After one Test match off I will be back in action this week – and what a place to return: Old Trafford on home soil. It is of course a place I know well – and I’ll hope to sneak at least one night out if Mrs Lloyd allows me as I live just eight miles away.
One place that should be hunted out is a bit of an unknown secret to many – the Marble Beer House in Chorlton. It’s very basic but a wonderful spot that’s only five minutes from the ground.
It’s over the railway bridge so bypass the station where everyone is cramming to get back to Manchester and go and have a couple of lovely pints while the queues go down. It doesn’t do food, but what it does do is produce some magnificent ales and I will be sampling a few this week.
There’s not a great deal around the ground, so it’s best to head into Manchester where you will find the Marble Arch on Rochdale Road. That’s the sister pub of the Beer House and also has its own brewery and does excellent food at very reasonable prices.
The great thing about Manchester is you can have a good crawl and find some wonderful boozers. The Town Hall Tavern is a cracker and you will really get looked after by George the Greek, particularly if you tell him I’ve sent you.
George used to run the Circus Tavern on Portland Street, which is one of the more iconic pubs in the city. The Circus is now run by Barry who has carried on George’s fine work. Mind you I wouldn’t be telling Barry if he were doing a poor job – he’s one of the biggest blokes I’ve ever met. If he says it’s Friday it is Friday!
The Britons Protection on Great Bridgwater Street is another iconic pub and is always a popular spot. They really look after the ale and the place has a great vibe and can get busy after a long day at work.
The City Arms and The Vine are also worth looking up, in and around Piccadilly. The great thing about being in Manchester is everywhere serves the ale properly. You won’t go far wrong in the Northern Quarter where there’s some particularly lively spots.
Sitting outside the Blue Pig is good fun and there’s a decent atmosphere in the English Lounge as well. There’s also some fun to be had around the Gay Village where the Velvet Bar always provides a few laughs.
Canal Street is the place to be, even if someone has knocked the ‘C’ off the street sign. And if any of you want to spot a footballer or two there always seem to be some in the Bem Brasil restaurant. I’ve not been in but have been told it’s good.
If you want some music to take the night on then head for Band On The Wall on Swan Street. They always have good music to cater for all tastes and is a cracking venue – Mark Butcher and Graeme Swann would be in their element.
As for a curry in Manchester there’s only one place to head and that’s Rusholme where you will find the Curry Mile. It’s curry house after curry house and you are spoilt for choice. You can barter to your heart’s content as you will get plenty of touts. I’ve not really got a favourite spot as I like to try a few different ones.