Sunday 27th January 2013
This is a very ancient pub indeed and it is thought that it is at least 300 years old. Dating of its origins and subsequent years has proved difficult because it has been altered so many times over the years. For most of its life it was known as the Unicorn. The beginnings of Altrincham, which goes back over 800 years, were in the area around the pub which is located on one side of the Old Market Place.
Before the coming of the railway, the Manchester to Chester stagecoach stopped outside at 10.00, and delivered the day's newspapers. Also painted white, on the far side of the pub, is the Old Town Hall built in 1849 with funds provided by the Earl of Stamford. It was constructed on the sight of the inn's stables.
Although the town has had up to fifteen different spellings of its name, one in particular gives a good clue to its antiquity and that is Alderingaham. The structure indicates that the name is of seventh century Saxon origin and it means "the homestead of Aldhere's people". It was granted its Royal Charter by King Edward 1 in 1290 and, naturally, the 700th Anniversary was celebrated in 1990. This was when the pub received its present name.
Myself and Linda went inside and found that the pub was rambling with many different rooms. On one end of the main room is a large bare area when you will find live bands playing on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. The main bar is long with a fine collection of hand pumps offering a very good selection of beer. There is a well-furnished and comfortable room at the front of the pub with an open fire and another, larger, one off the end of the bar. It all adds up to lot of space.
There are six regular beers and they are: Caledonian (Edinburgh) Deuchars IPA; George Wright (Rainford, Merseyside) Drunken Duck (3.9%) and Northern Lights (5.1%); Facers's (Tan Y Coed, Flint, Wales) DHB (4.3%); Phoenix (Heywood, Greater Manchester) Arizona (4.1%) and Timothy Taylor's (Keighley, Yorks) Landlord (4.3%).
That's a reasonable range for any pub but there were another five guest beers when we visited and these were as follows: Dunscar (Bolton, Greater Manchester) Bombay IPA (3.8%) and Steeplejack (3.8%); Hornbeam (Denton, Greater Manchester) Voyager (3.9%); Phoenix (Heywood, Greater Manchester) White Monk (4.5%) and Titanic (Burslem, Staffs) Stout (4.5%).
In a back room we were watching football on a big screen TV when a customer asked what we thought of the beers and we said they were very good. He explained that he and his wife were travelling back from Manchester to Wales and said he always stopped here for food and drink. He showed me the food menu and I couldn't believe the prices. I've not seen anything as cheap for years. Obviously I had to ask what the quality was like and he said it was as good as any other pub he frequented.
So, there you have it! A great selection of beer and also very cheap meals.
The Old Market Tavern, Old Market Place, Altrincham WA14 4DN. Tel: 0161 927 7062
Open: Sunday to Tuesday 12.00-23.00; Wednesday to Saturday 12.00-24.00
Altrincham station is served frequently by Metrolink trams from the city centre.
It is also served by trains operated by Northern Rail and they come from
Manchester Piccadilly via Stockport and continue to Chester.
Frequency is hourly Monday to Saturday and every two hours on Sunday.
From the station is about five minutes to the Old Market Tavern.
Turn right out of station in Stamford New Road. Cross to opposite side and turn left into Stamford Way, then left into Stamford Street. This changes to Kingsway. Turn right at the end and you can see the pub on the opposite side of the road.