Albert’s Schloss is the latest big name addition to Manchester’s drinking/dining scene. Situated on Peter St, it occupies the slot once dominated by the late, unlamented, sticky-floored, Brannigans. Remember them? Anyway it’s had a major overhaul and some serious money spent on it by the folk who own the Trof empire to transform it into Manchester’s own version of a Bavarian beer hall. Well alpine retreat, more accurately, as this is no cheap German bier Keller pastiche. The clue’s in the name: Schloss, which translates as chateau. The Albert of the title is self-explanatory, being Queen Vic’s little German love machine and, of course, it is based on the ground floor of the Albert Hall.
So after two years of planning and six months of build, what do you get for your Deutschmark? Well a lot of wood, for a start. The place is dominated by a huge wraparound bar that must be one of the largest in the area. It’s claimed that 80% of the build materials are from reclaimed sources including doors from the former BBC premises on Oxford Road. There are alpinesque tables and chairs and traditional German drinking benches designed by Manchester designer Pete Masters. There are comfortable booths at the back and a “Gentleman’s snug” at the side complete with faux-wood fire.
With a nod to its location, there is a DJ gallery and a live music stage. With a nod to its inspiration, there is a large kitchen and on-site bakery to deliver fresh pretzels and other Germanic goodies to the hungry hordes. Examples of this are Schweinshaxe (crispy pork knuckle with apple, horseradish sauce, pickled red cabbage and gravy) for £13.50 and for the non-Neolithic carnivores, the German version of pizza: Flammkuchen.
Did you spot the odd one out? No, not the cask beer. In a slight geographical diversion from the Fatherland, their USP is actually Czech. Pilsner Urquell Tank Beer or Tankova is unpasteurised and is delivered ASAP from the brewery to ensure the customer gets the freshest pint. Schloss has four of these 900 pint tanks and once opened they have to be emptied in seven days. A board counting down the days adds to the sense of occasion and if you have ever tried it, you will appreciate just how buttery and refreshing a Pilsner can be. There is also a range of bottled beer including, for some reason unfathomable to mortal men, non-alcoholic Jever.