There’s plenty that’s good about a pint but it reaches its pinnacle when drunk away from the crowds in a cosy, warm place shielding you from the outside. This doesn’t just mean a pub anymore either, as bars and breweries can tempt you in with the promise of warmth and a good old glass of booze. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites below.

Marble Brew Tap (and Marble Arch)

It can be suggested that whatever your knowledge of Manchester’s beer scene is, you’ve probably come across Marble Brewery at some point. Whether this is from their bar on Thomas Street, their old spot in Chorlton, their flagship pub on Rochdale Road – or maybe just seeing their beers on taps across Manchester. Whilst their pub is often nominated as one of the best for whiling away a few wintery hours, we suggest stopping by to see their newest home over in Salford to check out their brewery and brew tap. After moving homes earlier this year, the Marble gang have opened their first ever on-site taproom where you can sample their classics such as Pint or Lagonda alongside some seasonal productions and collaborations. Out towards Weaste, it’s a bit further than usual for a lot of city centre dwellers but a brisk walk should get you ready for that first Marble beer. There are plenty of other taps to get your fill of beer straight from the brewer and Track’s new spot on Chapeltown Street and Cloudwater’s room just round the corner are both recommended.

Marble Tap Room, Unit 7 Boston Court, Kansas Ave, Manchester, M50 2GN, Tel: 0161 819 2694

While it may be better known for its wine and sherry, Stevenson Square’s Flok has gained a bit of a reputation for its well stocked cellar and bottle bar. With a house cask pale ale brewed in collaboration with Saltire alongside rotating cask and keg lines that highlight the best of local and further away brewers, the bar also has a well stocked beer fridge for those looking for some booze to take home or drink in. The decor is rustic and homely with collections of bits and pieces belying its previous incarnation as Incognito gift shop. The cosy gold room (which used to be a bank vault) allows groups to avoid the hectic Christmas period over a very cosy pint or two. With a growing reputation for its tap takeovers (recently Tiny Rebel and Norwegian brewer Amundsen have come to showcase their beers at Flok) and a fine selection of platters, not to mention an extensive collection of board games including backgammon and chess, it’s the perfect place to warm up after a day of Christmas shopping.

Flok, 5 Stevenson Square, Manchester, M1 1DN, Tel: 0161 236 7212

There’s nothing cosier then stepping in from the cold with a nice warm portion of fish and chips in your hand. Unfortunately it’s rare to get the ability to do that with a nice pint too. Lucky for those hungry and thirsty people hunkering down from the cold, Cask continues to provide both the beer and a place to eat a proper chippy tea from The Fish Hut next door. Nearing twenty years on Liverpool Street, Cask has been around long before the craft beer scene exploded and this can be seen in its wide ranging Belgian beer bottle selection alongside its hand pulls. It’s hard to beat the waft of salt, vinegar, cod and strong pints of ale when you pass its Liverpool Street location and, luckily for those in Ancoats, their second site has the same relaxed attitude to local chippy teas.

Cask, 29 Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4NQ, Tel: 0161 832 2633
Crown and Kettle

If you’ve ever had Crown and Kettle on the corner of Oldham Road described to you, it won’t have taken long before someone mentioned the ceiling. Its high rooms showcase the ornate fire damaged ceilings with mesh underneath them to stop the roof falling into your pint, and these speak to the history of the pub which has been standing since the 19th Century, though there are recordings of pubs standing on the site as far back as the 1700s. It’s not just the history that marks the Crown and Kettle out as special though, as its CAMRA Manchester Central Pub Of The Year award speaks to its wide selection of cask ales from traditional and more unusual brewers and that’s not to forget its vast array of ciders. As traditional a pub as you can get in the city centre, there are multiple areas to take your pick from alongside a slightly under utilised beer garden for those hardy souls venturing outside.

Crown & Kettle, 2 Oldham Road, Manchester, M4 5FE, Tel: 0161 235 0978
The Briton’s Protection

There will be many in Manchester for whom The Briton’s Protection stands alone as the champion of cosy – the last line of defence against the wind and the rain and the dark nights growing outside – for this is as close to Orwell’s Moon Under Water as you may find inside the city limits. Standing firm in the shadow of new glass skyscrapers, Briton’s offers that good burning fireplace, though only one unfortunately. It’s not unusual to see people quickly stripping of their coat as they nestle down in the piping warm snug for a quick pint that turns into four or more. The all-weather pub with its large beer garden becomes much more intimate over winter but its extensive range of beer stays, alongside its many whiskeys, perfect for finishing off the night.

The Briton’s Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester, M1 5LE, Tel: 0161 236 5895
Joe Daly
Published on:
Sat 15 Feb 2020