I was looking forward to the train trip to Manchester yesterday, partly because since the start of this month trains from Lancaster now follow a different route via Wigan and the newly electrified line thence to the city rather than via Chorley and Bolton, which they've done for years. Not that the trains have changed you understand, they are still the same cramped and noisy diesel sets we've had for some time. The new electric line might be ready but the new trains are still in Germany being built! Not much else had changed either - and we were half-an-hour late, overcrowded and subjected to conflicting public address announcements as to whether the train would complete its advertised route to the Airport (automated) or would terminate short at Piccadilly (manual). The guard's announcements proved correct and the train never did get to the Airport. The explanation was that this was due to late running - and the late running was due to, er...."having departed late from Edinburgh!",
Anyway, after a day in the city and with time to kill before the train home (on time throughout) where else to go but the Hare and Hounds.
Manchester is quite cosmopolitan these days and many of the city centre pubs and bars reflect that, but the Hare and Hounds reminds you that at heart it's still very much a working-class city - and the Hare and Hounds is very much a working-class pub. Although the building itself is much older, the interior doesn't appear to have changed much since Victorian times. It retains a multi-room layout including that Northern feature a drinking lobby - an area just inside the front door adjacent to the bar from where drinkers can keep an eye on everyone who comes in.
There's only one beer on sale, but it's an excellent pint of Holt's bitter, which at £2.15 is cheaper than the city's Wetherspoons outlets. Yesterday, even at five o'clock it was packed. There was entertainment in the form of a singer in the lounge bar and unofficial entertainment in the form of a bloke selling dodgy DVDs from a plastic bag. Trays of sandwiches suddenly appeared, plonked down on tables at random with everyone invited to help themselves, followed by bowls of chips, all free of charge. What with the saving on the beer price and not having to buy any tea I almost saved enough for the train fare home!
If any boaters are ever in Manchester and want to give it a go, moor-up in Castlefield and get a "Bury" or "Rochdale" tram from the "Deansgate - Castlefield" stop to "Shudehil"l where you'll find the Hare and Hounds just across the road from the Interchange.