They’re the type of boozer that if you sit in long enough the musty scent will linger on your clothes until next Winter. I call them the ultimate cosy pubs, and they are simply delightful.
There’s something about these ageing venues that oozes happiness, and now seems like the perfect time of year to focus on these very special sticky carpeted, green tiled, stained glass institutions that provide pure winter bliss.
If you're looking to sink a view pints of stout or try out a brand-new place for an exceptional Sunday roast, the below list will provide you with a great place to start...
The New Oxford
Hidden away on Salford's picturesque Bexley Square, The New Oxford is a great hideaway during the colder months, complete with a HUGE ale list that regularly changes. If you're looking for the kind of place that stamps your Guinness with a shamrock, you must pay this pub a visit. It's cosy, welcoming and has a jukebox packed full of Manchester anthems!
The New Oxford, 11 Bexley Square, Salford M3 6DB
The Eagle Inn is an ancient boozer that's reinvented itself as a bit of an indie music enclave. It's still super cosy though and does cracking pints. The original features in here are gorgeous, too - you can just sit and look at the walls and you'll be entertained for hours.
Eagle Inn, 18-19 Collier Street, Salford, M3 7DW
The Black Friar
A fully restored, historic old Boddingtons boozer, The Black Friar had been closed for 18 years before opening with a new look and swanky restaurant extension. The glass fronted eatery is great, but if you're looking for a true Winter cosy pub experience, sit in the front bit, with it's roaring fireplace, ice cold drinks and a cracking menu of pub classics.
The Black Friar, 41-43 Blackfriars Rd, Salford M3 7DB.
The King's Arms
The King’s Arms is just a breezy stroll from The Black Friar and was once named “Britain’s most bohemian back-street boozer" by The Guardian. It's the epitome of an 'Old Man' pub downstairs, with a Snug and plenty of nice quiet crannies, whilst upstairs is a fully functioning theatre and events space. There’s also a fully working jukebox AND a pub cat called Charlie, exactly what a pub should be complete with.
The King's Arms, 11 Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN
The Oast House
You're walking through Spinningfields and you're probably thinking - none of these places are cosy. Well, you'd be incorrect, because just in front of the Crown Courts in The Oast House, which in winter has these huge Tipi's outside on the terrace and they're perfect for a nice warm pint and a natter. You'll find plenty of heaters, blankets and, if you get hungry, a few hanging kebabs to keep you toasty.
The Oast House, The Avenue Courtyard, Manchester M3 3AY
Sam’s Chop House
A pub once frequented by artist LS Lowry, Sam’s Chop House is as cosy and old-worldly as a pub can get. Guests have to take a rickety and narrow winding staircase down to find the pub and fully functioning gourmet restaurant nestled underground, alongside an extensive drinks menu (the Guinness is really good here, too).
Sam’s Chop House, Back Pool Fold, Manchester M2 1HN
0161 834 3210
The City Arms
The historic City Arms, located in the heart of the city centre, has been a regular entry in the Good Beer Guide for years and boasts all those lovely old pub features, including built-in Chesterfield sofas and circular tables just begging for a packet of crisps to be opened and spread out upon them. As is the case with this style of old-age pub, The City Arms really comes to life in the colder months and provides a comforting and cosy abode for Mancunians escaping the rain.
The City Arms, 46-48 Kennedy St, Manchester M2 4BQ
0161 236 4610
Self-declared as a proper pub and named after a potato, what better place to go on this exploration of all things warm and cosy?! The Oxnoble walks that tightrope between cosy and rowdy, usually depending on which day you go down there. If there's some football on it's going to be full of footy lads - but any other time, especially a Sunday afternoon with a Roast Dinner, it's cosy AF and perfect for these cold, wet times.
The Oxnoble, 71 Liverpool Road, Manchester, M3 4NQ
A huge monolith of a building on the banks of the Castlefield Basin, The Wharf is a HUGE pub, one that caters for all, whether it's a big group of you on your work's Christmas party, or one fella just looking to get warm, have a pint and read the latest copy of Viz. You'll find a massive selection of drinks, including loads of gin, as well as the odd roaring fireplace - perfect if you've just been walking the dog and you both need to dry off.
The Wharf, 6 Slate Wharf, Manchester M15 4ST
The Briton’s Protection
The Briton's Protection is famous, neigh infamous, for its colossal whisky selection. It’s a proper boozer with over 300 different types of the stuff, plus a great outdoor courtyard should you want to brace the cold weather. Inside though it's super-cosy with a proper log fire in one of the rooms which gets all toasty and cosy in the wintertime.
50 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester M1 5LE
Peveril of the Peak
This legendary boozer is celebrated over and over again not least for it’s defiant location, that actually diverted the location of an entire road. This pub also gives us a time capsule into the past, a bastion of classic design and colour stuck between skyscrapers and 90’s style flats. Ran by Manchester’s longest serving landlady, this surviving institution is the perfect winter stop off. With unusually shaped rooms after the amount of pints you’ve had, I guarantee you might fall over as you walk past the long and twisting bar.
127 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester M1 5JQ
The Circus Tavern
The ‘smallest bar in Europe’ was always going to make the cosy pubs list, wasn’t it? While there isn’t a roaring fireplace to snuggle down next to (that’d be a major health hazard in such a small place, don’t you think?), there is plenty of old-worldly pub vibes knocking about. Plus, famed footballer George Best did frequent the pub back in the day, if that helps.
The Circus Tavern, 86 Portland St, Manchester M1 4GX
Full of nooks and crannies and always pretty rammed, The Unicorn in the Northern Quarter is the perfect city centre winter cosy pub. It's one of those boozers where you could swear that time has stopped, and as you sit there, drinking your drink - you could be back in the 70s - if you ignore the big-screen tellies that is.
The Unicorn, 26 Church St, Manchester M4 1PN
0161 834 8854
Crown & Kettle
Exactly what it says on the tin, there’s no messing around in the Crown and Kettle. First of all, take a moment to look up because there's a pretty bloody impressive ceiling in this place. Next, grab a drink - because there's always some cracking craft beers or ciders in here. Finally, head round behind the bar where you'll find a little cute snug with a proper fire that's perfect for warming up and drying off.
2 Oldham Road, Manchester M4 5FE
The Rose & Monkey Hotel
Another traditional boozer that's been re-fit, decked out and brought right into the 21st Century, and become a bit of a hit with local musicians along the way. You'll find plenty of gigs going on in The Rose & Monkey, but it's also a great cosy boozer for a bit of an afternoon drinking while it's pissing it down outside. The Smithfield Market Tavern is excellent next door, too.
The Rose & Monkey Hotel, 31 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ
The original home of the Marble beer Brewery and home to some incredibly good food is The Marble Arch. Pull up a pew and sit here for the rest of the evening, it’s the perfect hideaway and you could very easily fall asleep nestled away in the corner.
Marble Arch, 73 Rochdale Road, Manchester M4 4HY
The Peer Hat
The Peer Hat is a time-capsule treasure trove of familiarity, and a home away from home, perched behind the hustle and bustle of Northern Quarter’s nightlife. It’s a bar where you know there’ll be no trouble, a place where you’ll find artists, creatives, musicians and a 60 year-old bloke who’s just stumbled in in desperate need of a pint to accompany his daily flick through the newspaper. It also holds a gig venue in the basement, which serves as a place for local musicians, and those from further afield to perform at the venue that’s as laid back as your living room.
The Peer Hat, 14-16 Faraday St, Manchester M1 1BE
The Bay Horse
A cosy country retreat in the heart of Northern Quarter, The Bay Horse Tavern is complete with a soft, Autumnal colour palette, comfy booths and sofas, making it a great place to sink a few pints of Guinness. The bar is also known for its great menu of classic pub grub and its banging Sunday roasts, which fly out of the kitchen every weekend!
The Bay Horse Tavern, 35-37 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
The Castle Hotel
One of the oldest pubs in Northern Quarter, The Castle Hotel is a great place to stop off for a pint on a chilly evening. It’s dark oak wood interior houses a cracking jukebox, as well as an excellent line up of ales and a bunch of friendly regulars. The Castle Hotel is also one of the city’s best intimate gig venues, with a regular programme of local and international musicians.
The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE
Standing in the heart of Ancoats since 1811, the Edinburgh Castle has recently reopened, serving its exceptional food and drink menus in its candlelit, historic interior. Sunday roasts are the main attraction here, with many flocking for the hearty meal every weekend, enjoyed alongside a mega menu of ales and cocktails.
Edinburgh Castle, 19 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5EP