Sunday 23rd January 2011
In Manchester there is at 50, Great Bridgewater Street, the rather bleak façade of the Britons Protection. It faces the New Bridgewater Hall, a prestigious venue in the city, home of the Hallé Orchestra. In fact, it is not unusual to see members wetting their whistles (or other instruments) before and/or after a performance.
This part of Manchester, the Castlefield area, has many attractions. About ten minutes walk away is the Museum of Science and Industry, also the Air and Space Museum.
Less than five minutes stroll is the Manchester Central Exhibition Centre (once G-Mex) and approximately the same distance are the stations of Deansgate-Castlefield (Metrolink trams) and Deansgate (railway).
Inside it's the opposite of the outside vista. The pub was built in 1806 and was partially refurbished during the 1920s. This was finished off in the 1930s with a new bar counter in the front bar.
The pub has a classic Northern layout with a tiled drinking corridor with paintings of the Peterloo Massacre, which took place outside the pub in 1819, when cavalrymen killed fifteen and wounded over 700 people demonstrating for democratic reform.
This corridor has a serving hatch to the bar, which is used by customers in the two rear rooms, also restructured in the 1930s.
The Smoke Room still retains the bell pushes that used to summon the waiters. Both of the back bars have open fires in winter which only enhance the already superb atmosphere.
To this visitor there seemed to have been no changes since the pre-war period. There are rooms upstairs that occasionally host bands and comedy nights. Out the back is a beer garden.
You will normally find five cask beers from regional and small brewers, normally one each from Robinsons, Moorhouse and Jennings, plus guests.
One notable aspect is the vast range of whiskies, over 200, from the usual countries and from around the world. It's fun just reading all the bottle labels.
There is a good menu featuring a lot of game, some from the Tatton estate. In fact their game pies are well known.
When we visited there were the following: Wild Boar & Pheasant, Venison & Mushroom, and Grunt Gobble, Zoom and Coo. This contains Wild Boar, Turkey, Hare and Pigeon.
Should you ever been in this part of the city, please pop in, I don't think you'll regret it.
The Britons Protection, 50 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester M1 5LE
Open: Monday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-24.00; Sunday 12.00-23.00
Food is served on Mondays-Fridays from 11.30-14.00.
Deansgate-Castlefield Metrolink Station 5 mins walk, Deansgate (National Rail) 5 mins walk.
Many buses pass close by.