Wintery days require warm, cosy hideaways beckoning you in with the promise of crackling fires, fairy lights and comfort food.
Fortunately, we have plenty of places that fit the bill in and around the city. Here are just a few places to tempt you out of the cold.
This place currently resembles the iconic Coca Cola Christmas truck with hundreds of twinkling lights making a it a real sight to behold at the end of Deansgate. After stopping to take the necessary selfie, step inside and you’ll find a wonderfully warm welcome with glowing fire places and the sort of traditional features that wouldn’t be out of place in a Dickens drama. There’s a good selection of drinks and generous portions of food, and its location means you’re in walking distance of the main action but far away enough away to avoid the crowds.
If you’re going to venture further afield, it has to be with good reason but a visit to The Ship, tucked away near the picturesque village of Styal, is worth the effort. A beautiful pub all year round, this 17th century inn really comes into own during the winter months when the warm, orange glow from its windows makes it impossible to resist. Inside, you’ll find cosy nook and crannies with exposed walls and dark panels, along with crackling fires, mince pies and mulled wine. The dishes won’t disappoint and keep an eye out for special events too as the team love a reason to celebrate with new and old customers alike.
There are a few places dotted around Manchester that have earned the moniker of ‘city institution’ and this is one of them. Believed to date back to the early 1800s, these walls have witnessed generations of patrons walk through the door and would definitely have tales to divulge. Take a perch in the narrow bar with its arched panels near the pub’s entrance or take a wander through the tiled, maze-like passageway and find a seat next to one of the fires in the two larger rooms towards the back. Another way to warm up, is trying one of the many whiskies they have on offer as the place is famed for this particular tipple.
The Old Original
Perched high on a hill in Oldham, this 18th century pub isn’t a place you just happen to be passing but it’s definitely worth the road trip. There are sweeping views of the surrounding countryside and inside and you’ll be greeted by the sight of wooden beams, a large, open fire and plenty of rustic charm. In short, it’s everything you want from a traditional country pub, including all the usual suspects on the menu. There are fixed-price dining options, or you can treat yourself to one of the locally-sourced succulent steaks the team take pride in serving.
Across a canal, in a far-flung corner of Castlefield, you’ll find The Wharf, which manages to provide all the cosy feels of a country pub despite being in the city centre. That’s quite an achievement, as is the fact it exudes cosiness despite its expansive size thanks to homely touches throughout, from the rugs and bookshelves to frames. Enjoy a more formal meal upstairs, some pub grub downstairs, or simply grab one of the arm chairs next to the fire and put the worlds to rights over a glass of full-bodied red.
The Marble Arch
You could describe this place as a hidden gem but there’s a good chance the locals who return time and time again might balk at the term. But this pub, which was once the Marble Brewery site, is both things. It remains off the beaten track, at least for now as regeneration of the area continues full-throttle, and its décor is incredible in its detail. Be warned, the mosaic floor is sloped, it’s not simply your mind playing tricks, but if you can make it to the bar without stumbling, you’ll be treated to plenty of local beer. Take a seat on one of the leather benches, peruse the extensive menu and you’ll wonder where the hours disappeared.