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Castle Hotel, Manchester

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user reviews of the Castle Hotel, Manchester

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

Very handsome grade II listed pub that wears its 200 years well. Shabby chic, I'd call it.

Great jukebox, quality Sunday papers and tiled front bar area. Nice locals. Robinsons beers in decent condition.

Worth seeking out for some old school drinking.

Visit blogged at
Mappiman - 12 Mar 2018 12:21
Pleasant pub with nice comfy seats. Had the "Trooper" beer which Iron Maiden got involved with making - a lovely pint. Had some good porter on amongst a good choice of beer, mostly Robinsons.
dyyony - 10 Feb 2017 15:14
Visited the Castle a few times, always found it a decent enjoyable little place. Nice to have the full range of Robinson's as well as a selection of other brewers and bottles which you don't always find in Robinsons.

It was nice to find Brooklyn Lager on tap here once, and also Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat in bottle.

Every time I have been here we end up sitting upstairs as there is better seating arrangements.

I've not been when there has been an event on, I can imagine what is normally a cosy little place becomes extremely cramped.

I'll always have fond memories of the times I have been here.
georgefox - 28 Sep 2014 16:19
Not a pub that does its best work mid week afternoons, which is when I popped in. Pretentious, too cool, and pretty well empty, apart from the bar person & her dog. She (the young bar person, not the dog) tore herself away from her lap top to serve me a pint of something called Cumbria Way, 3.30, which was OK. I realise I was not the demographic the pub was aimed at, so drank quickly & scooted.
Queenslander - 6 Sep 2014 23:38
Terrific blend of hipster hangout and traditional local with a back room for events and a splendid array of ales on tap, many of them from Robinson's. Interesting literature with an artistic bent layers the shelves while the atmosphere is convivial. If I lived here, I'd be here all the time.
BoehmBawerk - 15 Nov 2013 18:26
Small old style city pub that serves a variety of decent ales and not just Robinsons. Probably one of the best in Manchester City Centre.
Snarling_Mallard - 18 Aug 2013 18:10
This is a nice pub, not many city centre establishments with character like this. The front area was pretty crowded but there were a few seats in the room behind the bar. Decent selection of ale to choose from, although hard to see the full offering due to the bar being so crowded. Small outdoor seating area to the rear. A proper pub!
RealAleRobUK - 21 Jul 2013 15:14
Traditional pub with a decent sized room at the back behind the bar as well.
alexw - 21 Mar 2013 18:57
First visit since it reopened, glad to say all the old pub character is still there.
Not a real fan of Robbies but the Unicorn was top notch. Well worth the call in.

steviej - 23 Oct 2012 00:43
Visited this pub late Friday afternoon, was impressed with the outstanding selection of fine ales, including a cracking pint of Titanic "White Star". Defo worth a visit.
ElChuddy - 24 Sep 2012 18:58
Legendary boozer - staff were very attentive, toilets immaculate. The atmosphere is great and the music choice on jukebox good. Live music was on out the back room.
Ales - there were 10 on and of course many were Robinsons. I had the Crouch Vale Yakima and it was excellent - will be back - keep up the good work.
kernott1 - 20 May 2012 12:55
Robinsons pub with 7 of their beers on - Elbow, Dark Hatters, Old Tom, Hartleys Cumbria Way, Dizzy Blonde, Unicorn & Black Beauty. Cider was Westons Traditional Scrumpy. Old Tom Ginger & Old Tom Chocolate were also available in bottles. The interior is traditional, but a bit too gloomy for my liking. May be back one day.
blue_scrumpy - 27 Nov 2011 13:39
The Castle used to be a traditional town centre boozer - a bit rough, but cheap and friendly. It's been done up a bit since then, and is a tad more gentrified, although not without some of its former charm. But the prices! £3 a pint for Robinsons is just having a laugh! Go to any of the Holts pubs in Manchester to see what a local brewer should be charging for their beer.
arihall - 11 Jul 2011 18:30
Situated at the top end of Oldham Street, this is one of Manchester's little gems. OK, it's a Robinsons house, so if you're not a fan (like me) it's easy to give it a miss, but it's worth a try.

This long narrow 3 room boozer centre's on its front room bar, immediately behind that is a small snug type room and further down the corridor behind that is a bigger function room (with small stage) The décor is a little esoteric but tasteful & given it's former look is much improved.

As already mentioned, the beers are all Robinsons and I'm not a big fan, even less so @£3 a pint. That said, the Old Tom, Dizzy Blonde & Double Hop were all in good condition.

The young girl serving was pleasant enough but was pre-occupied talking to friends at first. She also spilt my drinks and didn't offer to fill them up, but she did apologise, so I guess that's OK??

I haven't been in since last year so I was somewhat surprised & disappointed to see how tatty it was beginning to look? Flaking paintwork, grubby tables & a general lack of cleanliness throughout.

The latter was further compounded by the toilets. These on my last visit were immaculate, but on this visit (25/6/11) I found the toilet roll holder smashed off, graffiti all over the door & a leaking urinal (with a full mop bucket underneath) OK, it's not the end of the world & I do appreciate this is difficult area for management to control, but it's hardly a good advert & surely some kind of inspection & maintenance regime needs to be implemented.

The clientèle? This appears to have changed from those early pre-refurbishment days, on my visit (Sat PM) it was largely young student types with no sign of the old stalwarts that used to occupy the front room?

To summarise, if you're touring the Northern Quarter, this is worth a visit, even just for the Old Tom. I just hope the drop in standards I noticed is just a blip and not a trend of things to come.

Les Walker
Pub/Beer Critic
(BeerNorthWestUK) - Twitter


lwalker101 - 27 Jun 2011 21:49
Enjoyed the Old Tom and the friendly atmosphere after recent City match - a real gem.
mtaylor40 - 11 Jun 2011 17:48
Great for the range (entire?) of Robinson's beers. Interesting rooms at the rear including one with a stage. The copper topped tables that were here last time I came, are now gone - probably lost the battle with verdigris!
JBGatelad - 13 Mar 2011 13:30
Visited last week for the first time. I like Robinson's beers so no complaints there, both I had were in good condition. The barmaid was a good laugh, as was another bloke at the bar to whom we had a chat. I see this as a good starting point for a crawl taking in some of the excellent pubs in the north of the city.
Northern_Ale_Monkey - 2 Mar 2011 17:19
Good range of beer but I have always found the quality variable, to put it politely. The back room is horribly scruffy - and I am quite a fun of 'penny plain' pubs.
TheGuiltyOne - 26 Jan 2011 12:23
Old Tom has returned.
pub_patron - 12 Nov 2010 10:36
Great that the pub is open again, although its obviously not quite the same place. Prices have increased and Old Tom no longer seems to be available. However, it now opens late each night (1am, I think) without any entry charge.
pub_patron - 25 Feb 2010 19:01
Unchanging - a good thing. Would have been good to round off a Manchester visit with some Old Tom..
meurglys_iv - 13 Dec 2009 11:53
A fairly small pub about two minutes walk from the Crown & Kettle. Main bar at the front, with a smaller room with a piano behind. The clientele were mainly young on my visit and the pub has a slightly 'alternative' atmosphere. The music was good - obscure sixties stuff. The pub was packed but I eventually managed to get a seat.
Six pumps serving Robinson's Unicorn, Hatters, Old Stockport, Dizzy Blonde and Old Tom and Hartley's Cumbria Way. I had a pint of the Cumbria Way and was not impressed. I also had a half of Old Tom which had the diacytol taste and the Dizzy Blonde, which wasn't too bad.
I'll give the pub another go sometime.
holbornboy - 20 Sep 2009 18:01
Called in one Saturday afternoon, the barman was friendly and we tried a non-Robinsons real ale as these taste bland to us. We didn't greatly enjoy what we did have, the place felt quiet despite its location on busy Oldham Street, but looked populated by a few loyal regulars. The front room felt rather drab, and with the uninspiring beer priced at a daft £3 a pint, we headed off for one of the other excellent Northern Quarter boozers.
Roy22 - 17 Aug 2009 19:31
Popped in for first time today to see effect of overhaul, pleasantly surprised to find it still a basic, multi-room, Victorian pub.

As ToxtethOGrady says, the prices are a bit steep, especially compared to Robbies' Stockport pubs, but they do have their full range, including Old Tom, on draught. That and the Unicorn Bitter both well kept.
m_j_t - 1 Aug 2009 17:37
Popped in recently while I was in Manchester. Good to see that the pub still seems to be the same old wonderful drinking establishment. No visible changes other than the back bar remains closed while a new floor (or was it roof ?) is being fitted. The ale I tried (Unicorn and Old Tom) were both in excellent condition. My only gripe was that there was an incredibly loud and foul mouthed individual stood at the bar shouting (and I mean shouting) with another customer not 20 feet away discussing the merits of Manchester City over Manchester United. I cannot understand why bar staff permit such behaviour. It simply drives away custom as it did me.
Grailhunter - 2 Jul 2009 16:12
Great traditional looking pub with all it's original features, the only Robinsons brewed pub left in Manchester, it's good to see it re-opened but the prices have shot up stupidly with it's new trendy overhaul.
ToxtethOGrady - 10 May 2009 17:19
Great traditional looking pub with all it's original features, the only Robinsons brewed pub left in Manchester, it's good to see it re-opened but the prices have shot up stupidly with it's new trendy overhaul.
ToxtethOGrady - 10 May 2009 17:19
Called in yesterday and it's great to see the pub open again. Ale was tip-top. Well worth a visit.
wobblybob - 10 May 2009 14:11
I was expecting a quiet 'old mans' pub, what I got on a Friday night was a small, vibrant, though pleasingly scruffy city centre boozer. The clientèle were a mix of trendy young things and locals. The beer was ok, a decent range of Robinsons and Cumbria way as a guest. Great to see the new owners rescue a good pub, that's not a chain and not too sanitized. The room with the piano is still there (smells of damp) the other back room is being worked on I believe.
Scottie_chorlton - 8 May 2009 12:50
Been done up since my last visit and Rupert Hill aka Jamie in corrie is new landlord i believe, he was certainly behind the bar. Not what it was in scruffyness but ignore that and still an excellent pub with the same good range of Robbies beers, worth a visit
redmike - 1 May 2009 19:21
Popped in last week for a bottle of old tom choc beer the overall beer selection was ok but thats all it had going for it, place needs a make over inside and out
superseagulls - 27 Apr 2009 10:31
Well, popped into the new Castle and I'm pleased to report that the important stuff is generally the same- same beer range, all Robbie's range and Hartley's Cumbria Way- I tried the latter and it was excellent. The layout has not been meddled with- small front bar, and cosy traditional parlour room behind it with dimpled copper tables. Same etched glass on the doors and tiled frontage- all good. The games room at the end of the corridor at the back is still shut but a sign promises that it will reopen.

There is a different feeling though, a definite attempt to 'gentrify'- although to be fair this has generally been done unobtrusively-candles and flowers on the tables, slightly loud piped music- but not bad music mind. The staff and clientele- well, the 2 other punters in when I was- were young and it didn't feel like a regulars haunt anymore. Then again this is a weekday afternoon, so that could change.

Generally still an excellent pub and it's great that its reopened, but I would advise caution with the creeping modernisation- it just isn't 'Castle'!
Carlurmston - 23 Apr 2009 12:47
Cant rate yet - wasnt open at 12.30 on a saturday afternoon - poor show there boys , as you had 4 thirsty blokes waiting to spend some cash

will try again in a couple of weeks
Saleblu - 14 Apr 2009 11:12 2/4/9! Not even had a drink today!
mandylou - 3 Apr 2009 16:57
Re-opened 3/4/9. Going Saturday night to check it out, already had a spy in Thurs who said beer was excellent.
mandylou - 3 Apr 2009 16:56
Apparently re-opening early April... not too much will have changed hopefully (apart from the bogs!)
manc72 - 31 Mar 2009 13:00
Looked inside, looks adandoned, come on Robbies lets get this pub open
brisk - 3 Dec 2008 13:27
Still closed.
BUFFETBORE - 19 Nov 2008 16:07
Yes, the previous comment is correct - pub is "closed until further notice". It is hoped that Robinsons will endeavour to re-open it ( after giving the toilets a good clean, preferably !)

It was their only Manchester city centre pub - I would hope they would therefore want to retain a presence in the city
JohnBonser - 21 Aug 2008 12:55
Passed today and there is a sign in the window saying 'closed until further notice'. There are half full glasses still on the tables. Hope this works out.
f1_mw - 28 Jul 2008 16:12
Superb little pub, very friendly and as said below a bit tatty but not without charm - sums it up well.
Back room is like an old Aunties cluttered living room, but that's not such a bad thing perhaps? this place could be anywhere which is good.
ToxtethOGrady - 21 May 2008 00:13
Always a friendly welcome in the traditional boozer, and a great range of well-kept Robbies ales.
wobblybob - 29 Apr 2008 23:11
Good, old fashioned city centre boozer with many original features and plenty of character in the cosy front bar. Good range of ales, nicely kept (to be honest I didn't have one bad pint on my Manchester crawl!!). A must visit pub on a crawl of the Northern quarter.
tarkatherotter - 7 Apr 2008 22:07
A bit tatty, although not without charm...
greatzini - 28 Feb 2008 00:01
Traditional Robinsons pub not far from Piccadilly Gardens in the City Centre. Note the fine tiled exterior and the old mosaic floor. The full range of Robinsons ( and Hartleys ) bers are served - remember to treat the Old Tom with respect.

There is a large games room to the rear.

There are a good number of pubs within short walking distance of Piccadilly Gardens that are well worth visiting - see my other postings if you want some help in finding them !

JohnBonser - 27 Nov 2007 17:08
Go for the beer, I counted 11 pumps housing a comprehensive range of Robinsons' beers. But for God's sake don't wander further than the front bar. The rear of the pub is just filthy & the toilets should be condemned.

Exclusively male clientele were rough & ready. The Old Tom was lovely though...
young_camra_collectiv - 6 Nov 2007 16:53
Looks nothing from the outside, and on first glance you might think the same inside (until you see the 9 handpumps serving the full range of the Robinson's ales from nearby Stockport). An increasingly rare example of an old fashioned city boozer, but any real ale drinker will find the five-minute walk from Piccadilly Gardens worthwhile.
rpadam - 6 Oct 2007 00:09
"i have twice watched older chaps widdling themselves and falling over here"

OK, I can understand you seeing it happen once prestwichman, but twice? Don't make it a spectator sport fellah, or else you might get yourself arrested or, even more embarrassing, beaten up in between strokes.

Not a bad old Manchester pub.
cohenst - 12 Sep 2007 04:19
Try drinking here,when theres a retro punk combo playing on a sunday afternoon...kiss goodbye to all this pubs many good points!
EdgarBriggsMI5 - 2 Aug 2007 01:34
If you like trendy stand up bars and alcopops STAY AWAY from this place!

If, however, you prefer old fashioned pubs with people who will have a conversation with you on any topic as you savour any one of nine real ales, then this is the place to go!
anonymous - 2 Jun 2007 13:50
Unchanged Robinson's pub with the whole range of their beers on offer. The snug is really cosy and good for a winter's day session, and the beer quality is very good indeed.
fairport79 - 16 Feb 2007 00:29
great little pub, especially the back room near the pool table....i can be found in there before man city's home games
citylou07 - 3 Jan 2007 17:02
a great little pub ,the landlady is a real diamond.
TONYM29 - 1 Jan 2007 17:45
Gem of a pub. Been going for years on my frequent trips to Manchester and always the same faces in. The landlord looks like the actor Stratford Johns. Beer really good, everyone friendly, you always get into a conversation if you stand at the bar. It's a great traditional pub without TRYING to be, which makes all the difference.
GeorgeXXIII - 13 Nov 2006 18:22
I love this pub. Yes, it's a bit dated inside and slightly grotty, but the atmosphere is top notch, bar staff are very friendly, good variety of drinks and a smashing landlady too. A nice, cosy place to have a few drinks with friends in the winter.
Tequila_Kitty - 12 Jul 2006 17:19
decent beer
friendly staff
small and dingy but I'd prefer to describe it as "cosy and traditional"
Loved the fact we had to ring the doorbell for them to let us in!
Ste1234 - 1 May 2006 22:20
OK it’s a bit shabby but the fact that nothing seems to have changed in this pub for a number of years adds something to the charm. Run by an old style landlady with a rod of iron, so don’t ask for a pint of Old Tom or you are likely to be thrown out. There’s a full range of Robinsons beers and the bar is packed with knick knacks, souvenirs and brewerania. Despite the failings of the toilets it is a breath of fresh air in these days of Wetherspoons, Yates’s and the like. If you like good beer and have fond memories of what pubs used to be like, pay a visit to the Castle.

Millay - 22 Apr 2006 18:30
Very grotty, but with a friendly charm and a good range of beers. (Full Robinsons range)
bensonby - 7 Feb 2006 01:01
Dirty and smelly with truly horrible toilets, i have twice watched older chaps widdling themselves and falling over here. Looks dodgy from the outside. Also stocks the entire range of Robinsons beers in tip top condition. Friendly, as well.I quite like it.
prestwichchap - 2 Nov 2005 10:19

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