This years GBG is a curate’s egg. Some places. including perhaps our greatest beer town, see a revolution as longstanding trad pubs get replaced by micros and brewery taps open barely a year into their life. Other parts of the country, including much of central and North West London, see almost no change year on year.
I’m not fussy what gets in the Guide as long as it reflects an honest local assessment of what beer quality is like consistently. Just because I’ve always had great beer in, say, the Coopers Tavern doesn’t mean it should always be in the Guide.
But central Manchester never lets me down when the new GBG arrives.
New entries for beer exhibitions at Cafe Beermoth and the new look Smithfield, a welcome return for the Hare & Hounds, award winning Brink, and one I’ve both never heard of or noticed on my many strolls along Thomas St.
Terrace hides its merits under an inauspicious bushel.
In fact it’s been here nearly 5 years, so I can assume I’ve thought it was Marble’s 57 Thomas St, so similar is the design, or put it in that big box called “interesting Manc cafes with proper beer”.
It would be very lazy to say Terrace is a very “Northern Quarter Café”, but even Mrs RM can identify that she’s not in
Kansas Stockport anymore.
Long bar, roof terrace, exposed ceiling, dangling lights that Mr RM bangs his head on, and an array of craft keg taps to make Mrs RM happy.
But more importantly, because it’s Manchester, you get recognition of your entrance, cheery service, water on your table and a sense of being welcome, even if you are double the age of their target customer.
A bit dark for me, but that might only be because it didn’t suit my photos.
A sensible cask range meant the Jaipur was top notch and a cool NBSS 3.5. To be contrary, I went for the Gipsy Hill Cherry Sour, which was just weird.
Pizza (“You’ll only need one“) and salt & pepper squid made a superb cheapish lunch, accompanied by the sort of American Disco Paul du Noyer was pushing in the NME in 1981 (Fatback Band, Sharon Redd). Quality stuff all round.
As was the toilet graffiti, which may well have been imported especially from Hamburg.
So yet more evidence of the strength in depth of Manchester’s Beer Guide scene, with the Pilcrow and Bundobust (and possibly the Piccadilly Tap) still to come.
At last year’s Revitalisation meeting, one CAMRA member made a (too) impassioned argument for more GBG entries for the city and Greater Manchester. A clumsily put, but valid argument.