I walked up Hanover Street which is now open to traffic, having been closed off for a year or two as part of the area's extensive re-development. I expected there to be a gap where the Pilcrow used to be but it was still there and it was still open, it having previously been announced that the pub would be shutting down and the building re-deployed elsewhere in the NOMA district as a community centre. I decided I would call in before I caught the train, but it was onwards past the new Co-op building to Angel Meadows and up to Rochdale Road where a few minutes walk away the Marble Arch was waiting.
|Great to be back: The Marble Arch|
|Pint on a slope at the Marble Arch|
I moved on, my intention was to visit the Smithfield, but when I arrived there the door was shut although there were some lights on inside. I moved around the corner to Mackie Mayor, but there was a queue to get in so I decided I would give it a wide berth. I walked down Swan Street, passed the Band On The Wall, and on the other side of the road three blokes emerged from the Bar Fringe, the front door having a sign on it saying exit. So entry must be round the back, I reckoned. I crossed over, wandered round, and headed in through the beer garden. A guy greeted me outside and led me in, telling me how they were operating under the current rules and guidelines. The pub was quiet, with just a couple of other guys having a natter and a pint. I sat at one of the raised tables by the window, checked in with my details, and ordered a pint of Revolution from Stourbridge-based Green Duck Brewery. A single hop pale ale, made with Nelson Sauvin hops this was a very pleasant NBSS 3, with an underlying gooseberry-like tartness. I had a natter with the guy about the pub, how busy they'd been since lockdown, and the ongoing building of flats and offices which seems to be continuing apace even though the city is, and is likely to continue to be, much quieter. I have always liked Bar Fringe for its mix of the bohemian and pure Manchester; it is a place of character.
|A place of character: Bar Fringe|
|Smithfield Tavern on a previous visit|
It was only a brief visit to the city, and with some of the places I visited long-standing ports of call, they were certainly a bit different to what I was used to, but everyone was welcoming, they were comfortable, and there was some pretty good beer to be had. The pubs were quieter on this grey and drizzly Friday afternoon, the streets were definitely quieter, the traffic lighter, but I felt back at home in the city very quickly after getting there, and I don't think I could really have expected any more as we get used to this changed world in which we now live....
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