Starting life in the mid-19th century as The Crown Inn, The Deansgate pub has always been a favourite amongst city centre workers and weekend visitors, made even more popular in recent years with the creation of a brilliant hidden beer garden up on their roof – a green oasis in which you could enjoy loads of pints and some inevitable banter.
As I said, there’s been a boozer here since the mid-1800s, but it’s highly likely that for a long time before then, as its location is perfect for watering weary travellers heading in or out of town, and was at the epicentre of the industrial canal system at Castlefield, and the railway station on Liverpool Road.
Cut to today and Deansgate is still as busy as it ever was and one of the city’s major road routes, which not even proposed plans for pedestrianisation during COVID can hold back. It’s, therefore, a bit of a shame to see such a pub, located in a prominent position on one of the city’s busiest streets, boarded up and derelict.
I’ve frequented the Deansgate for years, enticed by its impressive interior, complete with roaring fire, stained glass features and little nooks in which to have a quiet pint. The pub also boasted a large function room upstairs, which overlooked the fantastic roof terrace, which was definitely one of the city’s best, but sadly mostly overlooked.
So what’s happening with it then?
Well, back in August it was announced that Greene King, the massive pub retailer and brewer, with over 2,700 pubs across the UK, had acquired it for their “premium and urban managed pubs division.”
Whether this will be a bog-standard Greene King pub or one of their swanky Metropolitan Pub Co. offerings (which you can see at Albert Square’s Fountain House) is yet to be known.
It’s also worth noting that it’s been almost a year since the announcement that Greene King would be taking over the Deansgate and there’s been absolutely nothing done to the building as of yet.
This has, naturally, set some people and local groups worried, as the company has a reputation for buying ailing boozers only for them to knock them down and sell the land on for some serious bunce. Considering the prime location of the Deansgate, this doesn’t seem as outlandish as you may initially think.
But fear not, because a licence application was submitted to the council at the end of May, with Greene King looking to “seek to vary the layout of the licensed area“, including a refurbishment of the ground and first-floor areas, resulting in minor changes to seating and screens/partitions.
Further, the application also seeks to “approve the creation of a new second-floor trading area including a terrace” which will bring the pub to a whopping 3-floors, and keep the much sought-after terrace on the roof.
Consultation of the plans ended last week so expect to see a decision on the project very soon by the council and then the wheels to start moving on the refurbishment. Hopefully, we’ll all be sitting in the sun on that terrace before the end of the summer. Fingers crossed.