The Wharf, on the other hand, is a proper 100% diamond geezer pub. No surprise as it’s part of the Brunning and Price chain. They are the pub group that have a proven track record in running upmarket food centric premises that are attractive to customers who like to dine and drink in rather smart surroundings.
Positioned in the Castlefield basin, the building itself was a new build in 1998 when it opened as Jacksons Wharf. The intention was obvious: build a new pub to service the growing number of local residents and visitors to the area. However, it wasn’t well executed and it served mediocre beer-Boddingtons, I seem to recall, and food before it limped to a close in 2005.
There then erupted a war over the site as Peel Holdings, the visionaries who gave us the Trafford Centre, wanted to build a monstrous complex there. Thankfully, with the help of local campaigners and the odd celebrity, eventually Goliath was beaten by David, and Brunning and Price began the three year process to open it as a pub again.
The result is a very welcome addition to not only the Manchester pub scene, but Manchester’s real ale portfolio as well. They serve six cask beers, with Dave the bar manager keen to hear feedback on what beers the customers would like to see on the bar. This being Manchester and this being Brunning & Price, the beer isn’t cheap. Be prepared to pay £3.40 a pint for your preferred tipple.
The pub itself is typical of their group. Lots of bare wood and comfortable furnishings. Being a proper pub, it’s multi-roomed and there are plenty of nooks and crannies for you to hide in when you see the likes of me walk in. I particularly liked the library room behind the main bar.
Sensibly downstairs is given over to casual diners and drinkers, while upstairs is reserved for more formal dining. Above that is the crows nest gallery which I’m sure will prove popular for its intimacy and great views over the hoi polloi below. Food is obviously a major draw and examples include a starter of home smoked duck breast with date purée and orange salad (£6.50) and a main of fish & chips for £12.25.
There is plenty of outdoor seating for you to
get wet enjoy the scorching Mancunian summer and there is full disabled access for wheelchair users. It’s interesting to see such a bold development open in a time of such austerity and changing consumer habits. Of course, only time will tell if B&P have done their homework, but the initial signs are good.
The Wharf, 6 Slate Wharf, Castlefield, Manchester M15 4ST
Open Mon-Thurs 11-11, Fri-Sat 11-Midnight, Sun 11-10.30
Food served Mon-Sat 12-10, Sun 12-9.30