Sunday, 7 April 2013

Local heroes

As promised, here’s a list of my ten favourite pubs within the Stockport MBC area. Not the best beer, or the best in any other sense, but just those that I find most congenial and which encourage me to make a return visit.
  • Arden Arms, Millgate (Robinson’s) – a wonderful, unspoilt pub including a unique snug accessible only through the server, now probably the classiest pub in the town centre, although at times the admittedly excellent food is perhaps allowed to dominate too much
  • Armoury, Edgeley (Robinson’s) – a classic, bustling street-corner local recently given a smart renovation that respected its multi-roomed layout
  • Boar’s Head, Market Place (Sam Smith’s) – prominent market pub that a few years ago received a remodelling that actually involved adding more internal divisions. Vibrant, down-to-earth atmosphere that takes you back to how pubs used to be
  • Crown, Heaton Lane (Free House - pictured) – the best of Stockport’s specialist beer pubs, retaining a multi-roomed layout and a lively atmosphere
  • Davenport Arms, Woodford (Robinson’s) – classic redbrick farmhouse pub dating from around the 1830s, alternatively known as the “Thief’s Neck”. Still has a variety of separate rooms including a genuine tap-room, which is where the best banter is to be had
  • Griffin, Heaton Mersey (Holts) – a modern extension on to an original 1830s building. Has an original glass-fronted bar counter and at least five separate rooms. Sometimes quiet, but when buzzing the atmosphere is great
  • Horse & Farrier, Gatley (Hydes) – prominent, rambling, multi-roomed Hydes pub on the main Gatley crossroads, always has some guest beers and has occasional beer festivals
  • Nursery, Heaton Norris (Hydes) – my local pub, a largely untouched building dating from 1939 with a classic three-roomed interior including extensive wood panelling. In recent years has been much more enterprising on the beer front. CAMRA National Pub of the Year 2002
  • Queen’s Head (Turner’s Vaults), Little Underbank (Sam Smith’s) – a tiny, classic pub in the shadow of the bridge carrying St Petersgate over Little Underbank. The interior comprises front bar with original spirit taps, “horse-box” snug and rear lounge. Pity modern gents are too fat for the “Compacto” toilet.
  • Railway, Rose Hill (Robinson’s) – renovated around 1990, a conspicuously smart, spick-and-span suburban pub with extensive fixed seating and a healthy lunchtime food trade
Some may query the omission of the Magnet. While I recognise this is a very well-run specialist beer pub, and with keen prices as well, I have to say its odd layout (which the owners inherited) is such that there’s nowhere I really feel at home. This is one pub that would benefit from knocking through into one with a bar against the back wall and benches around the walls facing it. It would certainly feature in a second ten along with, off the top of my head, Railway (Portwood), Red Bull, Blossoms, Tiviot, Grapes (Hazel Grove) and probably even Spoons’ Calvert’s Court.

8 comments:

  1. That list looks good to me,i have been in all of those except the Davenport Arms whick looks very inviting from the outside.

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  2. A good list, but I must, with respect, disagree about the Magnet. It is its idiosyncratic layout that makes it for me.

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  3. Never been to Stockport. Want to go there now.

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  4. While it can't offer the ultimate variety of the likes of Derby and York, in my view it's hard to beat Stockport for having such a concentration of real, characterful pubs many of which are also architecturally distinguished.

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  5. So. Benches are your benchmark.

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  6. I look foward to the top ten park benches near a bargain booze.

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  7. Martin, Cambridge9 April 2013 at 15:39

    Agree about the Magnet, surprised the Olde Vic doesn't do it for you.

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  8. The Olde Vic might get on the second twenty, but I find its tatty appearance a bit offputting and Steve the landlord is something of an acquired taste.

    Plus on several occasions I've been in there the beer range has been exclusively golden ales.

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