Wednesday 24th January 2018
A micro-pub in the city centre? Well, I can think of one in Manchester and another in Nottingham, but cannot stretch beyond that. They normally are to be found in villages and small towns and most commonly, amongst the shops in suburban parades. Brink bucks the trend and is the second micro-pub in the centre of Manchester. It is to be found in a basement in Bridge Street, just off Deansgate.
Created by Gareth Williams, I believe it opened in March 2016, confirmation of that would be welcome. Its basement home is below a beauty parlour named House of Makeup and the entrance is between that shop and Audio T, a music equipment retailer. Luckily there was an “A” board advertising the bar on the pavement outside, so I didn’t walk straight past it altogether.
Steep steps descend from the street to the bar room. Through a door and I was in the main room with the bar counter tucked away to the right. The décor is modern with dark brown fitted bench seats around three walls. Facing these are varnished light wood tables and chairs of dark wood with leather padding that matches to colour of the benches.
There is a passageway at the rear of the room that leads to the toilets. On the left side of this is a shelf with three high chairs in the same style as the other furniture.
There is a small room at the far end that contains a table and four chairs. On the walls here it looks as if they are starting a display of pump clips of all the beers previously sold, a common feature of many micro-pubs.
A talking point within the main room is the photograph displayed along the right wall. It is a panoramic view of Manchester taken from Holcombe Hill, north of Bury, some eleven miles away. It is actually four photos stitched together and shows Bury and Manchester and extends right to the Peak District in the background. On the other wall are artworks depicting the city and these are threaded with strings of sparking white LED lights.
Now to the most important feature of the room, the bar area. On the wall to the left it is a large menu blackboard. This shows the various beers on offer, along with “craft” keg products. There is also a large list of “craft” canned beer, along with some bottled varieties.
Traditional still cider is also offered. One very notable feature of the beer, cider and food menu is that all of it is sourced from within 25 miles of the bar.
There is also a comprehensive range of wines and spirits and I noticed that they advertise Prosecco cocktails. Its location in the middle of one of Manchester’s entertainment districts no doubt dictates they sell a full range of alcoholic drinks. This extends to spirits where they offer an excellent selection, especially whiskies with several from abroad and a very good collection of single malts.
There are normally five cask beers available but on this occasion there were four. These were Brightside (Radcliffe, Greater Manchester) Wildside Key Lime (4.8%), an experimental beer made with lager ingredients and flavoured with lime oil; Marble Brewery (Manchester) Chocolate Marble (5.5%), a porter-style beer made with chocolate malt; First Chop (Eccles, Greater Manchester) DUE (5.0%), a dry-hopped IPA and Red Willow (Macclesfield, Cheshire) Feckless (4.1%), a standard Best Bitter.
The four traditional still ciders all came from Dunham Press Cider of Timperley, Greater Manchester. They were Redeye (Medium-Sweet) (6.3%); Streaker (Medium-Sweet) (5.8%); Sawpit (Medium-Dry) (6.2%) and Sawpit N’ Black (4.8%), which is a blend of Sawpit cider with blackcurrant juice.
The food is a slightly more eclectic take on the usual micro-pub fare. There are several varieties of Scotch egg including the now standard black pudding version, a sage & onion, vegetarian (falafel) and strangely, a breakfast variation with all the usual ingredients of that meal. Also offered is a pork and apple pie and a vegetarian version. There’s also a large selection of the usual packaged snacks. Wi-Fi is available and there is a digital “jukebox” that is accessed by smart phone using a QR code. That’s a first for me!
This bar is very accessible and comes highly recommended.
The Brink, 65 Bridge Street, Manchester M3 3BQ. Tel: 0161 834 6346.
Hours: Sunday-Monday: 16.00-23.00; Tuesday: 16.00-24.00;
Wednesday-Thursday: 12.00-24.00; Friday-Saturday: 12.00-01.00.
The bar is situated in the Spinningfields district of the city. Bus routes are plentiful and frequent. There is a stop right outside. More routes go along Deansgate including the city centre free routes A, B and C.
The nearest railway station is (oddly) Salford Central, in another city! Actually is about five minutes walk away. Bridge Street continues over the River Irwell and the station is on the other side.
The other main stations of Piccadilly, Victoria and Oxford Road are reached by the free buses A, B and C.