News from pubs across the branch area.

Urmston's Britannia closed on 4th April for tranformation into Punch Taverns' Champs Bar & Grill Format. The US themed sports bar concept began in 2012 when Punch bought the branding of a bar on Sheffield's Eccleshall Road and opened a new bar under the format just down the road. A second Champs opened in Sheffield in 2013 followed by further rebrandings of former traditional pubs in Liverpool, Washington, Southport, Wisbech and Ilford.

The Flixton Road pub which has had many different names in recent years including Mambo's and 'Juicy' is, at time of writing, totally gutted as part of the refit. All but two of the bars in the format sell real ale so hopes are high that Champs Urmston will be a welcome addition to the town's evolving ale scene.

Altrincham's Old Market Tavern was recently listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). As a result of the protection this affords the pub, owners Punch Taverns have given notification to Trafford Council that they intend to dispose of the pub.

As an Asset of Community Value (ACV), this means that local community groups (not just CAMRA) have a chance to consider buying the building. Any community group interested in purchasing the pub would need to notify Trafford Council of its interest by 12 April in order to trigger a 6 month moratorium period when the group would need to make arrangements to complete a purchase.

CAMRA understands that Punch's sale does not at this point threaten the future of this great pub as we've been advised that the current tenant is looking to buy the pub from Punch. Although the lease negotiated with previous tenant, the late John Glover, gave the OMT a level of freedom over its' beer purchasing that is almost unprecedented in 'Pub Co' agreements, taking the pub completely out of Pub Co control should only make the pub's future brighter. CAMRA would welcome the change of ownership and would hope the OMT can continue to be one of Altrincham’s most valued purveyors of quality real ale and continue as a great asset to the local community as a venue for live music and other community events.

Altrincham's The Orange Tree re-opened on 26th February 2016. The new leaseholder is Adam Greaves.

Four cask beers are on offer, all priced at £2.80 a pint. The core range for now is Adnam's Ghost Ship, Sharp's Doom Bar, Greene King IPA and Copper Dragon Golden Pippin. There are longer term plans for one or two guest beers and a real cider or perry.

The back room  (the one that leads to the beer garden) has a wood burning real fire.

Morley Cheeks at the top of Barlow Moor Road, Chorlton has made some changes in the cellar team that have seen expansion and diversification of the cask ale range. An improvement in both quality and choice is on the cards.

On a recent visit, Arbor’s Triple Hop was on the bar alongside Red Rocker from Cromarty brewery and the re-instated permanent Wainwright, with a Blackjack beer lined up to replace the Arbor.

We look forward to seeing what this new dawn brings as the overall standard in Chorlton continues to push the expectations for individual bars to a higher level, which is only good for beer drinkers.

Chorlton can already claim to be one of the premier destinations in the whole country for the beer lover and it’s still getting better.

In February, the former Crema cafe on Manchester Road reopened as Mary & Archie – an offshoot of the successful West Didsbury bar. The unusually shaped bar (the cellar access is actually below the bar) has four hand pulls while the back bar has a font wall with 9 taps. A packed out opening night saw local brews from First Chop and RedWillow lining up alongside London’s Five Points Railway Porter on the pumps, with Blackjack, Cloudwater, Tweed, Siren and Titanic Plum Porter amongst the many top breweries to have featured in the first few weeks.

The bar, which is situated on corner of Kensington Road between the existing Pi and Font bars, is a family affair with Elli Peake at the helm, her brother Tom looking after the kitchen and mum Bev in the background – the same team who set up the original 5 years ago. Larger than its Burton Road sibling, there is seating for around 50 inside while outside there is a large wrap-around terrace that looks set to be a premier Chorlton destination in the warmer months.

Breakfast is served daily until 3pm, with range of mains including daily specials served all day. Those missing their Sunday Roast at Wetherspoons can head to Mary & Archie instead where their Sunday deal offers a roast dinner and a pint of ale for £12. Should you have a sweeter tooth, you can choose from a selection of cakes and brownies from the award winning Silver Apples bakery.

Beagle MembershipChorlton's The Beagle has introduced a new membership scheme.

Those who sign up and collect their membership card get 10% off draught & bottled beer and cider at all times plus access to special offers on food such as all you can eat Taco Tuesdays for £9.95 throughout February & March.

They have also teamed up with Beech Road's independent deli, wine/beer merchant & grocery store Epicerie Ludo who will also give Beagle Members 10% off all Beers, Lagers and Craft Ales when spending over £10 in a single transaction (not to be used in conjunction with any other offer).  Pay them a visit, you wont regret it.

Sign up at beaglesabout.com

Similar schemes have also been introduced at the group's two other bars in Manchester, Port Street Beer House and Common