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Pub Visit - England

Tuesday 19th January 2016

Bob Thompson

Grocers1This micropub is likely to be one of many to open in the Greater Manchester conurbation. It served its first beer on Saturday 14th March 2015, so was less than a year old when we visited. It is the work of Martin Shallcross, a CAMRA member, who we met that evening, but only just.

We were in a small party guided by Mike, who knew Martin. Whilst we were waiting on Deansgate station for a train to Irlam, Mike decided to contact him and discovered that the pub was actually closed! Martin thought that, as this was the week of the Manchester Beer Festival his trade would be down so he’d shut up shop for week. This was quite understandable as he hadn’t had any time off since opening the pub.

However it wasn’t as bleak as it could have been as he was on the premises doing some maintenance work and said he would open especially for us. He said there was no draught beer but he could offer us cider. This was accepted and we caught the train to Irlam. From there most of the party walked to the pub, around ten minutes away. I caught the bus; what’s the point of a bus pass if you don’t use it?

Grocers2I must say that it looked very welcoming as I approached from the bus stop. The location is unusual as the Grocers is to be found next to an existing pub, the Plough. I looked it up on CAMRA’s What Pub? Website and discovered that it sold only keg beer until it introduced a cask ale in December 2015, just a month before our visit. Is this a case where a micropub’s popularity has caused a neighbour to alter its policy? It would be nice to think that this was the case here. And of course, the effect means we gain another real ale pub.

Inside, it is a small room so typical of micropubs. The furniture is wooden with the tables having varnished hard wood tops. Seating is available for around twenty patrons. The walls are a light cream colour and there are some interesting displays including the roll blind of a bus coming from Manchester to this area with several local destinations. Also old posters promoting bus travel to local attractions.

Grocers3The pub is an old greengrocers, hence the name. There is no bar and customers are served at their seats with Martin having to get each beer (or, in this case, cider) from the cool room.

There are normally three different beers, resourced from around the north-west, on offer along with three ciders / perries. There were two on the blackboard and Martin added another while we were there.

They were: Newton Court (Leominster, Herefordshire) Perry (5.3%) and Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, South Wales) Happy Daze Cider (4.5%).

Unfortunately I forgot to record what additional cider was. There is a selection of wine and packaged snacks.

After we had been in the pub for a while we were joined by Peter Nuttall, who lives near Oldham. He is a friend of Mike and told us of his plan to open his own micropub. Not however in the Greater Manchester area but in the West Midlands at Kidderminster. He already has planning permission and licence and was waiting on the signing of the lease with a very tentative opening date in April. I will visit as soon as practical after that and provide a report for BeerVisits.

Despite the lack of beer this was a pleasurable visit and the pub is recommended if you are in the Greater Manchester area.

Important Information:

The Grocers, 152A Liverpool Road, Cadishead M44 5DD. Tel: 07950 522468

Hours: Monday Closed; Tuesday-Thursday 17.00-22.00; Friday 17.00-22.30;
Saturday 12.00-23.00; Sunday 12.00-21.00

The pub is less than five minutes walk away from a bus stop which is served by routes 67 and 100. The stop is Liverpool Road/Coach & Horses. The 67 starts at Manchester Shudehill Bus Station and runs to Cadishead via Salford Crescent, Eccles (Interchange with tram) and Irlam station. It operates on Monday to Saturday every 15 minutes until around 19.00, then every 30 minutes thereafter.

The 100 route follows a broadly similar route but diverts to serve the Trafford Centre Shopping Mall and continues from Cadishead to Warrington. Monday to Friday it every 30 minutes until 21.00, hourly thereafter. On Saturdays its every 30 minutes until 19.00, then hourly. On Sundays it is hourly throughout the day.

The pub is around a ten minute walk from Irlam Station which is on the line from Manchester Oxford Road to Warrington Central. Mondays to Fridays and Sundays they are hourly and on Saturdays every half hour. Nearly all of them are operated by Northern Rail.