You may have noticed that I get my easts and wests mixed up a bit, something to do with my incompetence in science no doubt (Grade 4 CSE).
But I always reckon I can tell you where any place in England is, and so it’s slightly embarrassing I continue to get my Montons and Mostons mixed up. The casual observer would just lump them into “dull Northern Manchester suburbs without much merit” and leave it at that. But don’t make that mistake.
Head south in Moston, and you end up at FC United of Manchester (FCUM). Head south from Monton’s main drag and you end up in Eccles.
To be honest I actually thought FCUM, the Rushden & Diamonds of the North, actually played in Monton at the flashy ground below Eccles cemetery, but that appears to be a Rugby team.
My new GBG pub, being a micro, was closed, so I had an hour to re-evaluate Eccles. It’s very hard to do that without using the words “Victorian splendour” and “Holts“, but there’s more to it than that.
If nothing else, it’s home to what has recently been the highest regarded General Hospital in the whole NHS, though I was grateful not to be needing it in the first week of January.
The central area is dominated by transport infrastructure and superstores, but St Mary’s provides a peaceful area to eat my Greggs steak bake, a distress purchase as the appealing little Café Vintage was closed.
I’d obviously neglected the town on my trips to the Lamb, Albert Edward and Royal Oak, as the cobbled area round here is Stockportesque. I fear the Cross Keys (above, rear) will not be re-opening in time to serve that last pint of Cloudwater Cask.
For better or worse, the pubs make Eccles. It’s out of date, but take a look at the Council ale trail leaflet here. If only for the one of the great staged photos in the Albert Edward.
I got some odd looks from locals while taking photos of street art,
but locals must be used to old blokes snapping the Lamb by now surely ? I’ll revisit that one again soon.
The walk back to Monton took me past what I’d call gated communities if they were in Radlett. I guess this is where the young doctors and NHS bureaucrats who can’t afford Boothstown live, as Monton Road has the essentials for young professionals – champagne bar, nail bar, Turkish bistro, micro pub.
It also has its own Holts, though The Park is from a different planet to the Lamb. My trusty GBG spreadsheet records a good visit there this decade, when it looked like a pub. It was heaving though.
It’s very hard not to look shady when you’re walking up and down a street waiting for a micro to open, but I wasn’t alone. The Malt Dog clearly has a community of regulars, all greeted by name by the very cheery owner.
I loved this place. Some of the most enthusiastic salesmanship ever (“try the Milk Stout. I love the Milk Stout !” “I will !”), relentlessly upbeat ’90s indiepop (Space and James), and inspirational John Peel quotes.
It was £400 for a portrait of Peel, not the quote, by the way.
I doubt this complies with the Herne/Butchers Arms micropub rules, and hurrah for that. It’s a small, enterprising community pub with top quality beer (NBSS 3.5). Not that that stopped everyone ordering Paulaner, but that’s pubs for you.