Manchester has a pub for every possible mood. For the quiet afternoon pint, the after-work quick one that turns into a midweek crawl, or for the 1am scorched earth karaoke session that no one saw coming.

We are blessed with places to do all of this, and in many cases, multiple places. From ancient boozers that have been serving Mancunians since the 1500s to country pubs worth the journey out to, we’re truly, ludicrously spoiled for choice.

And while we may have neglected a favourite or two, there should be more than a few of your other favourites listed here among the 50 best pubs in all of Greater Manchester.

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The Britons Protection

A warren of snug rooms, all beautifully tiled or beautifully panelled and warmed by open fires in the winter, the Britons Protection is the quintessential Manchester pub. It’s woven into the fabric of the city too - gathering its name from the early 1800s, when it was seen as a refuge from those seeking to recruit for the Napoleonic Wars. Inside, murals recreate the Peterloo Massacre, and the building itself is one of just three remaining that bore witness to it. So you can choose to steep yourself in its history, or in one of the hundreds of whiskies on offer.

50 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5LE

Peveril of the Peak

Surely the most peculiar pub in Manchester, the Peveril is a corner house of sorts. An island clad in fabulous green and yellow tiles, the terraces around it having long since been carved away. A brothel during World War II, it endures in spite of the changes going on all around it, a steadfast boozer that has defied gentrification at every turn. Don’t expect poncy IPAs and natural wine here, its rough hewn vibe is very much the point. Long may it remain just the way it is.

127 Great Bridgewater St, Manchester M1 5JQ

The Marble Arch Inn

Out there on its own on the road to Rochdale, The Marble Arch, with its sloping floor drawing you like a tractor beam to the bar, is an absolute must on any pub tour of Manchester. Gloriously preserved, the beer is magnificent too - being the flagship pub for the Marble Brewery. Throw in some excellent pub grub and a perfectly formed yard beer garden at the back - with some very fancy sheds to sit in - and you’ve basically created the perfect boozer.

73 Rochdale Rd, Manchester M4 4HY

Crown & Kettle

While there may not be a busier corner in Manchester, the grand Crown & Kettle sits there intransigent, demanding that the traffic move around it. Wrap yourself around its central bar, or squirrel yourself away in one of its more snug areas - or its small covered garden at the back - and take in a vast and constantly changing array of real ales, lagers, stouts, pilsners, IPAs, sours, saisons and everything in between. And then look up and marvel at the gothic ceiling.

2 Oldham Rd, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5FE

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The Trevor Arms

A staple on Beech Road since the turn of the last century, the Trev - formerly, for reasons unknown, the Famous Trevor Arms - has become increasingly favoured among the folk of Chorlton, particularly since its sympathetic refurb in 2017. Now a much more airy and spacious spot, with a little courtyard garden at the back, its devoted locals and eye-catching illustrations of Manchester music icons from Bez to Ian Curtis make this a no-nonsense, off-the-beaten-track gem.

135 Beech Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9EQ

The Rose & Monkey Hotel

Revived in recent years, the Rose & Monkey has gone under many names since it was erected in the late 1700s, and likely boasted patronage from the likes of Marx and Engels. Now it's a staple stopping off spot on any crawl taking in the Northern Quarter and Ancoats, not to mention for travelling musicians who use the rooms upstairs. There's a jukebox, regular music events and a garden. It is an excellent pub.

31 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ

The Beech

Long part of the fabric of Beech Road, this cosy boozer has a bit of everything, from sports - and occasional bursts of live Irish music practice - to a decent sized garden at the back with covered spots and sun traps. There’s a cosy snug at the front, Timothy Taylor’s on the taps and a terrace at the front too, to watch the world go by.

72 Beech Rd, Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester M21 9EG

The Star and Garter

The Star & Garter

Out on a limb beyond Piccadilly, and a survivor of the Manchester Blitz, the Grade II-listed Star & Garter has played the role of the rough old boozer in shows from Cracker to Prime Suspect. But it’s a pussycat really. It holds regular music events and is often thrown open to the ravers at the Warehouse Project. It’s packed with character, not to mention characters.

18-20 Fairfield St, Manchester M1 2QF

Kings Arms

Dubbed ‘Britain’s most bohemian back-street boozer’, this Salford institution has built up a strong reputation and steady flow of customers over the years thanks to its live music, comedy and regular quiz nights. The Bloom Street pub, previously owned by Beautiful South and Housemartins singer Paul Heaton, sits at the heart of the community and was crowned ‘best pub’ at last year’s Manchester Food & Drink Awards. With its beautiful woodwork, tiled flooring and carved-wood theatre space on the top floor - and not forgetting its traditional ales and resident cat Charlie, it's clear to see why it’s so treasured.

11 Bloom St, Salford M3 6AN

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Baker's Vaults

Few places represent Stockport’s rich history and future potential better than The Bakers Vaults. Previously known as the George and Dragon, the pub was established in 1775 and built on the remaining foundations of Stockport castle. Reinvigorated in 2014 by the pub-trio of Jonny Booth, Jamie Langrish and Rupert Hill - the people behind Northern Quarter pubs Gullivers and The Castle, the Eagle Inn in Salford - today it boasts patterned floors tiles, trailing strings of Edison light bulbs and leaded windows that look out at the old Victorian street lamps beyond.

Market Pl, Stockport SK1 1ES

Eagle & Child

The small market town of Ramsbottom is brimming with excellent places to eat and drink, not least countryside boozer Eagle & Child, a pub which offers sweeping views over the surrounding moorlands and Peel Tower. Embedded within the local community, in 2011 it was transformed into a social enterprise providing disadvantaged young people with the chance to build skills and gain employment in hospitality and catering, and has been decorated with awards and accolades - most notably for its brilliant beer garden. Come summer, when we all emerge from hibernation, it’s the perfect setting for an al fresco drink or two.

3 Whalley Rd, Ramsbottom, Bury BL0 0DL

Grey Horse Inn

Portland Street isn’t particularly known for being a destination for beer lovers, and serves more as a cut through either to The Village or Chinatown. However, when you’re next navigating your way through bus lanes it’s worth stopping off for one at Grey Horse. This quaint pub is said to be one of the smallest pubs in the city and his held in high esteem by locals and visitors alike.

80 Portland St, Manchester M1 4QX

The New Oxford

For several years, The New Oxford was a boarded-up relic of Salford’s drinking past, but with a little bit of love from landlord Tim Flynn, the boozer in historic Bexley Square near Salford magistrates court was given a new lease of life in 2007. In the same year it was voted Greater Manchester’s pub of the year by the Campaign for Real Ale, in part due to its atmosphere and great range of beers. Billing itself as a real ale and Belgian beer bar offers over 100 Belgian beers and international tipples, as well as local brews made by independent breweries.

11 Bexley Square, Salford M3 6DB

The Wharf

As they go, the beer garden at The Wharf is probably one of Manchester city centre’s best. Looking out onto the industrial and Roman heart of Manchester, pub-goers flock there in the summer months. But proving its a pub for all seasons, The Wharf’s Sunday menu is one you’ll want to head inside for. Seek out on of the pub's innumerable nooks and crannies, grab a plate of roast beef with all the trimmings, order in the wines and you’ll see why it’s much more than its beer garden.

The Wharf, 6 Slate Wharf, Manchester M15 4ST

Mulligan's serves one of the best pints of Guinness in the world


Mulligan's serves one of the best pints of Guinness in the world. That alone is reason to make a special journey to this pub at the back of Deansgate, and those in the know do, in their droves. Peak times can see this place packed to the rafters, so it's often best to slip in during a quiet period in the afternoon and enjoy the perfect pint of the black stuff.

12 Southgate, Manchester M3 2RB

The Gas Lamp

Head down an easy overlooked flight of stairs on Bridge Street, and you'll find one of the very best pubs in the city, part of the extended family of Salford's acclaimed craft brewery Pomona Island. As such, you'll find dozens of Pomona's exceptional ales, pale ales, stouts, sours and saisons, as well as an impressive selection of scotch. For those seeking a later drink, it's also open until 2am on weekends.

50a Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BW

The Black Friar

Against all odds, the Black Friar rose from the ashes and was lovingly restored and reopened in 2019 after an extensive renovation costing £1.4 million. Left as the only building to survive the 1960s slum clearances in Black Friars, and derelict for 15 years after being damaged by two fires, its transformation is nothing short of impressive and has even caught the eye of national critics. As well as a stellar selection of drinks, under the same roof, punters will also find a modern glass restaurant serving a menu of fine elevated pub fare using locally sourced seasonal ingredients.

41-43 Blackfriars Rd, Manchester M3 7DB

The Castle Hotel

This 200 year old boozer (which looks pretty much now as it did then) is part of the very fabric of Manchester. It's where John Peel first interviewed Ian Curtis of Joy Division, and has played host to countless Manchester bands over the years, in its tiny backroom gig venue. It wears its notoriety very much with a shrug of the shoulders, and is as much home to the posturing hipster as it is to the wayward characters of the Northern Quarter.

66 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE

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The Molly House

Tucked away behind the bustle of the Village, this storied back street spot is so-named after the slang term for a place where gay men could congregate safely and discretely in the 18th and 19th century. Less of that is necessary today. It's an excellent pub, with a superb range of craft beers and wines, and excellent food. Its secret terrace is a must to seek out during Pride weekend too.

26 Richmond St, Manchester M1 3NB

The Horse and Jockey

As if an ancient, Tudor pub has been lifted from the deepest countryside and tacked onto the end of Beech Road, Chorlton's stately Horse and Jockey overlooks the idyllic Chorlton Green, with a warren of cosy rooms inside beneath its low ceilings. It's warmed by fires in the winter and boasts a roomy terrace at the front for balmy summer afternoons.

9 Chorlton Green, Manchester M21 9HS

Sam’s Chop House

Established in 1869 by local brothers Samuel and Thomas Studd, Sam’s Chop House is one of Manchester’s most storied and decorated watering holes. Many famous faces have passed through its doors including local painter LS Lowry - there’s a life-sized bronze statue of him propped up at the bar - and there’s a distinct old-world vibe about the space with its tiled walls and flagstone, using stone sourced from the original Manchester Town Hall. It does a great pint too, especially Guinness, but its food is also worth a punt, particularly its corned beef hash and steak and kidney pudding.

Back Pool Fold, Manchester M2 1HN

The Millstone

There's no other pub quite like the Millstone. Doggedly staying exactly how it's always been, while trendy shops and bars come and go around it, it's packed out all day, every day, with a devoted crowd heading in for a pint (or two, possibly more) and a sing-song on their famous karaoke system. Regulars mix with curious scenesters, but all are welcome.

67 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1LQ

The Old Nags Head

A shrine to Manchester of old, there are more pictures of the magnificent George Best - and other Manc icons - here than there are at Old Trafford. Thousands of frames adorn the walls in this classic backstreet boozer, spanning Jackson's Row all the way through to Lincoln Square. Head up and up and up, and you'll find a hidden roof terrace too.

19 Jacksons Row, Manchester M2 5WD

The tiny Circus Tavern

The Circus Tavern

Easily the smallest pub in Manchester - and reputedly one of the smallest in Europe too - the Circus is nonetheless perfectly formed for that. It's brilliantly old fashioned, a tiny bar right in front of you as you head in, and two exceptionally snug little fireside rooms to the side. You might get involved in someone else's conversation, but that's very much part of the charm at this Manchester institution.

86 Portland St, Manchester M1 4GX

The Arden Arms

Stockport’s original award-winning ale shrine and one of CAMRA’s most-listed boozers, the Arden Arms is a pub brimming with history and is well worth a visit for the building alone. An early 19th-century coaching inn set on the edge of Stockport’s Market, its quirky screen bar still with its rising sashes, quarry-tiled lobby, and secret snug accessed by passing through the bar with staff’s permission, all add to the charm of this south Manchester institution.

23 Millgate, Stockport SK1 2LX

Edinburgh Castle

This abandoned Ancoats boozer, which was reborn as a gastropub in 2019 when it was saved from dereliction, might be one of the city’s prettiest pubs. While it may not boast the usual hallmarks of a traditional watering hole - think threadbare carpet and slot machines - is lovingly crafted interiors featuring cosy nooks, leather banquettes and an inviting central bar make it a must-visit any day of the week.

17 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 5EP

The Metropolitan

West Didsbury’s busiest pub by far, The Met as it’s affectionately known by locals, is the kind of place anyone would want on their doorstep. Jostle your way through the crowded bar and you can stop for a second to really take in the building that sprawls out in front of you. From hammer-beam roof trusses and lofty rooms inside to an impressive beer garden ideal for long summer evenings before you take on what else Burton Road has to offer.

The Metropolitan, 2 Lapwing Ln, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2WS

City Arms

This backstreet watering hole is often described as one of Manchester’s “proper” pubs - and for good reason too. Located smack bang in the middle of town, this small but mighty boozer, with its Chesterfield sofas and circular tables, is as traditional as it gets. A regular on the Good Beer Guide due to its rotating offer of ales and vast selection of gins - 150 and counting - it’s a must-visit for any self-respecting pub crawl, but also the perfect spot for a swift one when avoiding a Manchester deluge.

46-48 Kennedy Street, Manchester, M2 4BQ

The Swann Inn

Situated in the picturesque village square of Dobcross in Saddleworth, this Grade II-listed pub almost closed its doors for good during the pandemic, but was saved from this fate by new landlady Sharon Musgrove - a long-term resident. Fans of old-school boozers will be happy to see the original deed - signed by the first landlord - still hangs on the wall, alongside old photographs of the village, while outside a revamped seating area features a postcard-perfect red phone box.

1, The Square, Dobcross, Oldham OL3 5AA

The Church Inn

Another city pub that feels like it's been lifted out of the countryside, the Church Inn, opposite the fascinating churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, is a marvellous way to start (and finish) a weekend meander to Prestwich Clough, Drinkwater Park or all the way down the Irwell. Alternatively, hole up in one of its many rooms or plot up in the pretty beer garden and enjoy a pint instead.

40 Church Ln, Prestwich, Manchester M25 1AJ

Lass O' Gowrie

Perched on the edge of the Medlock, the Lass sits doggedly unchanged as the city has grown up around it, notably the huge Circle Square development off Oxford Road, which now dominates this part of town. Packed with wonderful original features, and a wee terrace clinging to the wall above the river, it has fine beer and a great quiz night.

36 Charles St, Manchester M1 7DB

The Coach & Horses in Whitefield

Coach & Horses

A round-up of Greater Manchester's best pubs wouldn’t be complete without the addition of the M.E.N readers’ favourite pub, Coach & Horses, a Whitefield institution with top Sunday roasts and a beer garden like no other. Landlady Sue Hawley, who has worked for brewers Joseph Holt for 25 years, took over the pub in 2019 and had transformed it into a community hub where anyone and everyone is welcome. In a short space of time, and with a global pandemic to contend with as well, Sue has already raised money to get a defibrillator, welcomed numerous local clubs - from ladies darts to the allotment society - and started a cabaret lunch for seniors.

Coach & Horses, 71 Bury Old Rd, Whitefield, Prestwich, Manchester M45 6TB

The Oxford

This family-run pub at the foot of the Pennines has become well known for its annual Christmas Markets complete with boozy hot Vimto, Yorkshire pudding wraps, bratwurst and hog roast sandwiches, plus much more. That said, day-to-day, it's also loved for its hart food offer, fine wines and real ales. Established in 2013, the team have striven to make this place a proper pub - from its cosy fireplaces and cosy surroundings to its famous cheese and onion pie and wide selection of beers, wines and sprits.

662 Whitworth Rd, Rochdale OL12 0TB

The Old Wellington

The origins of the Old Welly date back to the 1500s, when it was originally located on what's now Market Street, after which it was lifted piece by piece and rebuilt where it is now on Cathedral Gardens, a stunning achievement really. The Wellington has dodged the Blitz, a nearby bombing, and redevelopment on its doorstep, sitting with its Tudor beams in stark contrast to everything else around it. It almost seems unreal, like a theme park attraction. But it's a treasure, thick with history, and long may it stand.

4 Cathedral Gates, Greater, Manchester M3 1SW

The Didsbury

It might sit on the site of a former inn dating back to the English Civil War, but mention The Didsbury in passing conversation and pub-goers will most likely recognise the Wilmslow Road boozer as the starting point for the 'Didsbury Dozen' - the leafy suburb's legendary pub crawl. Also located on a former village green, others know it for its large beer garden, pub grub and traditional pub vibes.

852 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2SG

Sinclair's and The Old Wellington

Sinclair's Oyster Bar

Like its neighbour The Old Wellington, Sinclair's has history dating back to the 1500s only became known as Sinclair's Oyster Bar in a relatively spritely 1845. It too was moved, on stilts, to its current location from its birthplace, as the Arndale expanded. It still sells oysters, and arguably best of all has a mobile phone ban, meaning you have to take that inane chatter outside and leave the inside for setting the world to rights.

2 Cathedral Gates, Manchester M3 1SW England


With the looming presence of Kinder Scout and the moors in the near distance, this 16th century country pub lying between Marple Bridge and New Mills has a great selection of beers but many flock here for the locally sourced pub fare. From slow-braised lamb shank and pan-fried Gressingham duck breast to classics like beer-battered Atlantic cod and thick-cut chips, the food here, which was awarded a Michelin Plate, really is worth the drive out for.

Oddfellows Moor End Road, Mellor, SK4 5PT

Hare & Hounds Inn, Werneth Low

Yes, there's a lot of pubs in Greater Manchester with this name, but this one, sitting on the borders of Stockport and Tameside, might boast the best location of the lot. Sitting atop Werneth Low, this rustic country pub, found just off a narrow country road is a perfect stop off after a big walk, and one of the best places to take in views all the way to Greater Manchester. Built in 1728, it's all low ceilings, exposed beams and cosy nooks, while the food offers a contemporary touch.

Werneth Low Road, Hyde, SK14 3AA

The Waterside

On a sunny day in Costa del Salford, The Waterside at Monton is the hottest ticket in town. Sitting alongside Bridgewater Canal opposite Monton Lighthouse, this modern pub and restaurant, which boasts its own beer garden as fairly new 'Lighthouse Lounge' conservatory for taking in the waterside views, knocks out pub staples including burgers and pies, as well as an extensive menu in the evenings if you're peckish.

1 Parrin Ln, Eccles, Manchester M30 8AN

The Swann with Two Necks, Dunham Massey

Tucked down a winding country dotted with farms and barns, this popular country spot is a well known pitstop for a pub lunch after a leisurely stroll around the Dunham Massey estate. Inside, punters will find a quintessential, olde-world style pub complete with rustic beams hanging low from the ceilings and log fires to huddle around in winter. Food wise, the kitchen serves up a strong roster of pub classics, from homemade steak and ale pie, to fish and chips and cottage pie.

Park Lane, Little Bollington, Altrincham, WA14 4TJ

The White Hart at Lydgate

On the very outer reaches of Greater Manchester, the White Hart is much nearer to the Peak District than it is the city centre, but we'll gladly claim it. Nestled in the picturesque village of Lydgate, this warm and welcoming country pub at the 'top o' hill' has excellent food - its roasts are always receiving some award or other - and excellent beers, with striking views and some good walking to be had nearby.

51 Stockport Rd, Lydgate, Oldham OL4 4JJ

The Railway

While the nearby Met and the Woodstock may have the heft, The Railway is small but perfectly formed. A more personal, tavern-feel, this fine local on the end of Lapwing Lane sit at odds with the trendy bars that come and go on Burton Road. It's got a jukebox, Holts beers and an open fire for the winter.

3 Lapwing Ln, West Didsbury, Manchester M20 2NT

Smithfield Tavern

On the edge of Ancoats and the Northern Quarter, the Smithfield is the home of the marvellous Blackjack brewery, though before they turned up it had been serving up libations since 1823. Now it has a wild range of spectacular craft ales, from opaque IPAs that are the colour of cheap orange juice to keg numbers from the likes of Red Willow, not to mention the odd live DJ, darts and - an increasing rarity - a pool table.

37 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ

The Eagle in Salford

The Eagle Inn

As much an essential part of Manchester's music scene as it is to the city's pub scene, this peerless hostelry has it all, from its secluded snug rooms to its iconic gig venue at the back, which has seen intimate shows from all manner of stellar acts over the years. With a few famous patrons - we shan't name names - The Eagle is the epitome of the hidden gem, and long may it remain so.

19 Collier St, Salford M3 7DW

The Ale House

Another tap room from Bolton's excellent Bank Top Brewery, Horwich's Ale House is clasped in the middle of a row of old 18th century weavers' cottages, providing a spot for locals to sample their hoppy ales and dark milds and walkers to take the weight off. There occasional live music, pug games, quiz nights and it's very much dog and family friendly too.

The Brown Cow, 36 Church St, Horwich, Bolton BL6 6AD

The Bank Top Brewery Tap

An sturdy corner house, the Tap in Astley Bridge was the first pub to be opened by the local Bank Top Brewery, and it's a cracker serving up a host of first rate cask and keg beers, as well as much of the brewery's own sterling output. A fine and enviable local, for those lucky enough to live nearby.

68-70 Belmont Road, Astley Bridge, Bolton, BL1 7AN

The Lower Turk's Head

The original, beautifully tiled frontage of the Lower Turks Head hints at the considered and careful restoration that's gone on inside over the years, with its original chequerboard floor and nooks to sit in, not to mention a hidden roof terrace. It's also a haven for northern soul heads, so if that's your bag, there are monthly Sunday sessions.

36 Shudehill, Manchester M4 1EZ

The Angel

Along with the Marble Arch, The Angel sits in that unloved hinterland between Ancoats and Victoria, so while footfall might be slim, it means its clientele are there for a reason. Plenty of great local beers - First Chop, Twisted Wheel - and quiz nights. What more is there, when you think about it?

6 Angel St, Manchester M4 4BQ

Bombay Brew

Formerly the Wellington Hotel, this stately building has stood here since the 1700s, and is now home to Bombay Brew - a craft beer pub with Indian street food on the menu, quite the perfect combination. You can grab a superb IPA to wash down your desi-inspired toasties, samosas, or a more substantial rice and three at lunchtime. But principally, this is a boozer, and a fine one at that.

1 Drake St, Rochdale OL16 1RE

Port Street Beer House

Is it a pub? Is it a bar? That's possibly an argument for another time, as well as what actually constitutes either of these things. Whatever, while Port Street might not have the traditional lay out, it feels like a pub, with its wealth of craft ales - from trendy London breweries producing hop-forward IPAs - to more trad cask beers for the bearded folk. A place to get slowly lost in.

39-41 Port St, Manchester M1 2EQ

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