There have been some big name pub closures recently in Manchester. It’s not for a lack of enthusiasm for beer, it’s just that some failed to move with the times.
But what’s this I hear? A pub built for the people by the people? Sounds incredible but The Pilcrow is a pub that can claim to be such a thing. Hundreds of volunteers have helped make furniture and fittings in regular workshops, bringing a sense of community to a pub situated in an area that desperately needs one.
When we say ‘built by the people’ that does include some fairly experienced names from the beer world. The likes of Common Bar, Port Street and Cloudwater Brew Co have all helped in the development of this pub. As such the beer list should not be unfamiliar, a mix of exotic imports from the likes of To Øl (apparently it’s Danish and it’s pronounced ‘two erl’) alongside UK favourites such as Track, Burning Sky and Wild Beer.
For a pub assembled in the heart of business district, The Pilcrow is incredibly cosy and inviting. Despite being quite narrow and long, the layout caters for large groups of people leaving work as well as those looking to just pull up a hand-made stool at the bar. With the likes of Honest Crust and the Hip Hop Chip Shop providing food on the opening night, it’s safe to say The Pilcrow came to life almost instantaneously.
This is a city centre pub serving some of the finest craft beer around at the moment near Victoria Station – an area desperate for a good pub. With the inclusion of names like Common Bar you would expect prices to reflect those kind of Northern Quarter prices. And they do. A 4.5% cask beer will set you back £4.00, a 6% keg IPA, £5.50. There are cheaper outlets for sure but these are not outlandish prices for the city centre. It’s what we’ve come to expect for craft. Some have said that a pub built by volunteers that claims to be ‘for the people’ should perhaps charge slightly less, but we have to remember that this is a project funded by NOMA and that to all extents and purposes it’s a craft beer bar – and the prices reflect that.
Having been featured on The One Show, The Pilcrow is a nice PR story for how community is the key for pubs which want to survive these days. Although not everyone has the time and money to carry out an exercise like this, The Pilcrow is a very welcome addition to Manchester and will undoubtedly prove popular in area that only really has The Printworks as an alternative drinking destination.
Opening times and hours are still a bit suck it and see but at the moment it’s open six days a week and closed Sunday. For more details follow them on Twitter @ThePilcrowPub.