The Trafford & Hulme Branch Pub Of The Season for Spring 2014 is The Vine Inn, Manchester.
Situated on Kennedy Street, just off Princess Street near to the Town Hall, The Vine is one of the city's oldest pubs sporting an impressive tiled frontage and stained glass windows. The pub is an excellent example of how a pub can offer a real sense of community built around it's regulars despite being right in the heart of the city, yet still offers a warm welcome to the many visitors to our city who cross its threshold. Much of this is built around long time landlady Rachelle Stringer whose enthusiasm for life and people is infectious to both staff and customers.
Locals and visitors alike have long been able to sample excellent ales from the two handpumps crammed onto the bar of the small ground floor servery, with Timothy Taylor's Landlord and Wychwood Hobgoblin having been the only permanent ales. However, December 2013 saw the biggest change at the pub since the original ground floor bar was expanded into the building next door in the 1970s. That expansion created the upstairs area and a cellar bar which in recent years has served as the pub's restaurant and function area but late last year, the cellar bar was transformed into Malt & Cask - a pub within a pub.
As the name suggests, Malt & Cask specialises in whiskeys and cask ales, with no fewer than eight handpumps on the bar serving a wide range of styles. Currently limited to a range of guest ales offered by owners Enterprise Inns, Rachelle hopes to be able to expand the range to include ales from local microbrewers over the next few months. The whiskey selection extends beyond the more common Scottish offerings to include Welsh, Irish and even Japanese varieties. The new bar has an entirely different feel to the rest of the pub while still offering the same friendly service.
The transformation has expanded the pubs appeal with some of the existing regulars preferring the ambience of Malt & Cask while others prefer the more traditional décor upstairs. The pub is also attracting new customers keen to sample the expanded range and enjoy the increased space. Managing to pull off traditional pub and modern bar in the same building is quite an achievement and well deserving of the title Pub Of The Season.
The presentation will take place on Wednesday 16th April from 8pm. If you know the pub, you know you'll be welcome, but if you've not checked it out before or haven't been for a while, this is a great opportunity to come and experience this hidden gem of the city.