We pressed on, past a sea of closed pubs (Rising Sun, Nag’s Head) up into Deansgate, a journey rarely made by heritage pub pilgrims.


Stopping only in the Lost Dene for a comfort break, we finally found some real heritage.

Big pub

You may mock, but the Moon Under Water was once the biggest British pub IN THE WORLD, before the Regal edged it out.  Perhaps the only thing Cambridge has ever beaten Manchester at.  Of course, we’ll be seeing micro pubs expanding as soon as the world converts to the joys of “sitting at high tables uploading beer scores on Untappd“.

Like the Regal, the Moon is a classic scruffy model, with apparently zero food trade at 5.30pm.  This surprised Joan and Dave, who’d observed a huddled mass of foreign visitors like them looking for a gourmet burger and fries with their pint.

But never mind, the ale choice was notably decent, and free of Christmas-themed beers.

Breweries you’ve heard of
Breweries you haven’t heard of, possibly

AND I had Spoons vouchers, though a suspicious barman asked to see my card, even though I was wearing a “Death to Real Ale” T-Shirt and all.

I can’t even remember what we all had; something about 5% from a regional brewer. Dave will tell us.  Anyway, foamy, chewy, cool enough. NBSS 3/3.5.  Never getting in the Beer Guide against the Paramount (yes, I know it’s about beer scores), but worth a pint.

I win the lacings battle, again

We were also enjoying the BRAPA-style drama of a group of six women drinking Prosecco from a bucket (literally) while a toddler howled. And howled. I nearly went and plucked the child up but I thought better of it.

Then they kicked us out.  At 6pm.  Bemused Mancs were turned away at the door, we drank up and wobbled out into the night. At least Joan and Dave had the privilege of being the last ones out of Spoons.  Something to impress your grandchildren.

Which was glorious, even around the much-maligned Arndale.

Glorious Manchester
Proper tiling

Our US friends were staying in the Abel, which I still haven’t had a drink in, mainly because it’s described as boutique.

Abel Heywood

We finished the night on Oldham Street, as all good tourists must, in the only (excellent) curry house open in the Northern Quarter.  Well done, Delhi 2 Go.

Oddly, despite all the pubs and restaurants taking a well-deserved 1 January off, my favoured coffee shop remained resolutely open into the night.  Just as well since Delhi 2 Go has no loos.

Strongest coffee in Manchester


  1. Is there actually a requirement that Spoons vouchers can only be used by CAMRA members? Never heard of anyone being asked to show a card – and I never carry mine with me anyway. But, there again, I look like a CAMRA member.


    1. No, there isn’t. They are issued to CAMRA members, but can be used by anyone in possession of them. Members who do not frequent ‘Spoons branches are free to pass their vouchers on to others.

      Please also bear in mind that CAMRA members aren’t the only folks who get gratis ‘Spoons vouchers. Students get books of them in late September. Again, you do not have to be a student to use them, you merely have to possess them. And as those books contain vouchers redeemable against a range of food and drinks, there’s a lot of swapping of unwanted vouchers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fred,
        But ‘Terms and Conditions’ number 4 is “Valid for CAMRA members only” – and that suggests that unused ones should be burnt or shredded rather than donated to a charity shop that sells them to a non-member who then has them refused.


      2. The ‘Terms and Conditions’ on the next batch will probably include “Valid for Leave voters only”


  2. “Of course, we’ll be seeing micro pubs expanding ”

    That’s a bit frightening on reflection. Should the definition of the word micro will be something very large. 😉

    “Breweries you haven’t heard of, possibly”

    Thank goodness. Well, never heard of apart from BrewDog, Saltaire and, is that Innis & Gunn at the top left?

    “something about 5% from a regional brewer”

    I’ll guess Moorhouse’s then.

    “Something to impress your grandchildren.”

    Done right you could milk that for many a year. 🙂

    “Just as well since Delhi 2 Go has no loos.”

    Well, not for the public anyway. Would be a bugger having to do an eight hour shift without access to a toilet. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  3. > …the Moon Under Water was once the biggest British pub IN THE WORLD, before the Regal edged it out.

    The ‘Spoons branch at Ramsgate is now said by “Wetherspoon News” to be their biggest. It opened a year or two ago.

    Shame you visited the “Moon under Water” on 1 January, as the ‘Spoons January sale started on 2 January. Guest ales would have been either 10 pence or 14 pence per pint cheaper. And you could still have used your vouchers !

    Liked by 2 people

      1. “for N* D*** B****t?”

        Obviously they’re adding food to the menu and want people to know their turkey will be white meat only. *

        * no dark breast

        I was trying to string some Monty Python words together but only came up with Ni drop bushes. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Is the idea here that the imaginary ferries will have passenger capacity designed to fill the Spoons? The ability to show proper pub decorum being the deciding factor as to how you are allowed to leave the building, either heading straight back for a return journey or allowed to remain in the country. First 5 years being compulsory employment as a glasswasher, provided Tim is willing to employ any non Brits.


    1. Well they’ve started dredging Ramsgate harbour for a new ferry service to take some of the spillover from Dover post-Brexit.
      Maybe that was Timbo’s cunning long-term plan all along.


      1. Is that why he called it the Mechanical Elephant? (Someone – the French – actually made one. However, they never did explain why.)

        Someone will no doubt piece all this together somehow.


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