Thursday, 1 September 2011

Manchester City Centre to The Star Inn, Salford: 31st August 2011

I was in Manchester for the Arcade Fire gig and had to make a decision about which pubs/bars to visit. I was going to try the obvious City Centre establishments, both more established (Marble Arch) and newer (Port St Beer House), but also wanted somewhere slightly different to try. I think I was skimming  through one of the CAMRA newsletters when I saw that there was a pub in Manchester called The Star Inn which had been bought by the community in 2009. I'd been to a couple of these before (Old Crown @ Hesket Newmarket & Shoemakers Arms near Brecon) and found them to be really thriving pubs with great staff and great beer, but The Star Inn was meant to be the first such pub in an urban area. Finding out that the pub had just had a brewery installed (The Star Inn Brewery, formerly Bazens' Brewey and quite well established) made my choice fairly straight-forward.

View Manchester, 31st August 2011 in a larger map
I was a bit pushed for time after a latish lunch at The Knott just off Deansgate so decided to take the bus up to the Star Inn and walk back.
Outward travel:
 Bus, Blackfriars St to Knoll Rd (98 First Manchester)

The Star Inn is well hidden from the main road, certainly living up to the proverbial back-street boozer tag.
Inside there's a pretty small bar with a few seats and then a larger room with a dart board, a load of board games and a comunity notice board, and another smaller snug-type room leading off from this. There's also a fair amount of outside seating, although calling this a garden would be stretching things.

The beers on were the in-house Starry Night (all of £2.10) and a couple of guest beers from Boggart. The Starry Night was actually a fairly standard bitter - it was OK but had the slight yeasty after-taste I've sometimes had from smaller microbreweries. The Boggart Cascade was thin & lemony, again OK but nothing special.
I couldn't really tell what the atmosphere was like since I was the only person in the pub for a while. The barmaid did say that the place gets really busy on Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons (for the quiz). They've also just had a beer festival a couple of weeks ago when the staff worked 16 hour shifts (with breaks!)
It was definitely a worthwhile place to visit and really great that the place seems to be thriving. Hopefully next time I'll visit during an evening and manage to have a chat with some of the regulars and probably get (well) beaten at darts.

I walked the couple of miles or so back into the City Centre through the rush hour traffic (and mad pedestrians) stopping for a beer at The Mark Addy on the river-side. They were at the tail-end of a Bank Holiday Beer Festival with a mass of casks under the quayside arches and I was happy to get a pint of Kooky Gold from Offbeat Brewery. This was the first beer I'd had from Michelle Kelsall's new brewery (ex-Windie Goat in Ayrshire) and she's still certainly got her touch with pale'n'hoppy beers.

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