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As regular Branch meeting attenders will know there has been much discussion over the past couple of years or so about how the City Centre of Manchester is supported by its local CAMRA Branches, and how consistent support is to our City Centre pubs and bars.

There has been much discussion and consultation, and lots of confusion on what cannot and can be done from a CAMRA prospective, with members of the National Executive themselves contradicting each other.

Part of this discussion has been around what is needed to set up a new CAMRA Branch, and as part of this a group of CAMRA members have come together to propose and be the founding committee of a potential City Centre Branch.

Currently the City Centre is covered by three existing Branches – North Manchester, Stockport and South Manchester, and ourselves. The formation of a City Centre Branch would have a major effect on us as a Branch and as part of the process of proposing to set up a new Branch, the prospective Branch Committee is required to consult with the affected Branches and to consider the results of that consultation in coming up with a final business plan for the consideration of our Regional Director and the CAMRA Branches

This Consultation meeting has been set for Tuesday 12th May at 8.15 at the Waterhouse in Manchester, a pub which if the new Branch is set up we will lose as a Trafford and Hulme pub.

The Dockyard Spiningfields 2 SmallMedia City's The Dockyard has been serving real ales and much more beside to the staff of BBC, ITV and the many other companies based at the Salford complex. They have now expanded with a second Dockyard bar in Manchester city centre opening just after Easter.

Taking over the former Café Rouge unit on Left Bank in Spinningfields (at the Manchester end of the pedestrian bridge that crosses the Irwell from Salford's Mark Addy)., the new outlet follows much the same design concept as the original - what might be called industrial chic - but on a more generous budget.

The Dockyard sum themselves up as 'A proper pub, serving proper food and proper ale' - the latter being served from 8 hand pumps on the L shaped bar. Four pumps dispense Thwaites Wainwright (now brewed by Marstons) and house beer Dockyard Ale (a rebadged Thwaites TBC). A separate bank of four pumps server the guest ales which on opening weekend were Seven Brothers excellent IPA, SIBA gold award winning Brewsmith Bitter, Tweed Hopster and Brightside Odin. Purely in the interests of journalistic research, we tried all four and can report that quality ranged from very good to excellent.

As well as the two Dockyards, Owner Steve Pilling owns the Red Lion in High Lane (south of Stockport) and two Damson Restaurants in Heaton Moor and Media City. Dockyard manager Joe Foster tells us that Steve has a passion for local produce and this extends to the ales on the bar so those four pumps will always see local micros featured. Joe had no hesitation in signing the pub up to CAMRA's LocAle scheme on the spot.

The food menu is moderate without being minimalist - classic burgers share with a selection of 'butties' ranging from ham & cheese through to a fish and mushy pea butty, complemented with a selection of ribs, wings, salads and a pie of the day. Sunday roasts are also served.

With its beer range, prices a lot lower than some of their Spinningfield neighbours and an extensive outside area on the banks of the Irwell, the Dockyard looks like a welcome addition to Manchester's pub scene. Find out more at dockyard.pub and on twitter at @DockyardSpin

The Dockyard bar Small


Hale's The Moose bar has expanded their operations with a new bar in Chorlton. Imaginatively called The Moose, Chorlton, the bar opened on Beech Road in just in time for Easter and when T&H CAMRA called on Good Friday, was already proving popular. The bar is yet another addition to Chorlton's incredibly vibrant real ale scene with two handpumps on the bar.

The Moose, Hale was recently named runner up in Trafford & Hulme CAMRA's Best Newcomer Award in recognition of their commitment to bringing cask ale from independent breweries to an area where despite a vast number of bars and restaurants, real ale has only appeared at the Robinson's & Sam Smith's pubs in the town. Chorlton with it's multitude of local ales will bring a new challenge to the team.

At the Chorlton outlet's opening the cask ales were Brightside Brewery's Amarillo and a second 3.7% beer with a paper pumpclip named "Moose Ale". Although the pump clip didn't give any clues to the origin of it, the bars' beer menu indicates it as Moose Ale,  Blackburn - which would make it from Daniel Thwaites. The menu also listed a third beer from Porthmadog's Purple Moose Brewery - given that there were only two pumps, hopefully this indicates that a third is not far away.

Given that the company has its roots in Hale's The Little Deli Company, is no surprise that food comes in the form of a variety of cold platters, sandwiches and similar charcuterie based fare.

Morley Cheeks heads to Hale

In a coincidental reverse move, Dominic Clancy, owner of Chorlton's Morley Cheeks has opened a new bar-restaurant in Hale. The Stockyard opened on 27th February, replacing the former Amba bar on Ashley Road. Sadly, unlike it's Chorlton sibling there is no cask ale. Given that Morley Cheeks has given prominence to local beers with a house beer from Privateer and regularly featuring the likes of Seven Brothers and Beartown, it was disappointing to see Stockyard's menu advertising keg Boddingtons as "brewed at the famous Strangeways brewery in Manchester", when in reality that brewery closed 10 years ago and the current product is believed to come out of the Anheuser InBev factory in Samlesbury, Lancashire.

Trevor staying as he is

Across the road from The Moose, Chorlton - we understand that the proposed refurbishment of The Famous Trevor Arms has been put on hold for the foreseeable future.


Broadheath's The Navigation has re-opened after an extensive refurbishment.

No walls have been knocked down or built but it is all new furnishings and freshly painted walls for the pub which stands on the corner of Navigation Road & Manchester Road.  The new Landlady, Julie, took over the last September and has spent the last couple of months trying to obtain the clientele that she wished for.  Julie has 26 years experience in the trade.

This is a Stonegate pub and so it is committed to serving cask ales.  The pub has five handpumps but is currently limiting themselves to keeping three in use until business picks up. It is the intention to have at least one real cider available in the summer.  Everything is very reasonably priced. 
They open at 10am in the morning to serve breakfast and then they serve food from noon until 7.30 offering meals and buffet choices.  The Bowling Green is still there ready for the start of the bowling season later in April.  There is outside drinking to the front and rear of the pub.
The pub has a large function room on the first floor which has not been used for years.  This is still under going re-decoration but once finished look out for their cask ales and food matching sessions.
A Quiz is every Tuesday at 8.30.  The local chess group meets here.  Live bands on Fridays and Bank Holidays.

EmbraceEmbrace is a new café bar cum nightclub on Stamford New Road (formerly the site of Uluru, Cushion & The Flamin' Galah). They opened back in November with the tag line "The House of Spirits" and a drinks menu dominated by cocktails & draught beers from London's Meantime Brewery.

However, in March, the range expanded to include locally produced beer with the addition of a single handpump on the bar. They are free of tie and can therefore source whatever beer they like but initial offerings have been from Bury's Brightside Brewery, including Manchester Skyline and Odin.

There is live music every weekend (Friday or Saturday) and a wide range of other events. Food mainly consist of cold platters, pies and wraps but as the warmer months come along, the bar plan to make use of their roof terrace to host evening barbecues. CAMRA salutes bars like Embrace which may not have beer as their focus but still appreciate that a good quality real ale is something that their customers will appreciate and offer their customers the choice.

Embrace have a website www.embracecafebar.co.uk , Facebook Page & Twitter feed

Meanwhile the Station Hotel, an on-off outlet for many years, has returned to the real ale fold. It has recently featured two beers which aren't that common round these parts - Theakston Old Peculiar and Theakston XB. Quality has been reported as good. We hope to catch up with the new tenants shortly to hear their plans for this oft overlooked pub which has an excellent location opposite the recently re-opened Altrincham Interchange.