In the Boar’s Head on New Years Eve I realised that none of my Top 100 pubs so far are from Stockport, despite me telling you it’s our greatest pub town (now that Bathgate is losing its Wetherspoons, anyway).

Stockport suffers from a surplus of treasures, with at least a half dozen potential candidates, and that’s before I consider the irritation potential of my nominating the Emigration. But it was four years since I’d last set foot in the Olde Vic, and I needed to make sure that Dick and Dave didn’t miss this idiosyncratic gem before heading down to The Smoke.

Photo courtesy The Olde Vic

The Vic was one of the first pubs I did on an ill advised (and doomed) attempt to clear the town’s ten entries on a February night back in 2002 (back then we stayed in Altrincham,which says something about the growth in budget options along the A6). As it turned out I called it time at the Spread Eagle, which made the Vic seem plush.

Back then the Vic had the ugliest pub exterior outside Motherwell, and the same limited hours, hiding one of the great cheery town pubs. I’m sure they had a go at my Southern accent back then, and their view on Northern superiority haven’t changed I see.

They’re right though

I actually popped in here on that famous date 13 May 2012, to be met by a barrage of ribbing as the glory-hunting City fan I clearly was. It was brilliant.

As was the beer. And it still is.

On New Years Eve I had the Mallinsons, as a good a beer to end a year as any. No idea what it was called but it had Simcoe hops, which probably doesn’t narrow it down.

Acceptable bar clutter

Proper pub seating, weird clutter, some bloke cooking in the corner, a beer board, folk who insist you talk to them. It’s actually very far from being a Beer House, the Magnet and Crown are your places for a dozen beers.  But the tight range in the Vic helps maintain quality and quality cask is what it’s all about.

What was he cooking ?

Dick and Dave were a bit bemused, I think, but it had been a long day.

It’s a classic. Not in the Edwardian architecture sense  of an Eccles Lamb, but in the sense of a place for all that wants you there, even if it has a funny way of showing it some times. No bouncers on the door, no NYE admission tickets, said it all really.

Even if it does have some dodgy looking investors.

50 thoughts on “TOP 100 PUBS -YE OLDE VIC, STOCKPORT

  1. Great review of a pub I wish we had visited sooner and more often. Your picture actually makes me look a bit thinner than Dick too. Well done. I am still quite curious about what they were cooking. I also had an olive level moral dilemma regarding the turkey. It would have made a wonderful souvenir. Like the olive though it remains with its rightful owner.


      1. You may want to search Amazon for Dave’s book, “Classic Lines for All Occasions.” I think it is still in print.


  2. I have to add that the density of good pubs is astounding. All very different as well. We’ve been to a lot of English cities that make pretty bold beer claims, but none had the overall quality and quantity is such a small area. Truly a great place to do a pub crawl.


    1. It was interesting when you commented on the density of pubs given how I remember how they have been thinned out over the years.

      If you go back twenty-five years, as well as the Armoury, Olde Vic and Jolly Crofter, within that general area there were also the Swan, Grapes, Blue Bell, Church and Greyhound. That must have been one of the densest concentrations of pubs anywhere in the country outside a town or city centre.

      We also passed a number of former pubs on Hillgate including the Spread Eagle, Royal Oak, Gladstone/Bishop Blaize, Waterloo and Black Lion


      1. I do think the density is pretty amazing. Even cities like Derby and Norwich seem far more spread out for pubbing. Not to mention that I don’t think they have as many classic pubs as Stockport had in its center. I know many think it is touristy, but York was the city that seemed closest in density of pubs. At least of the ones I have visited. I wish I had been smarter 25 years ago though…


      2. York seems pretty well balanced to me, though the Beer Guide pubs all cluster round the centre, rarely in the suburbs (they don’t want Simon pestering them perhaps).


      3. I felt like a kid in a candy store in Stockport. I can only imagine what it would have been like 25 years ago. We would have needed another week. We could have used a couple more days as it stands.


      4. It must be said that not all these pubs were particularly good, although the Grapes in particular was a Good Beer Guide entry for many years.


  3. It is a pub we passed a few times without going in, a mistake. It was a sight to see a sign every 40 feet along Chatham Street reminding people to lock their cars only to spot the jeep parked at the Olde Vic with a boot on the front wheels and windows smashed. I hope it was locked.


    1. Sadly they don’t on the whole – you can get black/white/red/green ones each with 1.0 and 0.6mm holes.

      Also sad that I’ve still never been in the Olde Vic, I must rectify this. My misspent youth was, err, misspent, in the Railway at Portwood and the Crown.


      1. I went to uni in Newcastle (just about far enough away from home!) and haven’t yet left the North East. I think I appreciate Stockport a lot more now as a visitor than I did when I lived there, though. After a lot of drinking in both places, we moved to Durham 6 years ago and were a tad disappointed with the quality of the pubs – so opened our own. Hopefully one day it will be just as legendary!


      2. Ah you’ll love the Duke, Martin – an Ember Inn through and through!

        And you probably won’t like our opening hours! (Especially not this or next week as we’re closed midweek for a holiday, but needs must when everyone’s doing DryGinuary) has the salient points and a link to the Facebook page – will get round to finishing the website at some point when I’m not at work work!

        Drop me an email (chris*at* when you’re planning your trip and we can go to the Half Moon for some Bass.


      3. From the street the Station House is a great looking pub. Any inside shots available?


      4. Thanks Dick. Considering the building had never been a pub between 1850 and 2015 it looks surprisingly like it was meant to be one! Must be the wedge effect.

        If you look through the photos on the Facebook page ( you’ll find interior shots interspersed amongst the pump clips. A gallery is on my list to do on the website (eventually), otherwise you’ll have to wait for Martin’s blog 😉


      5. The Crown would be a great place to misspend one’s youth. With the Railway not far behind.


      6. One can get a good impression from your online photos. Looks like a place for a must visit. You are probably already aware of this, but be ready not to use a dimpled mug when RM arrives! It is also nice to have a fine Indian restaurant close by, the Alishaan.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “Even if it does have some dodgy looking investors.”

    You probably won’t be aware, but Peter Butler, whom we met in the Red Bull, is also an investor in the Red Bull. As is John Clarke 😀


      1. Chilli Massala was disappointing; chicken dhansak is a good test of an Indian and that was below average.

        My chinese takeaway from Beijing City the next night was superb though, as was the hotdog in Bakers.


      2. Maybe New Year’s Eve is not the best time to experience an Indian restaurant. Did you not have a better meal there earlier in the week?


      3. We had a very good meal there on the 27th. With RM was the first time I have had chicken dhansak, so I cannot comment on it. The chicken korma was not as good the second time. The first time it had a nice coconut flavor, which was missing the second time.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I loved the hot dog at the Vaults. That was great stuff. Believe it or not Chilli Massala was the highest tripadvisor rated place in the center.


  5. I went in the Station House on the 19th March 2016 at the end of a large pub crawl round Durham,a great place to end my crawl in and handy for the train station,the Brass Castle Northern Blonde went down very well.
    I do not know about any GBG pubs,i just do pubs i see,some may be in it,but most probably not.

    Liked by 1 person

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