News from pubs across the branch area.

Orange Tree - Looking at Bar owner Orange TreeAltrincham's Orange Tree re-opened on October 8th. As reported previously, the pub has been taken over by Chris Clish who has overseen the  revival of Chorlton's Beech Inn. Chris has gone into partnership with Gabrielle Burns-Smith, formerly his manager at The Beech Inn and  her partner James Dainty to take the lease of the Enterprise Inns pub. The pub has undergone an extensive refurbishment lasting two  months and is now a much smarter affair than it was previously.

Externally the rather garish orange colour scheme has been replaced with a much more subdued green while internally the is a mix of  stripped brick walls and plain grey plaster. On entering the pub, seven handpumps flank the corner of the bar in front of you. Five  dispense real ale with two given over to cider. Three regular ales are Landlord, Copper Dragon Golden Pippin Thwaites Wainwright while when the branch's Altrincham Market social called on October 17th, the guests were Dorset's Otter Amber & Rudgate Ruby Mild. Gabby told us that their is an eighth  line installed but they are physically struggling to fit the pump in. She also told us that while none was available on our visit, they  will be aiming to have at least one local brew available - beers from Mobberley Fine Ales have been going well and they also had  Beartown in the cellar.

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Shak - Bar  seating copyright ShakChorlton-cum-Hardy now has an incredible 25 pubs & bars serving real ale. The latest addition to the area is The Shak which opened in October on the same part of the Wilbraham Road strip as Mono & The Bar. The Shak is a first venture into the bar world for manager &  co-owner Francesca Duffy who has opened the bar with two sleeping partners having come back to the UK after a period living in Dubai.

The bar has been fitted out in a modern style with the walls a mixture of neutral grey / green and stripped wood cladding and panels. A  giant print of a forest scene adorns the wall to the right of the entrance. The bar is to the rear of the raised area which forms the  left hand side of the bar. Although initially opening with two handpumps, a third was added after the success of ale sale on the opening weekend in October.

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King George (Hale)

July's closure of the King George on Moss Lane on the Altrincham / Hale border (near to Altrincham FC) was short lived with  new management in the form of Emma & John taking over on 21st July. As well as a brand new menu, other additions to the pub's offer include a regular Wednesday poker night, Thursday quiz and a range of other entertainments include a psychic night on 28th October

Follow events on their facebook page : https://www.facebook.com/100005638157679

Bird I'The Hand (Flixton)

Flixton has a new real ale outlet with new handpumps installed at The Bird I'The Hand on Flixton Road by the new management of Darren Shaw & Chris Gates who took over management of the pub in mid August. They have also launched a facebook page to keep locals updated with events - www.facebook.com/thebirdithhand

Royal Oak (Chorlton)

There is a new (old) name on the real ale scene with three handpumps installed at The Royal Oak. One is a modern illuminated font for Greene King IPA (not surprising as they own the pub) while two traditional pumps were reported vacant when first noticed. It's a couple of years since the Royal Oak last flirted with real ale - something which ultimately proved fruitless with slow sales leading to reports of poor quality and ultimately the removal of the ale. There's new management at the pub since then so we hope that this time they will be more successful at introducing their customers to the great flavours of well kept cask conditioned ale.

Marble Beer House (Chorlton)

Although it was a pioneer of the Chorlton bar scene, in recent times the Marble Beer House has lagged behind as newer bars with kitchens were able to offer a food menu alongside their beers. Now, their sister pub The Marble Arch has come to the rescue with a range of snacks & ploughman's options made at the renowned Rochdale Road pub & restaurant but available at the Beer House. The range includes Marble's own take on the scotch egg served with choice of chutney or piccalilli, pork pies, home made pork scratchings and classic pickled eggs.

 

Any further information on the pubs above or news of changes at any other pubs can be sent to inventory (at) thcamra.org.uk

 

Jam StreetWhalley Range's Jam Street re-opened on Wednesday 17th September. The former Jam Street Café has had quite a makeover.

While the old incarnation never seemed to know if it was a café or a pub, the new version is very much a pub and almost unrecognisable. The former seating area at the front of the pub remains a seating area but totally refurnished with much brighter décor. Blackboards painted on the walls were blank on opening night but will soon announce their menu and events. Beyond the seating area, the bar runs down the side of the building through what was the kitchen with more seating in a previously hidden area beyond.

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We reported recently on the departure of landlord Steve Crook from Manchester's City Arms. As we went to press last month, Steve's replacement was still unpacking boxes, but a couple of weeks later, Opening Times called in to meet him.

24 year old Dave Pattison originally hails from Herefordshire where he began his pub career at The Balance Inn in Luston, 25 miles west of Worcester. Dave swapped rural life for city living in 2008 when he arrived in Manchester and began working as a barman at The Briton's Protection. From The Briton's Protection, he moved to the Town Hall Tavern initially learning the trade from experienced manager Nick Nugent and then laterly under the legendary "Greek" George Archonodo. Earlier this year he returned to the Briton's Protection when it came under the same ownership as The City Arms before being appointed manager of the Kennedy Street pub in August.

Providing continuity at the Good Beer Guide listed pub is Jeni McHugh who has been at the pub just short of 9 years - Jeni should be familiar to both regular and occassional visitors over the last 9 months having stepped up to run the pub when Steve Crook was injured earlier this year including being on hand to accept the branch's LocAle Pub Of The Year award for 2013 which was followed two months later by the Trafford & Hulme Pub Of The Year 2014 accolade.

When asked about his plans for the pub, Dave replied simply "If it ain't broke….". On the physical side, a bit of tidy up and a lick of paint will be the extent of changes. Behind the bar, ale drinkers will see little change - why would you change a formula that has seen 12 consecutive Good Beer Guide entries. Moorhouses beers remain the pub's top sellers, where they are joined by LocAle's from the likes of Hornbeam, Merlin and RedWillow. Real cider remains on the back bar while a few more whiskeys have been added to the range and there is now a selection of 19 different gins on offer.

We wish David, Jeni and the team all the best for the future and trust this great pub is in safe hands.

Chorlton's Famous Trevor Arms is under new management and is set for a serious makeover following investment from owners Spirit Pubs.

The new manager is Matt Jones who moved from another Spirit Pub, The Vic in Lytham St Annes in the first week in September. He wasted no time making changes at the pub, immediately increasing the range to a permanent three cask ales. A leaky handpump prevented this from being four ales, but this should be fixed before too long.

When T&H CAMRA called last week, the regular Jennings Cumberland was on the bar while Phoenix Arizona had gone off minutes earlier. The third pump was taken by Harviestoun's excellent Bitter & Twisted which was in good form. Matt told us that while it was early days for him at The Trevor, he generally likes to rotate ales every few weeks to keep things fresh.

Late October or early November will see the pub close for a major refurbishment which will see it move into Spirit's new Quality Pubs division which aims to give a less "chain" feel than their other brands such as John Barras and Chef & Brewer. Details of the refurbishment were still being finalised, but plans have been submitted to move the pub's kitchens into the space currently occupied by the gent's with new male & female toilets installed upstairs (along with a new disabled toilet on the ground floor).

The biggest change to the pub will be the removal of the dividing wall between the lounge and bar - a move which will certainly alienate a percentage of their clientele who like the traditional distinct areas. There will be more of an emphasis on food, but concerns in the local community that the pub will go "gastro" appear unfounded. Of course, Opening Times will report back after the refurbishment.

Finally, the Trevor has become the fourth Chorlton pub (joining Lloyds, Mono & The Font) to offer a discount on real ale to CAMRA members. Your CAMRA membership card will entitle you to 10% off your pint.