Media 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