News from pubs across the branch area.

Jack In The BoxBlackjack Brewery have launched their very own brewery tap bar in Altrincham. Jack In The Box is situated in the revamped Market House on the corner of Swan Street & Market Street, a short walk from Altrincham's transport interchange. This is the first permanent outlet for the rapidly expanding business which as well as the eponymous brewery also includes the Glassworks drinks distribution business which supplies many pubs and bars across the region with beers from some of the most exciting new breweries around.

Altrincham's historic market has undergone a transformation since control was passed from the council to Market Operations Ltd, a company headed up by Nick Johnson, former marketing manager of the Urban Splash property development company and original operator of Manchester's Atlas Bar & Deli, just over year ago. The outdoor market continues to trade in traditional form on Tuesdays and Saturdays but now also operates as a specialist market on Sundays, with each Sunday given over to a different type of speciality - Farmers; Vintage Food & Fashion; Handmade & Producers; Home House & Garden.

Jack In The Box - CellarThe biggest transformation however has been the reinvention of the indoor Market House into a food court housing a number of food & drink specialists including Blackjack whose bar occupies one corner of the hall alongside a new outlet for West Didsbury's Reserve Wines. There are four handpumps on the bar, alongside eight fonts dispensing 'craft' keg beers. At time of writing the four pumps were offering Blackjack's own Play Your Cards Rye't alongside beers from Marble, Siren and Burning Sky breweries. The casks (and kegs) are housed in a glass fronted chilled cellar located behind the bar.  There is also an extensive selection of bottled beers from names such as Weird Beard, Celt, Raw, Anarchy and more.

The market house began operation with two "soft" test weekends in early September. Jack In the Box manager Jon Hartley told us that both weekends had been very successful, with customers flocking to the bar. The test weekends are now behind them and the bar will be open daily (except Mondays) from Tuesday 16th September from 12 noon until 10pm (6pm on Sundays).

Jack In The Box - Handpumps

 

Altrincham Market House

Readers may have seen reports in the Manchester Evening News and other press which stated that the historic Sir Ralph Abercromby pub on Bootle Street, Manchester was vacant and being demolished as part of proposed development in the area.

Trafford & Hulme CAMRA is pleased to report that this is not the case and the pub remains open offering its usual excellent range of real ales and quality home cooked food. The pubs' permanent real ales are Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, Moorhouses Blond Witch, Sharps' Doom Bar and Timothy Taylors Landlord.

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August was a good month for the furniture salesmen of Chorlton with no fewer than three bars in the area undergoing makeovers. The first was Oddest on Wilbraham Road which has had new fixed seating installed outside, the floor stripped, a lick of fresh paint and some reworking of the internal oddities. Old favourites like the Turkish lamp collection and cassette tape wall remain, but there are new touches including new lighting including bare lampshade frames above the bar. New furniture inside has given a bit more space.

Next to see the decorators was the Marble Beer House which has been repainted throughout, had the bar reworked to include installation of a second display fridge allowing them to increase their range of bottled beers, much needed refurbishment of the bathrooms and new furniture installed. Perhaps the biggest change is the large table which used to dominate the front section of the pub has gone to be replaced by a number of smaller tables & chairs which give a lot more flexibility for smaller groups.

The final entry in the triumvirate was Electrik which has replaced all of it's internal furniture. A series of fixed booths with seating for four have been installed down the left hand side and rear of the bar with the "school canteen" tables and chairs which made up the rest of the seating having been replaced with rectangular high tables and stools. Unfortunately, the refurbishment did not extend to the toilets which continue to let this otherwise well kept bar down.

Pub Of The Year 2014The branch was extremely sorry to hear that landlord Steve Crook has left The City Arms in Kennedy Street.

Earlier in the year, Steve suffered a serious back injury which has seen him unable to work in the cellar since. Unfortunately, his recovery from this injury has taken a lot longer than doctors originally predicted which has ultimately led to his departure from the pub where he has been for eight years, the latter four as manager.

Perhaps it is fitting that one of the final accolades of his tenure was the pub being named Trafford & Hulme Branch Pub of The Year for 2014. In an unfortunate turn of events, shortly after Steve left the pub, Max Sheen who has been covering some of the cellar duties during Steve's incapacitation also departed.   Thankfully continuity is assured as Jenny McHugh remains at the pub.  Jenny has been the linchpin holding the pub together since January.  The new manager of the City Arms is David Pattinson who has previous experience at the Britons Protection and Town Hall Tavern. David has vowed to continue business as usual.

We wish Steve all the best for the future and Dave good luck with his new charge. 

 

While the forthcoming reopening of The Orange Tree is great news, elsewhere in Altrincham things aren't so good with no fewer than three pubs closing in recent months.

First to go was The Victoria on Stamford Street - primarily a restaurant in recent years but one that maintained a handpump on the bar and served a decent enough pint of Old Speckled Hen - it has been up for sale since February but remained open until June since when it has appeared closed. Now change of use application has been submitted by "Small Corporate Financial Planning".

The Victoria was followed by The Conservative Working Men's Club on Greenwood Street (not to be confused with the Conservative Club just on the other side of the market hall) which is closed and marked for sale.

Finally, the King George on Moss Lane near Altrincham FC took to twitter on 10th July to announce "Deeply sorry we have had to close but it was inevitable. Thanks to all #regulars #staff and real folk at #jwlees. I hope we stay in touch"

There was surprise in the twittersphere and beyond at closing time on July 5th when cryptic posts from Manchester's Odder Bar on both twitter & Facebook announced #EndOfAnEra.

As the dust settled over the next day or two, it became apparent that the seemingly popular Oxford Road Bar & club had been sold and closed with just one day's notice leaving a number of event promoters looking for other venues.

Trafford & Hulme CAMRA had been aware that the bar had been on the market for a number of months but the sudden closure came as a surprise. A planning application published shortly after the closure suggested that premises are set to become a Costa Coffee. Some staff have been relocated to the other bars in the Odd Group - Manchester's Odd & The Blue Pig and Chorlton's Oddest.