The New Victoria – Manchester

38 Kingfisher Close, Longsight, M12 4PW

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By the A6 in Longsight, an area awash with a lack of fully functioning pubs, sits the former New Victoria.

Its titular type, simply a pale shadow, on a neglected fascia board.

Its doors now weeping vivid pink and green painted tears.

Soon to be renamed Dribble Drabble, the final indignity in an undignified life.

Once again I leave it to a Beer in the Evening review to stamp the earth down.

“Entered this pub and was confronted by a colourful collection of locals. Your humble narrator ventured forth and enquired about the real ale in question, Barnsley Bitter at 3.8%, pisswater and indeed cheap as mentioned by the previous contributor.

I left without purchasing, the desperate interior and odd inhabitants leaving me in a state of depression, the weak beer on offer providing no sense of relief!”

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Oliver’s Bar – Ashton under Lyne

39 Bow Street, Ashton under Lyne, OL6 6BU.

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Forever in my mind The Cavern.

So called because of its almost unique underground setting.

Qualified on the exterior street level by the fabulous concentric angular relief, drawing you into a vortex of limitless subterranean fun.

At once forbidding and inviting, go down if you dare.

Now renamed Oliver’s Bar, an array of carefully handwritten signage listing the treasures within.

How can you resist, as one curt but frank, Beer in the Evening review says:

“Full of low life scumbags.”

The Beau Geste – Ashton under Lyne

160 Katherine Street, Ashton under Lyne, OL6 7AE.

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Built and opened in 1967 as part of the redevelopment of the town centre and the opening of the brand new shopping precinct, the Beau has survived more or less intact.

A single storey bar with two storey living quarters, flat roofed and clad in broad brick columns, interspersed by rendered recesses, pierced by windows, which have happily not been blessed with new uPVC frames.

Always a busy boozer, approximate to the bus station, with a loyal but increasingly ageing clientele, the late Summer sun had drawn several customers into the garden/car park area, where we chatted amiably about Ashton’s rich pub past.

There were no signs of any legionnaires, diseased or otherwise.

 

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Peg’s Lantern – Ashton under Lyne

148 St Alban’s Avenue, Ashton under Lyne, OL6 8TU.

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Opening in 1968 as Peg’s Lantern, to serve the new St Alban’s Estate, on an area of almost green between Ashton and Oldham, subsequently becoming known as Peg’s Tavern and latterly The Waterhouse.

Pub names are not protected, shifted according to whim and fancy – rarely for the better.

Just so pub architecture, what was a well considered period exterior of brick, tile and cladding, has become a confused amalgam of faddish Farrow and Ballisation and a bare wood and rope scheme, that speaks loudly of marine aspirations on this seriously land-locked site.

The integrity of the asymmetric, zig-zag volumes remains intact.

Coffee is 49p a cup.

The Corner Shop – Beswick Manchester

Rylance Street, Beswick, Manchester, M11 3NA

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A stone’s throw from the sweeping curves of the Etihad Stadium and the match day roar, stands The Corner Shop, it’s keg fuelled clientele roaring out an un-muted response to an almost constant stream of Sky Sports.

An implausible brick and tile asymmetric Scandinavian ski-lodge of a boozer, sandwiched between 70’s social housing and a new breed of recent urban redevelopment in the modern manner de jour.

The single storey low angled roof of the main bar area, meets the higher level of the landlord’s living quarters, to form a formidable bunker.

Happily the shutters were up and the light allowed into the open plan, on a day of two conflicted surrounding skies – blue and grey, just about sums it up.

The Huntington – Manchester

Northmoor Road/Stanley Grove, Longsight, M12 5RT.

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In the midst of multicultural Longsight is a fine, well maintained and used boozer, a reminder of the area’s Irish heritage, part of the first wave of Nineteenth Century immigration to Manchester.

A busy mix of traditional brick and tile, one and two storey construction, regular square windows and hard angular volumes.

I was amused by the innovative, overarching supermarket trolley smoking shelters.

A notable survivor in an area now short on local locals.

The Greyhound – Stockport

27 Bowden Street, Edgeley. SK3 9HG

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Surrounded by tower blocks and maisonettes, my former local The Greyhound has finally stopped running.

Surrounded by fellow former pubs the area is now served solely by the Ye Olde Vic just around the corner.

As I snapped away a passing stranger commented:

” Case of beer, wide screen, chill with the lads”

Stella and telly it’s killing the trade – this once busy, family community pub is surrounded by folk who just don’t care to go in there any more.

Now they can’t.