Head north from the Wilbraham Road strip, passing former winner Marble Beer House on the way, you will find Pi nestled away opposite the famous Unicorn grocery store. The leisure scene in Chorlton is characterised by independently owned bars and restaurants that refuse to follow stereotypes and Pi is one of the best examples in the area.
One of the smallest pubs to receive the Pub Of The Season accolade with seating for just over 30 people, Pi doesn’t have pretensions of being a nightclub or a restaurant – as the sign outside says – Pi is a bar. It has two specialities and it does them both excellently – the first is beer and the second is pies (if you hadn’t guessed).
Opening in March 2007, Pi has stocked real ale from the start. Initially only two hand pumps were installed, but over the next 18 months this increased to the four installed today. The permanent house beer is Bank Top Flat Cap, sharing the bar with two guest ales, typically from local microbreweries such as Hornbeam, Bazens, Phoenix or Acorn. The fourth handpump provides a regularly changing real cider.
Needless to say, beer quality is excellent. A Good Beer Guide Entry following its first full year of eligibility is testament to that. Owner Andy & manager Ben have been active supporters of CAMRA since opening – in 2009 the bar took in both the Mild Challenge and the Winter Warmer Wander promotions and is already signed up for Mild Magic 2010.
Away from the real ale pumps, Pi manage to further support local micros with a dedicated font for Phoenix’s range of non-real beers – at time of writing this was Phoenix Lager Bier, but this is likely to give way to one of Phoenix’s new fruit beers in time for summer.
Supplementing the local offerings is a massive selection of foreign beers. 7 more fonts supply draught from Belgium, Germany, Holland & the USA while each table has a copy of the Pi “Beer Bible & Beverage Compendium” with tasting notes for the 60 odd bottled beers available from 20 countries as far afield as Australia, Canada, Kenya and even Mongolia.
Food wise it’s straightforward enough – there are nuts and there are pies! However, it’s not your average meat & potato pie here – the Pi pie is a gourmet experience. A choice of four from the Pi-Minister range is available at any one time (usually 2 meat & 2 vegetarian), each pie being hand made using only the finest free range and organic ingredients. Although each is filling enough to be a meal on it’s own, sides of gravy, mash and minty peas are available.
Pi is open 11am to late Monday to Friday and midday to late at weekends. With a selection of tea & coffee, fresh cakes, a good selection of newspapers supplied daily plus WiFi, Pi is perfect for a relaxing break day or night. Well-behaved children of all ages are welcome. The range of pies is available from opening until 11pm every day.
Excellent beer, simple hearty food and friendly atmosphere make Pi a worthy winner of this award. The Pub Of The Season award presentation will be made on Thursday 22nd April from 8pm – please come along.
For more info see http://www.pi-chorlton.co.uk