While everyone else bleats on about Huddersfield and Wigan and Thanet, the real pub action is going on in Nuneaton and Dulwich and Carlisle.

And Urmston.


A third trip to the outer reaches of Trafford (definitely not Salford, oh no) in a year, after successful forays into Flixton and Cadishead (which is in Salford). With all those complex geographies it’s no wonder United supporters forget they don’t play in Manchester.

As I always say, following the Guide takes you to places no-one else would go.  Though never to Wythenshawe, obviously.

The journey from Huddersfield goes via Stalybridge, where unfortunately I couldn’t make a stop due to an incident with a swordsman on the station platform.

We’re allowed off at Urmston though, which looks rather charming with its station pub lit up.

Steamhouse, Urmston

The lively and enterprising Steamhouse was in the Guide recently and surely only the strength of the local pub scene keeps it out this year.

Train life

I need chips, urgently, but with trains running late I needed to get the new tick in the bag, and turned right left to head down Flixton Road to the Prairie Schooner.

Urmston clock ticking
Urmston WhatPub.PNG
Holts to the West, Cons Club to the East, Prairie in the middle
Busy name, busy pub

Possibly the most common type of new entry in the Guide this year, the micro/bottle shop can feel a little claustrophobic. The Prairie is bustling at the bar, but has plenty of space at the back for apprentice curmudgeons like me to hide away.

The Prairie

Though the cushion content is a bit high.

Cushion alert

I was reminded of the similarly youthful but unpretentious Firkin in Newton-le-Willows in the heart of woollyback land.

Even with the shoddy camerawork below you’ll see some good beers here, and eagle-eyed readers (i.e. Russ) will notice the prominent sign giving CAMRA discounts.

And it accepts those irritating unused Spoons vouchers about to expire as the once-a-year pubbers take precedence in Timbo’s empire. Under £3 for a top pint of cask, again.


NEVER drink a beer with marmalade in it is a useful rule in my beer drinking, so quite why I picked the Brass Castle with marmalade and ginger is a mystery as eternal as Romelu Lukaku. But it worked, the beer was cool and full-bodied, an NBSS 3.5/4.

Proper Northern head on the Brass Castle

The Prairie is competing well with a lot of new pubs along Flixton Road, including an impressive Spoons, bottle shop and wine bar.

Bottle Shop


It all felt a bit like Middlesbrough, without the parmos. Chorlton who ?

You may know Urmston as the birthplace of one of our most idiosyncratic singers, but luckily Charlie’s Fish & Chips knows how to honour Trafford’s real musical heroes (top).  As I’m feeling very seasonal after Sunday’s result, here’s Frank;

Never mind the MEN awards on the door, always pick a chippy with a queue, and order what the last person had.

Paddington Bear a good marker of a top chippy

That turned out to be the right decision. £3.70* bought a classic Steak and Kidney pudding, chips and curry sauce.

Proper food
Proper prices
Proper glop

It was wonderful.  And probably good for you, in an alternative universe.

Go to Urmston now. Before the Yorkshire crafterati beat you to it.

*The only place in Urmston they didn’t take my Spoons vouchers, but give them time.

13 thoughts on “AN URMSTON UTOPIA

    1. Only just seen this harrumphing ! Are you denying that Wigan is the true prince among micropub obsessed market towns ? Not that that’s necessarily a good thing, prefer Weston Point grumpy mens pubs meself.


  1. “Even with the shoddy camerawork below you’ll see some good beers here, and eagle-eyed readers (i.e. Russ) will notice the prominent sign giving CAMRA discounts.”

    Nope, missed that. I was too busy looking for a prairie schooner hanging from the ceiling.*


    * – I mean, if the Pelt Trader can have a canoe hanging from their ceiling, surely the Prairie Schooner should have a prairie schooner hanging from theirs? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You say that no one else would go to Urmston. That is not true. I went without the aid of the Guide. Indeed due to overcrowding caused by the ghastly beast that is the Manchester Newtonmas Market, I ended up staying longer than originally planned and had Caramac cake from the local market. For some reason I recognise the chippy.

    Isn’t Romelu Lukaku that crap centre forward Everton had on loan from Chelsea a few years ago. I presume he’s playing for Marine or some similar Lacastrian lower league shite now.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Tom – sorry, but it’s the sudden death penalty. 9.00am on Sunday morning, Kew end, Haig Avenue, Southport. They are “…Lacastrian lower league shite…” !

        Liked by 1 person

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