Bit hypocritical this one – I must admit to being a big fan of a mass-produced fizzy, ice cold Strongbow when I’m out having a drink with friends. The only problem I have is that recently there are so many ‘fruity’ flavours of cider that they've pretty much just become the new alco-pop. With Jack Daniel’s recently releasing their own cider – which is mental – I’ve decided to find the best places in Manchester to find Real/Craft cider….
The last time I was in here I was with my Uncle Ged and Uncle Bob and I was an absolute embarrassment after getting too drunk at a Christening. At the time they were celebrating winning some sort of award, but I cannot remember what the prize was or who gave it them. For all I know it could have been a bloody Oscar. What I do remember is this - they had a phenomenal selection of cheeses laid out for free to celebrate the win - which I proceeded to shove down my throat. I also remember standing outside and looking over one of the best views ever - seeing Greenfield and the Pennines stretch off into the distance. And finally I remember having about 5 different ciders one after the other, with the final nail in the coffin being a lovely pint of Black Dragon - which pretty much ruined my life for the next 3 days.
Rising Sun, 235 Stockport Rd, Mossley, Ashton-under-Lyne OL5 0RQ
Strangely located in the brilliant food bit of the Arndale, Micro Bar has always been a rather strange oddity - a bar that isn't open at night and is located in a shopping centre. Although this is a bit weird, they more than make up for it with the sheer selection of real ales, bottled international beers and the all-important ciders. They typically have around 20 bottled ciders at any one point, so it's great to have a sit and have a bit of banter with one of the old boys sitting there. I had myself a rather lovely but dangerous Gladiator Cider (8.4%) last time I was there - highly recommended by me that one.
Micro Bar, Unit FC16, Arndale Food Market, Manchester M4 3AH
As winners of the Manchester Central CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year 3 times out of the last 5, Bar Fringe could be considered the clear 'no-brainer' for anyone wanting a bit of fermented apple in the city centre. You can expect 7 real ciders here, which is rather impressive, as well as around 11 bottled ciders to keep you on your toes. There's enough here to keep you busy, and with their fantastic beer garden round back - it's one of the best places to sit on a sunny day.
Bar Fringe, 8 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JN
0161 835 3815
The reason the Parlour is in this list is because when I went in a few weeks ago, not only did I have a belting time discussing whether cling film or foil was best for wrapping up your butties, I also got a fair few pints of Black Dragon down me. I know that I've mentioned Black Dragon a few times in the article, but it's truly one of my favourites - it tastes great and is like rocket fuel - the two best things in the world. The Parlour also apparently does one of the best Roast Dinners ever - I've not had the pleasure yet though - I'll have to add it to the list. Oh and foil is best for wrapping your butties up. Every. Time.
The Parlour, 60 Beech Rd, Manchester M21 9EG
0161 881 4871
I have probably been to Font Bar off Oxford Road more times than any other bar in the city, including the Hare and Hounds on Shudehill. Its combination of cheap cocktails, decent music and top crowd has had me visiting since I was at Uni back in 2003 and I still pop in to this day. They've always managed to have a great selection of beers and drinks, especially ciders - where you can expect around 4 or 5 specialist craft ones to choose from every time you visit. Keep an eye out for the cardboard boxes at the end of the bar and you'll usually find something worth having a few pints of. They also have a very extensive selection of bottles and cans if you want to sit and look cool for the ladies. These things also apply to the Fallowfield and Chorlton branches.
115-117 Manchester Rd, Chorlton, M21 9PG
236-238 Wilmslow Rd, Fallowfield, M14 6LE
7-9 New Wakefield St, Manchester, M1 5NP
I once had a girlfriend who lived in Marple. Pointless fact for you there. Oh and when I was at secondary school we went on a canal boat trip around the Cheshire Ring and we managed to sink it in Marple. We were forced to spend the night in the local Scouts Hut, and so we didn't really get to see much of the town. And obviously being 15 years old, we wouldn't have been able to experience boozing in the Samuel Oldknow pub with their fantastic selection of Ciders and Perry's. It's not a particularly large pub but they make up for it with the sheer choice available. You'll find some brilliant Scrumpy liquid and the Farmer Jim's Devon Cider is bloody brilliant.
Samuel Oldknow, 22 Market Street, Marple, SK6 7AD
The Sip Club
I must admit to not knowing much about the Sip Club in Stretford until I starting writing this article. In fact, I knew bugger all. Upon extensive Internet research, and a promise to visit at some point this weekend, I have discovered that this small living room above a shop has been transformed into a top-class boozer with some great events and guest booze. Of particular note is their penchant for local produce, including the cider - and you can expect around 3 or 4 specialist varieties to choose from at any one time. I'll go in this Sunday and let you know how it goes.
The Sip Club, 164A Barton Road, Stretford, Manchester M32 8DP
The Angel Pub
The Angel has always been a bastion of real ales and good local food and so you can expect the same when it comes to their cider. Although their selection is not massive, they do serve a particularly brilliant 'Angel Cider' which is made up of the loveliest of all drinks - Vimto. I've been bang into Vimto ever since my mum must have got a pay rise at work and replaced the Morrison’s Orange Squash for a dark, velvety bottle of the purple stuff - so a Vimto Cider is right up my street. Oh, and it's 7% so it will get you absolutely ratted. Perfect.
The Angel Pub, 6 Angel St, Manchester M4 4BQ
0161 833 4786
The Crown and Kettle
Another winner of CAMRA's Cider Pub of the Year, the Crown and Kettle typically have around 7 pump ciders and a ton of bottles available for you to drink under their fantastic ceiling. Go round to the back bar - which serves almost as a dedicated Scrumpy shop - and you can pick your poison. Thistly Cross (4%), Wild Dog (7.5%) and Black Dragon (7.5%) were all in attendance when I popped round, and there's not much else to say really. Top pub. Top Cider. Top Pies. Done.
The Crown & Kettle, 2 Oldham Rd, Manchester M4 5FE
0161 235 0978