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News from pubs across the branch area.

In Urmston, the Prairie Schooner Tap House will be renovating its frontage with new windows, new signage and a large awning. Inside, air conditioning will be added. Events-wise the bar and bottle show now hosts free live music every Wednesday from 8.30 (jazz, blues, folk). Every Thursday there is a “vinyl night” where customers are welcome to bring their own MP3 players! The bottle shop’s range now reflects the great beers being brewed across the North with an emphasis on new breweries too like Torrside, High Peak & Thirst Class.

There's a new landlord at the Bird i'th Hand in Flixton. Mark was previously in charge of Robinsons The Railway in Whaley Bridge. When #thcamra called in there was no cask ale available as Mark is having owners Punch Taverns replace the beer lines. Once the work is complete, is likely to feature Wells' Bombardier and Theakston Lightfoot and possibly a dark beer.

Locals in Hulme have reacted with concern about the sudden closure of The Junction Hotel, one of the last remaining traditional pubs in an area that used to have one on every corner. Is reported that noise complaints about the long running jam nights made by new arrivals to the area curtailed those nights and severely hit trade.

More worryingly is the news that owners Hydes Brewery have wasted no time in selling off the pub to a property developer. Opening Times has no information on who that developer may be or their plans for the pub but local campaigners have vowed to fight any attempts to redevelop the pub which they wish to retain as a community asset. Anybody who is interested in backing the campaign to save the pub should contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chorlton has gained yet another bar and restaurant serving cask ales and “craft beer”. The interestingly name “Man Bites Frog” is in the first unit of the Victorian arcade on Barlow Moor Road near to Chorlton Bus station – just down from Strange Brew & The Spoon Inn. In fact co-owner Dave Cleall-Hill has moved from The Spoon Inn to fulfil a long held dream of having his own place.

The wacky name is accompanied by the off the wall aim to be a combo of craft ale bar, laid back restaurant and outdoor cinema! Yep that’s right – cinema! Plans are in place to turn the courtyards at the rear into venue where guests will wear headphones to watch movies al fresco.

Dave, who first came to local prominence during his time at Marble Beer House when it was named Trafford & Hulme CAMRA Pub Of The Year, has partnered with Saffron Hulme formerly of Waterstones café in the new venture. As the name might suggest, the food will be French inspired – including frog’s legs. On the beer front, there are two handpumps on the bar with beers coming from local brewers such as First Chop and Alphabet Brewing Company.

Sale Sports Club has a new steward who will be familiar to many local drinkers. Gwen Partridge was the landlady of the Briton's Protection for many years until departing a couple of years back.

Once described by Elbow's Guy Garvey as "a sharp-witted, elegant and glamorous northern angel" she joins the club, located on Clarendon Crescent just off Dane Road, with a growing reputation for good real ale having hosted two successful beer festivals. Trafford & Hulme CAMRA wishes Gwen every succes in her new role.

Urmston's Britannia closed on 4th April for tranformation into Punch Taverns' Champs Bar & Grill Format. The US themed sports bar concept began in 2012 when Punch bought the branding of a bar on Sheffield's Eccleshall Road and opened a new bar under the format just down the road. A second Champs opened in Sheffield in 2013 followed by further rebrandings of former traditional pubs in Liverpool, Washington, Southport, Wisbech and Ilford.

The Flixton Road pub which has had many different names in recent years including Mambo's and 'Juicy' is, at time of writing, totally gutted as part of the refit. All but two of the bars in the format sell real ale so hopes are high that Champs Urmston will be a welcome addition to the town's evolving ale scene.

Altrincham's Old Market Tavern was recently listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). As a result of the protection this affords the pub, owners Punch Taverns have given notification to Trafford Council that they intend to dispose of the pub.

As an Asset of Community Value (ACV), this means that local community groups (not just CAMRA) have a chance to consider buying the building. Any community group interested in purchasing the pub would need to notify Trafford Council of its interest by 12 April in order to trigger a 6 month moratorium period when the group would need to make arrangements to complete a purchase.

CAMRA understands that Punch's sale does not at this point threaten the future of this great pub as we've been advised that the current tenant is looking to buy the pub from Punch. Although the lease negotiated with previous tenant, the late John Glover, gave the OMT a level of freedom over its' beer purchasing that is almost unprecedented in 'Pub Co' agreements, taking the pub completely out of Pub Co control should only make the pub's future brighter. CAMRA would welcome the change of ownership and would hope the OMT can continue to be one of Altrincham’s most valued purveyors of quality real ale and continue as a great asset to the local community as a venue for live music and other community events.