors with our newly-installed ventilation system. Located near Victoria Station and Manchester Arena, come check out “the pub that Manchester built”.

Hanover St, Manchester M60 0AB

The Crown & Kettle

Historic Grade II-listed pub, reopened in 2005 after a closure of 16 years. Up to four hand-pumps serve real ales from an ever-updated list of six beers from All Gates, Bank Top, Ossett, Phoenix and Dunham Massey among other breweries. Crown & Kettle Ale from Greenfield micro-brewery is a regular. Note the fine restored ceiling in the separate vault and a yet-to-be-restored ceiling in the main room. A fair-sized modern snug doubles as a lounge. Good value food is served.

2 Oldham Road, Ancoats, M4 5FE (corner of Oldham St & Great Ancoats St)

The Marble Arch

A spectacular heritage  pub noted for its amazing beer, beautiful setting (featuring a glorious tiled mosaic floor) and incredible food, you can’t miss at The Marble Arch.

The Marble Arch features an ornate bar, boasting nine hand pulls serving brewery-fresh cask beer, eight carefully selected keg lines pouring both their own and guest beer and a small range of carefully selected artisanal ciders for you to enjoy.

An enthusiastic bar staff provides a friendly service, with the Marble Brewery team often seen mixing with customers who come here from all walks of life and all over the world.

You can check out their classy menu here.

12-9pm (8pm Sun).

73 Rochdale Road, M4 4HY

Port Street Beer House

This is a lovely pub that opened in 2011 in a quiet street called the Northern Quarter. They have seven different kinds of beers that taste really good, as well as other types of beer from Europe and the USA that you can have from the tap or a bottle. If you feel like going upstairs, there’s another room and outside there is also a beer garden. The toilets are upstairs, but there are accessible ones on the ground floor too. They have group beer tastings and sometimes special events to showcase different types of beer. They were chosen as the best pub in North Manchester in 2014 by CAMRA, an organisation that likes good pubs.

39-41 Port St, Manchester M1 2EQ


Visit Cask, a friendly bar opposite the Science & Industry Museum in Castlefield with the most extensive beer list in town. They offer local brews, German wheat beers, strong Belgian imports, special American imports, and bottles from all over the world. Their knowledgeable bar staff can help you find the perfect imported ale to match your taste. They also have a fantastic selection of spirits. One visit may not be enough!

29 Liverpool Rd, Manchester M3 4NQ

City Arms

Looking for a traditional pub with a little something extra? Look no further than this compact city centre gem! Established 190 years ago and still going strong, this pub features a rotating selection of 7 delicious ales (including a vegan option and a mild), real ciders and sometimes even a perry! With 10 whiskies and a whopping 150 gins, you’re sure to find the perfect drink to accompany your hot pie (served all day, every day) or weekday lunchtime meal. And if you’re a smoker, you’ll love the small but charming yard out back. While the pub is always welcoming, it’s especially popular on Friday and Saturday nights – so come early if you want a seat! Dogs are welcome on Sundays, but you’ll have to leave your furry friend at home on other busy days. Plus, mark your calendars for 2023, when the pub will get a fresh update – including brand-new loos.

46-48 Kennedy St, Manchester M2 4BQ

The Angel Pub

Located in the Angel Meadow area that has 12 different types of beer to choose from, The Angel has something for everyone, including light pale ale, and strong dark ale.

The building is old, but they have fixed the plumbing in the men’s restroom to make it work better. If you want to hang out outside in the sun, they have a great area for that too, so you can have some fun with your friends and enjoy the weather.

The Angel is a great place where everyone can come together, relax, and have a great time drinking beer. Try it out for yourself!

6 Angel St, Manchester M4 4BQ

The Gas Lamp

The Gas Lamp is a cool pub that opened in 2010 inside an old building. It looks really nice from the outside, but the entrance is small, so you could miss it. When you go inside, it doesn’t look like a typical pub. There are old brick walls and not much decoration. The bar is at the back of the room and is made of wood. They have four different types of ale that you can’t find at other pubs. They’re made by Pomona Island, which is their own brewery, and some smaller ones that are not very common. They also have a lot of different Whiskies, including some from Chorlton Whisky. You can only pay with a card because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

50A Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BW

The Briton’s Protection

Beloved Manchester pub The Britons Protection is a traditional ale house in Manchester City Centre dating back to 1806, located near Bridgewater Concert Hall, Castlefield and Deansgate. It is next to the Beetham Tower and just a five-minute walk from Deansgate and Oxford Road train stations. This award-winning pub appeals to both locals and visitors, offering real ale and a traditional Northern Great British Pub experience. It’s been voted ‘Best Pub in Manchester’ twice in the Pride of Manchester Awards.

50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5LE

The Salisbury Ale House

The Salisbury is a Manchester beer institution, with a rocking jukebox, beer and pizza and it’s open until late. Ready for some pub trivia? This little gem is nestled in the historic “little Ireland” section between Oxford Road Station and Oxford Road. Rock fans rejoice, because this brown-tiled pub is a favourite haunt. The interior may have lost some of its original features, but the bar still has some interesting quirks. With six real ales on tap, including the (rare for Manchester) Old Peculiar, you’re sure to find a favourite. Once you’ve had your fill of the jukebox, check out the beer garden out back for a slice of pizza. Weeknights tend to be quieter, but hold onto your gig ticket for a discount, or risk being swept up in the crowds. Don’t worry, this friendly spot never disappoints.

2 Wakefield St, Manchester M1 5NE

Peveril Of The Peak

‘The Pev’ is a historic Manchester pub – a proper institution, with the longest serving landlady in the city, celebrating a whopping 51 years of service in 2022. The interior is a thing of beauty, with stained glass, polished wood, and traditional bench seating – complete with the original bell pushes for summoning bartenders. Take your pick from four distinct drinking areas, including a public bar with a vintage “table football” machine and a cosy snug that’s perfect for folk music sessions. The best part? ‘The Pev’ remains an oasis of sophisticated drinking, surrounded by towering 19th and 21st century office and apartment blocks. Cheers to that!

127 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JQ

Sam’s Chop House

Step back in time at Sam’s, a classic pub with a cozy atmosphere and ornate restaurant serving traditional British dishes. Since 1872 and on the current premises since the 1950s, LS Lowry himself has even frequented the place! Enjoy top-notch beer and space to relax at high barrel tables on the left or in a larger area on the right of the bar. Come experience the history and fun at Sam’s!

Back Pool Fold, Manchester M2 1HN

Real ale pubs across Greater Manchester

The New Oxford, Salford

If you’re a beer enthusiast searching for a new watering hole to quench your thirst for quality brews, look no further than The New Oxford – an award-winning continental-style pub and ale bar that is sure to satisfy your taste buds! Nestled in the heart of picturesque Bexley Square, this pub offers a wide range of refreshing options to choose from. Whether you prefer a crisp and refreshing Belgian beer or a full-bodied real ale with a hint of oak, they’ve got you covered with their impressive selection of over 40 ever-changing draught beverages, including a whopping 20 real ale pumps. So why not come on down to The New Oxford and see what all the fuss is about? With its charming atmosphere and excellent drinks selection, you won’t be disappointed!

11 Bexley Square, Salford M3 6DB

The Greyhound, Bolton

The Greyhound in Bolton has served as a beloved establishment for centuries, and its history dates back to the 1700s. This pub abounds with character and charm, making it the perfect place to unwind with family and friends. With its ample selection of beer and cask ales, you can taste traditional brews that have been perfected over time. The Greyhound embodies a sense of community that’s unique and inviting, providing a warm welcome to locals and visitors alike. As you step inside, you’re greeted with a cozy and rustic atmosphere that’s complemented by friendly staff and patrons. Over the years, this pub has been a staple in the local area, providing a place for people to come together and enjoy quality time, good conversation, and great beer.

146 Deansgate, Bolton BL1 1BB

The Flying Horse Hotel, Rochdale

Affectionately known as ‘The Flyer’ by locals, The Flying Horse is the oldest free house in Rochdale and was once the post office and court house. The Flying Horse Hotel is indepdently ran by a family and has a growing reputation as Rochdale’s number one live entertainment venue. Apart from being the only venue in Rochdale to host live music four nights a week we have also had some of the biggest names in comedy perform on our stage.

37 Packer St, Rochdale OL16 1NJ

Old Packet House, Altrincham

Dating back to the 18th century, this pub was once the second inn on the journey from Manchester along the Great Bridgewater Canal which runs just behind the pub. Leaded and stained glass featuring on the back bar and partitions around the pub, and the main bar area is divided by an impressive central chimney with a real fire in the winter. Home cooked food is popular with local office workers.

1 Navigation Rd, Altrincham WA14 1LW

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