We love a bit of Mancunian history here at TNQR, and whilst looking at an 1844 map of Manchester recently we noticed that the Crown & Anchor was already sitting proudly on the corner of Port Street and Hilton Street some 172 years ago. We often pass by here on our way to Port St. Beer House but have never ventured in, so with our interest piqued by the heritage of the site it was the prime candidate for our next review.
The old exterior tiling has been well preserved and alongside the hanging baskets, that are well tended all year round, there’s hope that a well-loved classic pub interior waits for us inside – unfortunately, that is not the case. The walls are adorned with quotes and sayings much like you’d find in generic chain bars across the land, the lighting includes pink neon, and there’s ‘interesting’ wallpaper which would be much more at home on Canal Street or in Andy Carroll’s house.
There are four cask pumps, however they were all off when we visited on a Saturday evening which was disappointing. The remaining drinks choices are your standard spirit, wine and lager choices you’d find anywhere else; nothing really to write home about.
Now, on to some positives. There’s a pool table, which is rare in these parts, and a generous fruit machine that we doubled our money on and helped redeem this place somewhat. They also show live sports, providing another NQ stop to catch a game should the others be too busy, and the classic easy-listening music was a hit with our group on our visit. Finally, arguably their best feature, is the large (compared to others in the NQ), well-maintained beer garden and a roof terrace you’ll find hiding out the back of the pub that we’d like to come and check out when the weather is more favourable.
We didn’t see any food on our visit, or catch a glimpse of the menu, so we can’t vouch for it, but they advertise home cooked meals served until 3pm Monday-Friday, and 6pm Saturday.
Overall we were left disappointed by the Crown & Anchor and I think the main reason is the difference between the interior and exterior leaves this place with a confused identity that doesn’t quite make it a cosy traditional pub or alternatively a lively bar. However, just because it’s not our cup of tea, doesn’t mean the Crown & Anchor can’t serve its purpose in the NQ. Indeed, it must have its regulars who enjoy whiling away their time in here as after all, it is still standing strong after 172 years.
Crown & Anchor
Food: Traditional Pub Grub
Related City Centre Establishments: Lola’s Cocktail Bar
Bongo Rating: 4/10