Pub of the Season

Trafford & Hulme Branch awards four seasonal awards to pubs, bars & clubs in the branch area

The Pub Of The Season award is presented to a pub or bar within the branch area which has excelled in one or more areas:
a) introducing real ale to a new area or market where none has been available
b) on-going excellence in the quality of real ales (and ciders) on offer
c) on-going excellence of service to customers and/or the local community
d) significant increases in the sales of real ales and/or traditional ciders
e) excellence in support promotion of CAMRA and its aims
f) significant charitable work

Nominees for the award are put forward by local CAMRA members & voted on by branch members once a quarter.

A pub (while under the same management) cannot be Pub Of The Season more than once in a 3 year period. A pub must have been under the same management for over one year before it becomes eligible to be nominated as Pub Of The Season

Sir Ralph AbercrombyThe Trafford & Hulme branch Pub Of The Season for Winter 2015/16 is the Sir Ralph Abercromby in Manchester City Centre.

The Sir Ralph is a Manchester institution having stood on Bootle Street since the early 19th century. Current Landlord Mike Christodoulou came to the pub in 2011 when he and the legendary “Greek George” of the Circus Tavern fame revitalised it after a period of closure. George moved on after a couple of years but Mike has continued to build the pub into one with a vibrant community who head to it for good value food, regular entertainment and of course good beer – there are usually five real ales on the bar.

Despite its long history, the future of the pub is seriously under threat from Manchester City Council’s plans to redevelop the whole area. Although the proposals which were recently subject of public consultation are deliberately vague, all the indications are that the developers see the pub as “in the way”. CAMRA will be doing what we can to ensure that development does not wipe out such an important part of our pub scene.

The Pub Of The Season award will be presented on Friday 30th January from 8pm. It’s hoped to get the press to cover the event in the light of the threat to the pub, so it would be good if CAMRA members from across the region could make it down to show the level of support for our historic pubs.

The 23rd of July saw the presentation of the "Pub of the Season" for Summer 2015 to Pi, Shaw's Road, Altrincham. The event was well attended by a large cohort of Branch Members who enjoyed a splendid evening of Ale, punctuated by Tapas style snacks and Pizza. The presentation was made by John O'Donnell, the branch Vice Chairman to Andy Ingham the owner who looks very pleased to receive it:-

Andy Receiving the presentation from John

As does the Manager, Ben Reynolds who can just be seen lurking in the background of this one:-

Andy the owner and Benthe Manager

 

Pi (Altrincham)The Trafford & Hulme Pub Of The Season for Summer 2015 is Pi, Shaw's Road, Altrincham.

Pi opened in October 2012 as the third outlet for Chorlton based Pivo Inns. The original Pi on Manchester Road in Chorlton was Pub of The Season for Spring 2010 with Pi(Rose Lane) in the Liverpool suburb of Mosley Hill joining the family in 2011.

The Altrincham bar follows the same basic formula as its siblings - specialising in beer with a basic but hugely successful food menu based around the products of Bristol's PieMinster. The concept of Pi was born out of owner Andy Ingham's desire for a local bar that he would want to drink in - as nobody else was opening the kind of place he liked, he did it himself.

There are two handpumps on the bar, one selling permanent beer Tatton Blonde. The guest pump serves an ever changing range of guests with regularly featured breweries including RedWillow, Saltaire and Brightside. The cask ales are complemented by a wide range of distinctive draught beers - there are no national brands here - and a massive range of bottles from the "beer bible". Essentially it's a beer heaven.

Sedge LynnThe Trafford & Hulme Pub Of The Season for Spring 2015 is The Sedge Lynn, Chorlton-cum-Hardy.

Whilst possibly not having the trendy appeal of some of Chorlton's other bars, the Sedge Lynn sits quietly on Manchester Road selling vast quantities of quality real ales day in day out. Its 12 handpumps will typically feature 8 different real ales alongside two traditional ciders and have seen it become one of JD Wetherspoon's top selling real ale outlets, easily selling more real ale than most of it's competition.

Current manager Kirstin Downham took over 18 months ago having moved from The Kingfisher in Poynton. Local readers may also remember her from Didsbury's Milson Rhodes where she was the original manager in 2010. Since moving to Chorlton, Kirstin has continued the good work of her predecessor Leanne Kempthorne who boosted real ale sales at the pub with a more varied range and much improved quality, taking the pub into the Good Beer Guide in the process. In September last year, the pub was named the North West regional winner for Real Ale in Wetherspoons annual awards.

Stretford Sip Club signThe Trafford & Hulme Branch Pub of The Season for Autumn 2014 is perhaps one of the most unusual "pubs" in the whole of the branch area but one that has made an impression in just six months of trading. Located in former office space above an estate agent's office, the only sign of the Stretford Sip Club's existence is a hand painted wooden sign in the window adjacent to the anonymous door of the premises on the corner of Barton Road and Kingsway.

Step inside the door and assorted casks stacked under the stairs are the first clue to what lies above. Climbing to the top of the stairs and you may think you've been mistaken and you have entered into somebody's lounge complete with sofas and dining table - it's only when you venture to the rear room that you will find the bar complete with it's two handpumps and well stocked fridge.

Opening in April 2014, The Sip Club was the realisation of the dream of landlady Heather Garlick, a born and bred Stretfordian who wanted to bring to her hometown the kind of place she would like to socialise at herself - a cosy and welcoming space offering only genuine quality beers & wines. How the Sip Club has embedded itself into the local area in such as short period of time is remarkable and testament to the vision and hard work of Heather and the band of family, friends and suppliers who have embraced what she set out to do.

Old Market TavernTrafford & Hulme Camra Pub of the season for summer 2014 is The Old Market Tavern in Altrincham - better known as' O.M.T.' to most people.

John Glover with his wife Linda and family 'took over the reigns' in March, 2005 and quickly set about making the pub what we see today. However when they first entered the building it was in a mess having been closed for a period of time and certain 'undesirables' had broken in and the place had been vandalised with many items 'gone missing'. Over the years the pub has been transformed into a thoroughly enjoyable place to participate drinking some fantastic beers.

2008 was the year that saw the OMT re-enter Camra's Good Beer Guide and has been in every edition since. Also the same year saw it voted as Trafford & Hulme's Camra Pub of the Year.

Although the OMT is owned by Punch Taverns, John has an excellent agreement with them which allows him to choose which beers he wants. Six beers are permanent - Caledonian Deuchars IPA, George Wright's Drunken Duck & Northern Lights, Taylor's Landlord, Phoenix Arizona and Facers DHB, with a futher five handpumps reserved for guest beers from far and wide.

The Trafford & Hulme Branch Pub Of The Season for Spring 2014 is The Vine Inn, Manchester.

The Vine InnSituated 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.