We knew we’d have to visit some of Manchester’s less salubrious boozers on this jaunt and we also knew we’d have to mix them in with some of the more tasteful places just to take the edge off. And lo, it came to pass that on one recent weekend session we decided to throw The City into the mix.
As regular readers will know, we’re partial to a bit of history and love an old school boozer like the next man. Even so, we weren’t quite ready for the ‘delights’ offered by The City. Situated on the way out of town down Oldham Street, The City was originally two separate pubs and has been knocking around for donkey’s years; unfortunately for the modern day drinker, it really, really shows.
A laminated sign on the wall boasts ‘Karaoke – simply the best. All the hits from 50’s to 2005’ and it honestly feels as if The City has forgotten the last decade completely. The usual lagers punctuate the taps (Stella, Carling etc) while a couple of hand pulls seemed of interest but tasted vinegary and badly kept.
Unfortunately the same could be said for the decor. In the ladies are two horribly mismatched sinks seemingly chucked in place with little care or attention, whilst the both female and male facilities needed a serious visit from Kim & Aggie to get them anywhere near up to scratch.
The main bar is long but strangely utilised with inwards facing benches keeping it all uncomfortably intense and although there is a large pool table at the back, this was pushed aside and covered over on our visit, presumably to make way for someone to belt out another 2005 classic later.
Clientele was at the older end of the spectrum but a fair amount of locals and passers by from all walks of life nipped in and out during the time we were there. It certainly seems as if The City does enough business to keep it ticking over but you wonder what will happen when some of the older locals die off.
There’s definitely a place for traditional boozers slap bang in the middle of the NQ but what there isn’t an excuse for is to let said pub become shabby, uninspiring and awkward which is, unfortunately, exactly what The City has done. One ticked off the list but the only way is up from here.
Food: Bar snacks
Drinks: Lager, real ale, wine and spirits
Related City Centre establishments: None
Bongo rating: 2/10