There’s only 3 types of pub, really.  The traditional boozer (see: The Egerton), the bar with craft beer and food (see: Terrace), and the “Family Diner” (see: everywhere).


Today the family diner comes from Droylsden, or Audenshaw if you’re picky. This is the bit of east Manchester that City fans park at to catch the tram into the Etihad or Primark, as was the case here for Mrs RM and myself.

Droylsden is, of course, the town where BRAPA had the beer that smelt of wee this year, sparking an international (well, cross-Pennines) incident when he took the beer back.

No such drama for me, as I enter a branch of the most drama-free pub chain in the world. Yes, an Ember Inn.


Actually, I’d worked up a thirst walking the 3 miles from the Etihad to the Fairfield.  I could have used my Metrolink Travelcard, but

a) I’m not a sardine,  and

b) I was walking quicker than a tram sharing the A662 with cars, which rather seemed to defeat the purpose of the metro.


Plenty for lovers of Holt’s, and dead pubs, on the walk along Ashton New Road. Entertainment from a couple of Palace fans exiled to Richmond who felt it necessary to explain to me exactly where North Yorkshire was (“It’s between Leeds and Newcastle. You can’t miss it“).

You can’t miss the Fairfield Arms either; just look for the car park with taxed vehicles in it. The setting takes in some attractive canalside scenery, and a memorial to a long-forgotten sport.





Oddly, you always know when you’re about to visit a Wetherspoon. Not just the 8am (for coffee) opening times and the word “Abbot” in the beer list, but the local branch will always state what the building used to be before it was “Spooned”, as if devaluing the entry (“just a Spoons“).

In contrast, the entry wording for the Ember Inns that sprinkle the Guide with their lovely identikit décor often leaves you guessing as to who owns the pub, leaving the tell-tale tall sign to reveal the horror to the adventurous ticker, often after a lengthy walk though drab suburbs.

The Fairfield Arms  is a stately looking building which you’re a bit surprised that Brunning & Price have missed, ’till you remember it’s in Droylsden.

Eight handpulls” says WhatPub. This was the beer range on a Saturday night in September;


Suits me.  The ultra-rare Wainwright had just gone off, making my beer choice easy.

Finding a suitable place to perch my half of Ember Pale was the highlight of my visit, weaving past overdressed folk in floral dresses who didn’t know how to sit down.


Mudge-approved seating

In the end I stood at the Champagne observation point,

There was lots to observe, in a mildly “Abigail’s Party” way, but clearly the main enjoyment came from the Christmas decorations (top). Counselling is available for folk distressed by having left their Christmas Day booking too late.

My Mum would love it. Simon will love it too. For different reasons.


But what about the beer ?”  I hear Pub Curmudgeon cry.

It was excellent, at least NBSS 3.5.  The beer in Ember Inns is nearly always good, that’s why CAMRA branches have to put them in the Beer Guide, until I get the necessary resolution passed at AGM.


  1. “I was walking quicker than a tram sharing the A662 with cars, which rather seemed to defeat the purpose of the metro.”
    Sounds like the trolley cars in Toronto.

    I looked up the Fairfield Arms on Google Maps to see where the tram went. The description on Google Maps describes the Fairfield Arms as a “homely” pub. I’d say the building doesn’t look that bad, but maybe they meant “homey” instead*. 🙂

    And pardon my unBritishness but what is a taxed vehicle?


    * – to be fair one of the definitions of homely is ordinarily domestic but homey’s definition of comfortable or inviting works better for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Homely might be right, it’s like being a dinner party, or “Hell” as I would call it.

      Taxed vehicles are ones that have paid their annual tax to use the road (varies based on emissions, £150 or so I think).

      What time is it over there ?


  2. Guffaw on the homely bit. 🙂

    The tax thingy is like a sticker to prove you have permission to drive on the road? Over here it’s a sticker on your license plate to prove you’ve paid your automobile insurance (no need to prove the vehicle is roadworthy… yet).

    “What time is it over there ?”

    I’m 8 hours behind the UK. And I don’t check the “notify” thingy on any of the blogs, so I may not reply right away. I like to keep my brain active by checking manually (same with websites; I don’t use bookmarks). 🙂



      1. No road tax here… yet (as said earlier). Since we don’t have that I guess the proof of insurance sticker on the car works the same way. No sticker and you’re liable to be pulled over. There has to be something to prove it’s granted permission to use the roads.

        And with that, it is almost 11pm and I’m off to bed.


        Liked by 1 person

  3. There’s also a long stretch of street-running tramway on the Eccles route. Of course, back in the heyday of trams, that was the norm, but tell the kids that today and they won’t believe you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Fairfied Arms was a Whitbread tied house when i did it on the 16th May 1998.
    Any pubs that you looked at,Martin,either open or closed i would have been in at some point.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Actually I’d say it’s quite a vote of confidence in an area where many pubs have closed or struggled that M&B are prepared to invest the money to turn the Fairfield Arms into a smart(ish) family dining pub.

    Liked by 1 person

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