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13th December 2021

Top 10 Manchester City Centre Pubs

Pub aficionados Freddie Moss, James Stanley, and Jack Birtles take us on their ultimate pub crawl around Manchester. Read on for the best ales, lagers, and spirits in town – ranked from 10 to 1.
Top 10 Manchester City Centre Pubs
Beer photo: U3144362 @wikimedia commons

Pub aficionados Freddie Moss, James Stanley, and Jack Birtles take us on their ultimate pub crawl around Manchester. Read on for the best ales, lagers, and spirits in town – ranked from 10 to 1. Not for the faint-hearted, this walkable crawl is guaranteed to have you singing in the streets by 9pm!

Photo: The New Oxford 2019

New Oxford – 10
Technically in Salford, The New Oxford is a fantastic small pub just outside of Spinningfields. This pub boasts a huge variety of beers, ales and lagers, in kegs as well as barrels, and features many decorations, including glasses, photos and a great number of coasters at each table. Although pricey, this is a great boozer in a quieter part of town that few students visit.

Thirsty Scholar – 9
Coming in at number 9 we have the thirsty scholar, conveniently located a stone’s throw away from Oxford Road train station. Walking into this pub, you immediately feel its quieter underground vibe and lose the hustle and bustle of the city. A decent range of beers are on offer – but at great price – and as the name suggests, it’s a popular hub for university students, so it can get very busy in the night time.

Photo: Thirsty Scholar @ Wikimedia Commons

Gulliver’s – 8
In the heart of the Northern Quarter we have Gulliver’s, a lively pub and a very popular venue for bands and live music. With multiple rooms and a large selection of good quality beers, it’s got a buzzing atmosphere at night. This 160 year old building is very aesthetically pleasing, and as it always stays open until 1am, it’s great any night during the week

The Angel – 7
Although a bit rough a round the edges, the Angel is a top boozer if you’re looking for good beer at a reasonable price. This old school pub is stooped with history, its walls lined with books. The Angel has a friendly vibe and a good variety of different ales and stouts from breweries around the North West. 

Sinclair's Oyster Bar
Photo: Sinclair’s Oyster Bar

Sinclair’s Oyster Bar – 6
Found in Shambles Square connected to the classic Old Wellington Pub, Sinclair’s Oyster Bar is our next choice. Although fans of both pubs, we prefer its old school vibe with its unique no phones and no swearing policy. The beer on tap keeps it simple, one lager and all the rest dark ales. The inside of the pub is fantastic and old fashioned with a lovely upstairs. The price of the beer makes this pub well deserving of 6th spot. For less than £3 a pint in the centre of Manchester, it’s not one to miss!

Lower Turks Head – 5
Another great Northern Quarter pub, the Lower Turks Head is a classic boozer. This Joseph Holt Pub has been running since 1745 and has a large collection of cask ales, kegs and lagers – 30 taps and 12 pumps to be precise, so plenty of choice for everyone! It’s averagely priced for the Northern Quarter but makes up for it with an excellent ambience and knowledgeable, friendly staff. The pub itself has a great deal of history with multiple rooms and even an upstairs with another mini-bar.

Briton’s Protection – 4
One of the greats of Manchester. Impossible to leave it out, it’s been around for decades and I hope it’s around for many more. This pub looks as good from the outside as it does on the inside: consisting of 3 rooms, my favourite is the back room with the fire place. The speciality of the Briton’s Protection is their vast collection of whiskeys; with over 300 on offer you’ve got plenty to choose from! Although this is a great pub it’s one of the more expensive ones in Manchester, so take it steady when drinking here, especially if you’re drinking on a budget.

Peveril of the Peak
Photo: Peveril of the Peak

Peveril of the Peak – 3
Another classic, there is absolutely no way I could leave out Peveril of the Peak. A once popular drinking spot for the Oasis superstars Liam and Noel Gallagher, it’s hard to miss this vibrant-looking pub just outside the centre of town. The inside has multiple different rooms to drink in, with access to the bar from 3 different positions. Although the drinks are on the expensive side, they’ve got a lot to offer in Peveril of the Peak, so it takes the bronze medal position in our top 10.

Castle Hotel – 2
The superior sibling to Gulliver’s across the road, the Castle hotel is a great pub. Very modest and almost hidden, it took us a while to hear about this pub and finally have a drink in there. It’s got everything you could want: a fantastic selection of real ales, and great music on every evening including occasional live events. The Castle Hotel has everything to offer including an ace atmosphere, so clinches a very worthy number 2 position in this list.

The City Arms – 1
At number 1, the holy grail: The City Arms is simply the best in town. Dead in the heart of Manchester, it’s got an almost unbeatable selection of real ales. Aesthetically, it’s as good a pub as you’ll find anywhere. The pub regularly updates its pumps and you’ll find that you can walk in one week after another with almost a completely new selection on offer. The price is slightly high, but it’s fully justified by the pub and the quality of beer that they’ve got in there. For us, this is the best that you will find in Manchester and it may take a lot to change my mind.

The City Arms
Photo: The City Arms

Our suggested route is: The New Oxford, Sinclair’s Oyster Bar, Lower Turk’s Head, The Angel, Gulliver’s, Castle Hotel, The City Arms, Briton’s Protection, Peveril of the Peak, The Thirsty Scholar.


Written by Freddie Moss, James Stanley, and Jack Birtles.

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