The Burton Arms can be found on the NQ/Ancoats borderline of Swan Street. We stopped by here on a recent TNQR birthday bongo session and I have to admit it was a more enjoyable experience than many would expect.

Entering the venue conjures up memories of the suburban boozers found up and down the land, you know, the one round the corner from your parent’s house. All patterned carpets & wood panelling, straight out of the “how to decorate a pub guide” 1956 edition. When we arrived the bar was still pretty quiet, with just a few bemused regulars, however there was an inward flow of real people as the night progressed. I say real as it was somewhat refreshing to not be in a bar full of hipsters, poseurs, and “look at me” types generally found in the more gentrified parts of the NQ.

Entertainment is provided via the old boozer staples of a hungry fruit machine & a pool table, both of which hoovered up much of our combined small change. Since it was a friday night we were also treated to a bit of karaoke, which proved popular amongst our troupe. The birthday boy kicked off proceedings with an inspired version of Elton John’s Tiny Dancer, and this was swiftly followed by a few other choice classics from the braver members of our group, and all supported by much whooping & hollering from the rest of the gang.

As for drinks, the fare on offer was the standard generic selection you’ll find in boozers across the country and whilst there were a couple of hand pumps, they were disappointingly out of action for our visit. Instead, it was generic lagers & smooth bitters on the taps, whilst mass produced spirits lined the back bar. The fridges were full of those alcopops you haven’t seen or drank in the last 15 years, but that didn’t stop some of the group (myself included) reliving their youth with Smirnoff Ices & WKD Blues, providing the sugar rush required to see us through the cold walk on to the next venue.

We probably won’t be returning anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for this type of venue on the NQ’s roster, a bastion for the anti-gentrification brigade, this place will still be here come the end of time.

Burton Arms

Classification: Pub

Food: Crisps/nuts

Drinks: Real ale, lager, wine & spirits

Price: £

Related City Centre establishments: None

Bongo rating: 5/10