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.


  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.

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

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

  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.

  5. So. Benches are your benchmark.

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

  7. Martin, Cambridge9 April 2013 at 15:39

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

  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.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval. See here for details of my comment policy.