Friday 29 April 2016

BRAPA - Manchester Punk Festival - Day Two

The day dawned bright and sunny and after my fifth Premier Inn breakfast of the last week (better sausages here than in Reading and mercifully, no fake Bubble and Squeak, but sadly, no Pia either), I hopped on a Deansgate tram to Salford Quays where punk festival goers were at a premium in Media City.  Probably eating rats in their squats.  I must try and be more punk.

Shut pub alert - Craftbrew, Salford Quays
If normal Salford yesterday looked spruced up, this was like some futuristic vision of the country where rowers, jet skiers and the like, did their Saturday morning activities.  Whatpub, the pub website and the GBG all told me Craftbrew opens 10am, it wasn't and a sign told me there'd been a private party the night before.  Cleaners were inside, lights were on, I waited til 11am.

I found a posh looking woman peering in, she didn't look like your stereotypical BRAPster so I went over to ask what her game was.  Well, it was her son who'd had the private party last night, he'd lost his scarf, so she'd come along to see if she could get it back for him.  I'll just let you digest that sentence for a minute. 

We chatted on BRAPA, she told me she was from Lymm, I asked if it was in Greater Manchester and she looked mortally wounded and told me Cheshire.  He husband appeared, didn't seem to trust BRAPA as a concept, and they left.  I found a barman, he told me pub wasn't open to after 12, he wasn't apologetic, I was not happy, I got a tram back to Manchester.

After that palava, I was dying for a pint and I finally found a pub ,,,,,

Feel the quality 
886.  Vine Inn, Manchester

And it was another little city centre gem in the Grey Horse ilk,  I'd been in a pub next door called City Arms before which was spoilt by a local who slagged off my job cos I wasn't a biochemist, so I much preferred this place.  It had that happy Saturday morning feel that 11am openers do, putting a brave face on the hidden chaos, as it to say "yes we are open and we are pleased to serve you" whilst secretly scurrying around looking for a clean glass.  The barmaid and landlord (who was doing some paperwork) where both very welcoming, and as always happens in a new pub, I walked in the opposite direction to the loo and had joke "they are always in the last place you look".  I climbed some stairs and enjoyed a quality Tim Taylor Landlord in the pre-punk calm.  A large group came in and after another pub singalong (this time Inspiral Carpets, so an improvement on Sade), they debated whether or not it was true that Shakespeare died on his birthday.  I'd like to have added that he was more likely to be a Staffs Aleman than a writer of all those tales, but I know people get very sensitive about such possibilities.  Lovely little pub this.

My Landlord strategically positioned by the stairs.
My next pub was right next to the venue, so a good place to base myself before the music restarted.  But hang on, this looked familiar, 99% sure I'd been here before without realising! 

Looks lovely, isn't.

887.  Salisbury Ale House, Manchester

It was my birthday in 2014 when in the Lass O' Gowrie (a pub I'd like to review one day), a jolly barman waxed lyrical about this fantastic new real ale place under the arches near Oxford Road.  We got there and were left unconvinced by dodgy Holt's Two Hoots and some miserable locals at the bar who we even tried to chat to.  Today was much the same.  Despite the beautiful looking building from the outside, freshly watered hanging baskets, and an old mutli roomed interior, history repeated itself.  Despite obviously looking at the handpumps, the 5 or 6 barflies refused to budge even when I was peering around them (this is in a near empty pub) so I can only assume they'd wanted to hold their territory against a potential punk invasion, meaning anyone with a festival wristband was treated as the enemy.  My J W Lees was near vinegar, but I didn't return it mainly cos I didn't like the pub atmosphere.  And it was all a bit dreary and dirty feeling otherwise, a bit like an extension of the railway arches looming over the pub.

Interior shot of Salisbury proves it could be a very good pub.
And what an idiot I felt when I finally left, crossed the road to the Thirsty Scholar where acoustic punks like Emma Hallows and Blackburn's finest, Edgarville, were treating us all to some deep and harrowing tunes.  FOUR Little Valley beers, I tried 3 and all very well kept, if you ignore the plastic cups.  I know there was a vegan festival on in here too, but I'd like to think this is a normal range for this cosy little bar which surely belongs in the GBG a lot more than the Salisbury.

Unlikely pre-emptive?  Thirsty Scholar bar.
There was no more GBG opportunities from here as music took over, more great Holt's bottles in Sound Control, and a nice last orders St George's Day ale from the always reliable Phoenix in Lass O'Gowrie where we watched a dreadful pub band 'play the classics'.  

Worse for wear?  Enjoying a Joseph Holt's bottle with the sis towards end of festival
Great fest, productive pubbing.  Join me next time for a review of Tuesday's trip to South Yorkshire.



  1. Ooh, suggesting Lymm is in Greater Manchester is a mortal sin!

    Your experience of the Salisbury sounds very disappointing for a GBG pub. Traditionally known as a rock pub, of course,

  2. She really wasn't happy, we'd got on well before that!

    I see, I thought it had a musical edge from all the posters etc and music being played, but Manchester CAMRA must have caught it on a VERY good day to think it worthy of GBG inclusion. I sometimes think people are blinded by a pretty, old building - but no room for sentiment in the GBG!!

    1. It might have got a sympathy vote because it's under threat of demolition.

      Incidentally, you should have included "nutters" in your poll, because they're the people most likely to talk to me in pubs ;-)

    2. "Nutters", I knew I'd missed an important group of pub society! Happens to me a lot too.

  3. I'm with Mudge, you're banned. Not sure from what.

    Anger is an energy as they say Simon, hating Salford or Trafford OK with me.

    Manc music venues have good beer, but Little Valley exceptional. I wasn't greatly impressed with quality in Salisbury, whose Ale House add-on confused me as well. Was surprisingly quiet on the Sat lunch time I visited.

    Think Lass O'G will get back in; not inside knowledge but local raving about beer recently gave that impression.

    1. First time I went in Lass O'G, it seemed a fantastic bric-a-brac style pub and feels like it's now a bit more generic, but I might be being harsh. Beer was very good last week. We'll have to see if the 2017 change of pub pickers for Manc massively changes the type of pubs listed in the GBG. Am always amazed when Briton's Protection doesn't get in, Peveril slightly less so.

  4. 2017 will be the last year for central Manchester GBG entries chosen by the old branches. From 2018 onwards it will be the next Central Manchester Branch.

  5. Breakfast related question: what is pia? There must be a proper greasy spoon in Manchester to beat the Premier Inn brekky, if not there must be a winning 'Spoons. Sadly, the greasy spoon on the Picc approach road is no more.

    A pub is a public house, not a private club. If they close for a private party, they are no longer a proper pub. Reserve a room, maybe if I'm being nice, but beyond that they can sod off.

    The woman was correct. Happily, and pleasantly surprisingly, even in the land of magic mushrooms and unicorns populated by the proponents of the Local Government Act 1972, Warrington and the surrounding villages, including Lymm, are still in Cheshire rather than the preposterous fictional county of Greater Manchester or its evil brother Merseyside.

    There must be something about Lancastrian landlords doing paperwork in the pub itself at lunchtime. I suppose it is a relatively new tax year and if I was in that position I'd sooner be in the pub rather than sat in the office or whatever doing it. I think I'll do my tax return in the pub from now on.

    Did the vegan festival extend beyond Little Valley beers and punk?

    1. I was waiting for you to ask the Pia question Tom.

    2. Tom, honestly, change the record, three times now you've said how I should shun Premier Inn brekkies for one of your scroat-holes. No wonder Pia (Reading's finest Premier Inn breakfast girl who seemed interested in BRAPA due to her own globe trotting adventures) hasn't commented on the blog, she probably feels ashamed and fears a bollocking from a certain T.Irvin.

      In reality though .... they always say they're gonna write and never do - waaah!

      Anywho, yes am with you 100% on the pub is a public house thing. Bluebell in York's CAMRA controversy 2013/4 springs to mind. And what about the Inbred Arms in Manchester? Liars too, that makes it even worse. You wouldn't pay me to go back there.

      So glad GBG is split into "fictional" counties, imagine what a huge undertaking Lancs would be otherwise for me! I'd have quit by now.

      That landlord in the Hen n Chicks didn't look like a guy who paid his taxes to me, allegedly.

      Yes, the vegan fest was spread across a few venues including an archived pub on Oldham Street though when my sister read the details, I found myself yawning and craving an ox sandwich.

  6. Your education is important to me.
    I had no idea Pia was a waitress, my apologies to her. I was thinking she was some form of culinary concoction. If you are reading, I do not blame you for the undercooked tomato, I'm sure if you cooked it you were following instructions to do it that way.

    Cheshire would also be substantially bigger and more pressing alphabetically if correct counties were used.

    Not paying tax probably requires more paperwork than paying tax. Please don't ask me how I know that, because obviously I can't possibly know for sure.

    I think smuggling your meat sandwiches or even buying non vegan crisps at the bar, would have been the correct move in said fest. I'd have supported you with a cheese sandwich.