Even if you don't enjoy eating quinoa, drinking Merlot and watching Saturday Kitchen while your housekeeper hoovers under your feet you can still enjoy the sights, sounds and establishments of Didsbury.
In fact, the Didsbury Dozen takes place in and around Didsbury Village – the unemployed, embarrassing but moderately cooler brother of West – the one who goes to a wedding, starts getting mouthy about bread rolls and ends up taking one of the bridesmaids back to his Ford Fiesta in the car park. The ‘Dozen’ is perfect for an all-dayer – so here’s where to go…
So we’re going to start this legendary bar/pub crawl in the imaginatively named Didsbury. Perhaps the first thing you will notice about this boozer is the huge beer garden out front which is the perfect place to watch people drive past. You’ll also get loads of dog walkers stopping here – so if you hate those furry little buggers – stay inside and sup up fast. When it’s sunny it can take an absolute age to get served at the bar – so get practising your slightly audible tutting noise ready for when the time comes.
The Didsbury, 852 Wilmslow Road, Manchester M20 2SG
Ye Olde Cock Inn
This monolithic pub, situated right next to The Didsbury and overlooking the same huge beer garden is a fantastic place to have a few pints and some great, homely food. The slogan is ‘Best of British’ so you can expect plenty of real ales, English breakfasts, scotch eggs and conversations about the weather and how shit it is. To be fair there’s not much else to say about the place – it’s the dictionary definition of a Gastropub – the kind of place that sells little pots of pistachios instead of Quavers. So as well as the British liquids and solids you can also typically expect the standard wooden fixtures, 30 somethings with a toddler throwing their toys all over the place and lashings of blackboard paint on every surface.
Ye Olde Cock Inn, 848 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 2RN
Olive and Vine
Run by the same people as Dimitri’s on Deansgate (a bloke called Dimitri I’m guessing) Olive and Vine is a great place for a lovely tipple and some belting tapas if you’re feeling hungry already. Anyone who ever utters the words ‘Eating is Cheating’ is, from personal experience, an absolute tool – so shrug off that poor mantra and get some Mediterranean tapas down you. The food is fit – but don’t eat too much – it will only slow you down. Grabbing a couple of Mythos lagers will perk you up again though.
Olive and Vine, 846 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 2RN
The Famous Crown
Dubious paint jobs aside – the Famous Crown is a great little boozer located conveniently next to a Subway and a bookies – perfect for any Saturday afternoon session. Strangely enough however, if you decided to give Subway a wide-berth you would be rewarded with a menu consisting primarily of Thai dishes – which considering your surroundings, is certainly a lovely surprise. On top of this you’ve got your usual selection of ales, lagers and spirits – which are really rather cheap; very helpful considering you are about to spend about 3 grand on drinks and snacks today.
The Famous Crown, 770 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 2DR
The Royal Oak
Each time I’ve been in the Royal Oak I’ve noticed a slight sinister smell that emanates from the floor boards. I can’t explain it any more than this – I don’t know what it is and how they can fix it. Once you decide to ignore it though you can enjoy a great traditional boozer that not only has all the drinks you’d expect but also has some of the best bar snacks available to man. They have a fridge full of excellent cheeses, pates and breads which make the usual soggy ham roll or Pepperami look exactly as they are – crap.
The Royal Oak, 729 Wilmslow Road, Manchester, Didsbury, M20 6WF
The Fletcher Moss is a fantastic boozer located just down the road off the main strip on William Street. Walk in and you are usually confronted by a packed bar, stacked to the rafters with enough booze to satisfy even the fussiest of drinkers. Grab some Quavers too and then head out to their brilliant beer garden out back, which provides a welcome escape from the usual kale eating riff-raff you’d find elsewhere in Didsbury.
Fletcher Moss, 1 William Street, Manchester Didsbury M20 6RQ
This place has only recently opened in the old Wetherspoon’s spot just near the Metrolink station. Now, compared to many of the places you’ve already been today, The Botanist is rather different. For one, they have more than one type of each spirit – in fact they have bloody loads, and a massive selection of fantastic beers and ales. Treat yourself to a nice lovely cocktail, preferably one with half of Epping Forest sticking out of the top. You deserve it.
The Botanist, 1D School Ln, Manchester M20 6SA
There’s loads of famous Nelsons. There’s Lord Horatio Nelson, Nelson off The Simpsons, Nelson Mandela, David Brent’s dog … a full nelson in wrestling…err… that’s probably about it. Well once you’ve been to The Nelson Inn, which is the next pub, you can add it to this list. The Nelson is a genuine proper old school boozer – not a pretend one like what you’ve seen already. This is a place where you should expect your lager fizzy, the wine to be vinegar and any of the regulars to punch you in the kidneys at the drop of a hat. It’s brilliant.
Nelson Inn, 3 Barlow Moor Rd, Manchester M20 6TN
Dog & Partridge
I once spent a full afternoon sat here in the Dog and Partridge, playing Scrabble, drinking cider and eating a Dumbo-sized portion of free monkey nuts scooped out of the massive barrel on the back wall. On top of this they also have an excellent selection of cheese, pate and pies in which to nosh on. Like most of the pubs on this list – the Dog and Partridge is an old-school boozer, a little bit rough round the edges, constantly showing football and with more gambling machines than Las Vegas airport but it’s a great place to enjoy some traditional British banter and beers,
Dog & Partridge, 665-667 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 6RA
The Stokers Arms
A seemingly standard pub who’s owners must have found some grey paint for cheap in the B & Q sale – but once you’ve been in here for a couple of minutes – you’ll begin to notice a few subtleties that you might enjoy. Perhaps they have decided to pull out their N64 and you can all have a game of Mario Kart – although at this point in the day, after so many beers, your thumbs will probably be as useful as Stevie Wonder playing ping pong.
The Stokers Arms, 655-657 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 6RA
I’ve never been in here when it was quiet – there just always seems to be a massive celebration going on. Either that or it’s so small in here that if 2 midgets walked in it would feel cramped. Either way it shouldn’t matter – if you’ve done this properly you should be sufficiently tipsy to enjoy yourself – and to be fair it’s not too difficult here. Whether you’re stood outside or getting crushed inside – the craic is always flowing – and you’re very likely to bump into some live Irish music going on somewhere towards the back.
The Station, 682 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 2DN
The Slug & Lettuce
Sure, you can have a pint in Croma while chomping on a Chicken Caesar Pizza but at this point you might not be capable of any sort of table manners or even able to find your own mouth with food. So I suggest the Slug & Lettuce, which I’m sure you’ll all agree – will accept pretty much anyone as long as they buy a pint of Stella and a couple of Blue WKD’s. It’s the perfect place to end the Dozen if you’ve made it this far – because it’s big, the drinks are relatively cheap and there’s plenty of space outside in which to spew your guts up.
651 Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M20 6QZ