Last Wednesday night was football night, and the coldest of the season so far. The Etihad always looks at its best in the hail.


Several of the obituaries to City fan Mark E Smith mentioned his regular appearances at the Crown & Kettle, another gorgeous theatre, but of pub life in this case.  I never saw him before Blues matches, but to be honest Mark would have blended in quite easily with City supporters of a certain age.


Having burst into the Guide after reopening a decade or so ago, the C&K dropped out recently, and I’ve read a few groans about quality from folk I trust.  But there’s loads of non-GBG pubs in central Manchester that would walk into the Guide in the South (or Scotland), and a revisit was overdue.

Proper Pub

Yes, it’s a bit scruffy.  So is life. But the beer lines are clean, there’s no reserved signs, and people smile at you.  That’s all I want from a pub.

Perhaps the beer benefits from quicker turnover on match days, but the Squawk was immaculate, just as the Tickety Brew was on the last visit.  Cool, tasty and with a perfect scummy head for us folk who like our scum. NBSS 4, perhaps higher.


Loads of proper seating in three distinct rooms, with 60s music (“No Milk Today“) and some banter about mortgage repayments rescheduled until you’re 75 intruding on the assessments of Sane’s injury at Cardiff. MES would have written a song about it.

Beer and banter

The only thing that lets it down is the intrusion of Evil Keg Supporting CAMRA magazines from Berkshire.


Anyway, some people think the ceiling is nice, so here’s your famous ceiling;.

The famous ceiling.  Not falling down


The pies in the Crown & Kettle are good too, but there’s only space in my tummy for one pre-match delicacy.

The beer choice at the Etihad gets no better year-on-year.  But this will all be deemed “quality” by 2020, of course.



  1. I find it interesting that some car park users have chosen to arrive by traffic cone. Is this a Premier League thing or a Lancastrian thing? I always thought car was the preferred option. Actually, that’s bollocks, I thought walking was the preferred option.

    Those prices in the ground are an utter disgrace. As I note it is in the plural, how many pies do you get for £4.00. I hope it’s at least 7.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Welcome back, Tom. We’ve missed you. You get half a pie for your £4.

      More positively, there seem to be more people walking to the Etihad than ever, despite all the trams and cone now available.


  2. “But the beer lines are clean, there’s no reserved signs, and people smile at you. That’s all I want from a pub.”

    Yup. 🙂

    “The famous ceiling. Not falling down”

    I think you’re getting it confused with London Bridge. 😉

    “The beer choice at the Etihad gets no better year-on-year.”

    Sigh. That’s pretty much true of any venue; be it sports or music or some such.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. One bright spot are Test matches which thanks to the England cricket team being sponsored by Marstons always have the best Pedigree in the land – direct from the brewery and being thrown out by the kil. You do sometimes have to look for it as they would rather sell you their fake craft, but sometimes you get some of their taken-over brands as well.

      At least the City of Manchester doesn’t get the special Heineken bottles that you get in the Olympic stadium and elsewhere – from memory they’re 400ml, which is obviously the least they think they can get away with for a fiver.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Good to know the Pedi is good at cricket. Unfortunately I only like the idea of going to a match, rather than the reality. Last three matches I went to I’ve seen Jimmy Anderson take 5 for 1, Tendulkar’s debut overseas, and the Windies in Oz in ’88, so not a regular !

        Liked by 1 person

  3. You may not remember the pre-closure Crown & Kettle, but it was actually much less multi-roomed than it is now, with the interior basically being one large space, with a small snug off. Showed off the ceiling to its best advantage.

    Some real taking-the-piss half prices there at the Etihad 😮


      1. Or the Emptihad as some Mancunians call it 🙂

        My brother-in-law’s a City season ticket holder. A couple of years back he told me that they had draught Murphy’s on the bar, but I think it’s just cans of Guinness now.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. £2.50 for water? In Manchester? Don’t you just lie on the group and open your mouth there?

    The alcohol offerings are always quality. AFAIK, nobody has yet declared that the word “quality” cannot be qualified with additional words such as “poor”, “horrendous” , “wretched” and “execrable”.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. That sounds like beer chatter, Scott. Not my scene. Pembury never busy when I popped by, and I disagree with London in principle. You rarely see Milton beers round the country these days, I guess they won’t sell for £60 a barrel, whatever a barrel is.

        I recommend their “Drink as much as you can for £25” night. You can kip in our shed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for the offer, but I prefer a nice comfy hedge.

        Think I may occasionally see Milton beers in Spoons festivals, or I may have been hallucinating.

        Wonder if the rise of so many breweries countrywide is sort of strangling some breweries from regularly selling outside their local area and increasing in size? Thinking about it, what a lot of bars seem to offer now sourced from either a few national ales, GK IPA, Doombar, etc, and local micros, the mid-level and family brewers don’t seem to have as much reach as they used to. I remember the days when Mitchell’s used to send a monthly dray up to Aberdeen.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We have nice comfy hedges. It’s a ten minute walk from the brewery to our house, or two minutes if you can jump the ditch at the back of the industrial estate. Sadly…

        And spot on, Some of our award winning breweries from the turn of the century (thinking Mordue, Beartown) rarely get seen unless they price down to Spoons levels, and even then they need a “Festival Special” rather than their stock beers. Wonder what Titanic will look like in a few years,

        Aberdeen long overdue a return visit.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Milton have 3 pubs in Cambridge itself (all GBG) at least 2 of them thriving with young prof trade and pizzas, plus a complete estate rebuild near the hospital. They sold their pub in the backstreets of Peterborough (I believe).

        And that’s it. Probably enough. The Indian restaurant a few yards from us is up for sale though, was Pubmaster years ago, I can dream of a Milton takeover.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting question. I don’t think it shows live matches, so just pre-match traffic. But then all the central Manc pubs are busy with fans before they walk to the Etihad.


      1. You’ll struggle to find a non-football pub in Manchester, then ! All the trad bars, hotels bars, Victorian diners and craft beer bars are full. Only a few discourage colours. Makes Manchester what it is, I think.


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