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City Arms, Manchester

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user reviews of the City Arms, Manchester

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

Was here on Sunday afternoon. It was first visit for several years. The pub seemed much smaller than I remember it. But it was better than I recalled too. There are 2 small rooms with a corridor leading outside from the toilets that goes past the rooms. Ales were Brightside The Mancunian, Moorhouses Pride of Pendle, Redwillow Faithless 72, Weetwood Southern Cross, Salamander Jeez Louise, Tickety Brew Double Hop Pale & Bank Top Dark Mild. Unlike my last visit, they now also have a real cider which is seemingly always Old Rosie. Decent place that is tucked far enough off the beaten track to avoid getting too crowded.
blue_scrumpy - 19 Sep 2017 21:08
The City Arms was a near perfect boozer in recent years. Seems to have lost its mojo. Decent beer choice, but has become a dispiriting venue. We live in hope.
berniestaples - 26 Apr 2015 13:08
Almost walked past this GBG-listed and cask marque 200 year-old pub which won Trafford & Hulme CAMRA Branch's Pub Of The Year 2014 (but no discount for members). 8 handpulls for sale - yesterday's offerings included Moorhouses Black Cat, Premier Bitter and Pride of Pendle, Red Willow Seamless, Brightside's The Mancunian and Titanic's White Star and Plum Porter. I had a pint of the porter for £3.60 and very good it was too. Some nice green majolica tiles, green leather bench seats and stained glass. Cider was Symonds Founders Reserve. Another busy pub but easily got a seat. Only my second ever pub in Manchester and two good choices thus far.
paul_d102 - 8 Feb 2015 20:38
Shabby. Surly. Rank beer.
tristramshandy66 - 9 Oct 2014 09:53
Good old fashioned pub in a office blocky part of central Manchester. Friendly welcome and a nice pint of Titanic (?) for 3.50, and not too squashed mid afternoon. Appears to attract serious beer lovers of a certain age, with the odd late lunching office worker thrown in.
Queenslander - 16 Sep 2014 22:55
Had the pleasure of calling here again, this time on a Friday lunchtime for a quick pint. Despite being fairly busy, service was swift and efficient, and there was still room inside to take a seat.
RealAleRobUK - 31 Jul 2014 19:23
This is certainly a proper traditional looking pub. 8 hand pumps, of which only 1 was unavailable. Had a pint of "Black Coral Stout" which was very nice indeed.

Wasn't too busy on my Saturday evening visit, but I imagine would have soon filled up later on.

Would definitely recommend a visit.
RealAleRobUK - 9 Jun 2014 15:19
Made an effort to visit this pub after so many positive reviews. It's certainly what you'd call traditional and unmolested, retaining many original features (dark wood and mirrors). So a small timewarp tavern with a front room and back room, and that's it - which is a good thing! A true drinkers' pub, there was a real buzz about the place on Saturday afternoon, with diverse clientele and plenty of selection on the ale front. I sampled a pint of Hornbeam El Derado (spelling intentional I think) which was crisp and refreshing. I was also lucky to secure the last steak pie, and I was starving so it really hit the spot! The bar staff were busy but knowledgeable and attentive. It's also the sort of place where you could easily strike up conversation with strangers (and I did).
neilldavies - 4 Feb 2014 11:58
Great pub,Great people,Great pint need i say more, will defo be back in for a night soon.
manc123 - 21 Jan 2014 15:32
What you see is what you get. Decent reliable pub. Decent beer. Welcoming to female beer lovers :)
booziechick - 8 Dec 2013 23:27
One of about three decent old school alehouses left in central Manchester. Somewhere that isn't a contrived pseudo alehouse or a drinking barn - a proper pub serving a decent selection of ales.
Snarling_Mallard - 15 Nov 2013 22:01
Popped in this lunchtime, had a Pride of Pendleton (excellent) and the two for £9 burger and chips luchtime special. Hot, tasty and delivered quickly. Attentive staff, good atmosphere. What more do you want?
redmanthinks - 31 Oct 2013 18:24
Very good pub this. Barman full of banter who also knew his ales. Brilliant juke box. Had a good vibe to it
yamyampublover - 27 Oct 2013 20:44
Probably my favourite Manchester pub, great boozer, top draw range of beers, lovely interior, great pub.
Beer_in_the_morning - 24 Oct 2013 13:42
Probably the finest jukebox in manchester. When I visited, there were lots of men of fine standing struggling to stand. A nice, local style boozer in the middle of the city.
saido - 22 Sep 2013 17:42
Try rivet catcher the best thing out of Jarra since the crusade.


ratcatcher - 7 Sep 2013 10:16
Following the warm welcome I received several years ago, this is my favourite Manchester pub.

Tonight we had a couple of older bloked doing JaegerBombs, with the Pendle Pride. After getting a fair proportion of it down their shirts, they annouced it tastes like Benylin.

And then moaned about the prices.

Great booozer - in a huddle of three.
Mappiman - 7 Jul 2013 20:37
Fantastic pub. Great old decor. Top notch range of ales. Easy to get served even when the pub was fairly busy on an evening. Will definitely use again.
Beer_in_the_morning - 5 Feb 2013 00:21
I was going to give a review of this pub but the recent " comments" have put me off somewhat. No reviews - just stupid rantings. Shame - as we actually quite liked the pub.
mcroyal - 2 Jan 2013 13:25
John Bonser correctly observed after leaving BITE that it's full of w***ers.
realalerules1983 - 18 Dec 2012 21:39
...says the person who comments back within a couple of hours.
Dishwad - 17 Dec 2012 12:17
Since when did anyone mention wealth? This website is for reviewing pubs - NOT instigating silly childish quips. I think somebody needs to get a life!
realalerules1983 - 14 Dec 2012 14:16
At least I'm not poor :)
Dishwad - 14 Dec 2012 13:50
Piss off back to your southern cesspit!
realalerules1983 - 14 Dec 2012 12:33
I expected less gobshites
Dishwad - 14 Dec 2012 10:24
As Manchester is in "The North" what did you expect?
realalerules1983 - 8 Dec 2012 12:20
FULL of northerners. Won't be going back.
Dishwad - 7 Dec 2012 15:24
Very pleasant, traditional pub with great decor and leather seats. A great selection of ales. Bar staff friendly and was impressed with the book selection - which you can buy. Highly recommended
ElChuddy - 24 Sep 2012 18:54
Popped in here yesterday for the first time in ages. Still a lovely traditional pub, but prices are getting out of hand. A pint of Phoenix Plum Porter at 4.5% cost 3.40. A lovely ale but too expensive!

My trips here will be sporadic from now on.
nokegthanks - 18 Aug 2012 16:48
Traditional ol-time boozer, jam packed with a good mix of locals, foreigners, students, old timers, the working class, middle class and those with no class. Great pint, although expensive, and well worth checkin out. It's a shame it feels a bit like a tourist attraction though.
macboswell - 21 May 2012 16:20
Should read "cowering as pints"...
Gristy - 24 Jan 2012 18:06
Late review - visited a week before Xmas on a Friday night - couldn't get in the door at first due to overcrowding and then spent an hour either pressed up against the people around us or cowwring a pint were passed over our heads once we managed to squeeze onto a couple of seats.

Excellent ale range and good, if overworked staff. Would like to vist at a quieter time to appreciate the pub itself a bit more.
Gristy - 24 Jan 2012 18:06
Cracking little pub this. Enjoyed far too many mulled wines in here the other night. Completely blotto afterwards on the train home!
realalerules1983 - 17 Dec 2011 20:31
Nice pub and crowd - 8 real ales on - had two of Moorhouses Pendle Blonde Witch which was excellent.
kernott1 - 10 Dec 2011 21:30
What a gem. The most welcoming and cared for pub in town. Worked my may through 8 handpumps and left a wee bit tipsy.
nevillebreville - 24 Nov 2011 00:21
Best selection of ales in a city centre pub in a recent visit to Manchester. Titanic, Pride of Pendle to name a couple. Definitely worth a visit. Food served Monday to Friday with pies only available at the weekend when we caled in.
thehonesttruth - 16 Nov 2011 23:07
Has become a favourite for its excellent choice of changing real ales. Can get a bit crowded at times, but worth persevering with. Decent lunchtime pub food at reasonable prices.
twohalves - 23 Oct 2011 17:26
By far the best real ale pub in the city centre. Greenfields Black Five and Thwaites Nutty Black on tremendous form. We only get into Manchester a few times a year, but always visit the City.
cholmondleywarner - 27 Sep 2011 10:42
this was the last pub of our crawl. 8 real ales on which were ok but not exellent. good feature pub and very small. Seems to be a pub for regulars as the staff only seemed intrested in them. Good all round pub. its definatley a mans pub.
manchesterale2011 - 20 Sep 2011 16:31
Called in here to see if the choice of ale was anymore diverse or not. Yes you've guessed it everyone of the pumps were 'blonde' or 'pale'. O.K. so not many people like dark stouts or porters but it would be nice to have the opportunity to sample them. (I much prefer darker beers than the lighter ones especially in the cold winter months).

Maybe this could be suggested to the management at some point? Overall it is a cracking pub with the small issue of being unadventurous.
realalerules1983 - 1 Sep 2011 13:42
Agree mostly with what realalerules says, however............

The City is a "proper" boozer, unlike the Spoons next door. More importantly, you will rarely find the type of pissed up idiot in the former, whereas in the latter it is a sure bet on occasion. Both pubs do serve some fine ales though.
nokegthanks - 4 Jun 2011 20:37
ok so its a good pub. It is on the expensive side and when you consider that the waterhouse (best wetherspoons in manc by a country mile) is next door and offers supurb value for money this is a no brainer. Still worth a visit though.
realalerules1983 - 4 Jun 2011 16:32
Thoroughly splendid
taketwat - 4 Jun 2011 09:46
This place just gets better and better. Cracking pints of Hooky Gold and EPA last week.
chiselface - 2 May 2011 22:56
top banana (bread beer)
chunderwit - 25 Apr 2011 21:14
best beer in town. tremendous boozer.
christonabike - 2 Apr 2011 15:13
My favourite pub in Manchester. Just a couple of rooms, comfortable but with no special features worth mentioning, but the beer is probably the best in in the city centre; six regularly changing, well kept beers, all from good real ale brewers and the manager (Steve) really cares about the beer. The food is unremarkable; just basic pub food, but you don't go there to eat. It's the perfect city centre alehouse.
Pukon - 27 Mar 2011 23:22
A really nice but basic pub. Good selection of real ales. On saturday food was pretty basic, pies pasties and sausage rolls, but the beer more than made up for that..
g4ugm - 26 Mar 2011 19:35
my perfect pub
estherleicester - 5 Feb 2011 10:05
Easily the best pub in the area and very popular with local office workers. The clientele isn't very varied (at least during the week), it mostly attracts middle aged men but the crowd is generally very welcoming. The range of ales is quite extensive but not very adventurous. Probably the most appealing thing about the place is its layout and decoration, it retains some interesting art-nouveau tiling in the hall at the rear of the bar and an intimate snug with an art deco fireplace.
pub_patron - 24 Nov 2010 09:11
Used to be a regular haunt on the way to Old Trafford and Maine Road/Eastlands. Sadly my team plays lower down these days. However, was up in Manchester this weekend and took the chance to pop in. It's as good as it ever was, great selection of week kept ale, welcoming atmosphere and decent basic food. Yet another reason to hope for promotion!
Alfnoax - 21 Nov 2010 20:07
magical
normannormal - 13 Oct 2010 19:50
Agree with below, proper pub with good ales , good service and good Banter. I would change its name to the Carefree Arms Though.
Henners - 27 Sep 2010 17:09
Brilliant pub. Nice beers including my old favourite Tetley's! Warm pies behind the bar. Sky Sports News in back snug with sound down. Excellent choice of music at sensible levels. Old fashioned lay out.

I would do anything for a local like it in London. It'll be my regular whenever I'm up in the Manchester area. Brilliant.
willesden_seadog - 31 Jul 2010 11:35
Dont laugh but the tetley's cask is usually on great form in here! Always changing the guest ales meaning a great array of choice. They have recently started serving one of my favourite ciders 'Green Goblin'.
realalerules1983 - 20 Jul 2010 11:04
just moved to Manchester and delighted to find this place. Great ales, friendly service. A proper traditional pub. My new local.
rorymacleod - 21 Jun 2010 10:08
A perfect city centre boozer. Ale is always perfect. Welcoming. Friendly staff who know their stuff. Can't beat it.
bobbytambling - 3 Jun 2010 09:18
I really like this pub. Good range of ales, reasonable enough prices, and we found everyone in there to be really friendly - locals and first-timers alike had a bit of banter.

Top class location too, right in the heart of the city.
Northern_Ale_Monkey - 19 May 2010 09:26
A SUPERB PUB!
nokegthanks - 29 Apr 2010 17:55
The previous review I made was put on this pub in error. I have asked for its removal, but thought I should put a coment on until it is removed. Wrong city pub!
gillhalfpint - 9 Apr 2010 18:17
I visited this pub in January while in Manchester for the Winter Ale fest. Someone had suggested it as there were a couple of good Acorn beers on, and I have to say I did enjoy the well kept beers. The pub itself could do with a bit of TLC but the bar area looked pretty new to me so maybe they are in the process of doing it up. It appeared to be a friendly local. We were in seats that one of the regulars uses and there was a walking stick for him there. Long room with a set up at the far end for musicians.
gillhalfpint - 29 Mar 2010 10:42
A fantastic pub with a real home from home atmosphere (a rarity in a city centre pub). Introduced me to bitter drinking (ales are second to none) and lots of good friends
gilliancranswick - 27 Mar 2010 12:07
"When you have lost your inns, drown your empty selves,
for you will have lost the last of England." We won't be losing this one. Marvellous boozer.
johnnyteardrop - 26 Mar 2010 08:58
Can't fault the place. 8 ales, all in great nick. Yes, i did try them all. Excellent bar staff. Great music - especially the Northern Soul. A gem of a pub.
brendanoreilly - 21 Mar 2010 12:23
Lovely little hole with just two rooms and nice friendly atmosphere. Great location for the middle of everything! Nice beers and nice food.
miffy4boys - 28 Feb 2010 14:37
8 handpumps in use in this two room pub. Also has a beer garden. Food not sampled put looked good being served to a party that filled the rear room. Range of breweries on offer though none represented the LocAle sticker on the door.
Leicesterbeer - 3 Nov 2009 21:52
I have to admit to being slightly disappointed by this place. The ale selection was reasonable - there were plenty of guests, but only 2 or 3 more unusual ones sourced from decent microbreweries. It probably didn't help that my visit was at about 9pm on a Friday night - and therefore it was packed, and I didn't see much of the pub (the bar was very small). We managed to find somewhere to perch outside though - nice to see somewhere where pavement drinking is allowed and tables are provided for standing drinkers. The service was friendly enough, but I won't be rushing back.
Sharp - 21 Oct 2009 13:46
One of my favourite pubs in Manchester, although I will admit theres a fairly long list of them. Ive never been let down by the beer here, theres always something interesting on and the service is good. A decent honest pub that hasnt changed much over the years and remains a good place to sink a few pints.

Millay - 7 Oct 2009 16:06
Agree with previous comments.Tasted several excellent beers and a mild.Lovely to find a real pub,right in the heart of the city.
delstefan - 27 Sep 2009 16:24
One of the hidden gems of Manchester though only 100m from the visitor centre. They currently have 6 or 7 guest beers on tap everyday, which regularly change, and not just your usual northern ales like Jennings but ales and ciders from everywhere in the country. The staff are very friendly and most know their stuff. It still looks very "18th century style" when they disappear down the floor hatch behind the bar! You can regularly see CAMRA members doing tasting sessions before they buy. Hardcore! The "upper" room and bar are small but if you can fight your way down the steps to the "lower" room it's quite snug. Yes it is hammered after work on Fridays but only til about 6.30 or 7.00. There's now a small "smoking area" (where I think they used to keep the delivered barrels?) next to the women's loos. The blokes loos have always been tiny and a bit rough but after a couple of pints of Adnams or Shepheard Neame you don't realy care! The Black sheep was especially good last time. It's not as homely as Briton's Protection but for real ale lovers it's definitely one of the best in Manchester city centre
jambon23 - 12 Aug 2009 00:07
lovely, proper city centre boozer. loads of atmosphere, friendly locals, excellent bar staff. excellent range of beers. sadly, all of them tasted slightly of chemicals. was drinking woodforde's wherry in norfolk the previous weekend and the city arms' version was nowhere near as nice. the tetley's and the st edmunds were also a bit iffy.

hopefully it was a one off as i work a fair bit in manchester and will definitely be back in here to try it out again.
porcus_volans - 25 May 2009 10:51
I'd say the City Arms would easily make the top 40 of any list, it's in my top three of Manchester pubs. Their range of well-kept real ales is unmatched.
m_j_t - 7 May 2009 20:10
Nice pub but didnt expect this to be in the top 40 on this site as its not that good, service was good and a mixture of friendly locals made this worth visiting.
superseagulls - 27 Apr 2009 10:20
One of the best city centre pubs which always has good selection of hand pumps. Can get very busy in the couple of hours after work and on a Friday evening. Bar is very small but atmosphere generally convivial and staff efficient so don't usually have to wait too long!
Howellsey - 15 Apr 2009 19:25
i want to apologise to all viewers about my terible swearing on my rating for this pub, i was drunk and disorderly, i hold my hands up when i am wrong, herres a song for verone, albert, albert, hes albert the fifth musketeer.
eddygilroy - 4 Mar 2009 22:06
Brilliant pub, I can't really add much more than those below have put, other than to say that the barmaid who served me was exceptional, despite being busy she still had time to laugh at my jokes. Which frankly, are terrible.
GoneFishing - 4 Mar 2009 10:50
Nice little pub. Very busy on a Saturday evening. Impressive selection of ales and good service.
mtgriffin - 2 Mar 2009 17:33
Excellent little pub, great beer. Very small though so can get busy straight after work.

Best is half day off to work your way through the beers
Saleblu - 26 Feb 2009 11:49
i have been in this pub a few times and was made very welcome
by the staff and managment,there was a wide selction of bitter and cask ales on offer,and a great food menu.It is a realy good pub in a great location,i was impressed to see all the periodic features in this pub in suberb condition.
many thanks to all the staff at the city arms
carl morris
carlmorris2009 - 19 Feb 2009 20:18
8 real ales. All in perfect nick. A hidden gem. Can't fault the place
AlePacino - 17 Feb 2009 22:02
Visited this pub for the first time on Friday evening. Great choice of ales on offer and friendly quick service even though the place was packed with office workers. Had a pint of Arundel - top notch.
Chubbyduck - 8 Feb 2009 20:15
Tetleys, Arundel Sussex Gold, Moorhouses Witch Hunt, Tom Woods Shepherds Delight, HH(gk)Olde Trip, Jennings Cumberland, York Mordic Fury, Thwaites Nutty Black. Nice old bar positioned to left of entrance in smallish front (upper) room, old lead-light windows to street, display barrels above bar, wood floored throughout, incorporating an old brass plaque near door pronouncing Tetleys Festival Ale House. Couple of tables with banquette seating, drinking shelf with high stools opp bar, small tv in corner showing skysports news, dartboard next to this. Walls carry small number of old manc photos & brewing diagrams such as cask taps. Down a couple of steps to larger seating area with leather banquette seating around 3 walls & fireplace at far end, wood tables & stools. After a few pints I found myself imagining a commons-style debate between punters facing each other along the opposite, longer sides of the room, hopefully on important subjects such as football, or beer. A blackboard down here reminds what beers (&abv) are on. Side entrance leads to a victorian tiled corridor, gents, and this lower bar. Good sountrack, Dylan playing as I left. Closed when I last tried coz Sun hrs are 12:00-20:00. Well worth a visit, even if 2.80 is slightly dear up here.
trainman - 4 Feb 2009 10:33
Great little pub tucked slightly away from the madness of a city centre, Real Ale a-plenty! Blackboard on the wall, Hemingway quotes and Dylan on the jukebox.


ToxtethOGrady - 1 Feb 2009 00:02
Small pub with a large selection of real ales, usually 8, all well kept Has been changed a bit over the years but not so much you really notice e.g used to have an old wooden glass rack over the bar. It's often busy in here especially early evening and weekday lunchtimes. The hatch down to the cellar is actually behind the bar so the barstaff have to be careful when a beer's being changed. It's a very friendly pub and one we call in all the time.
ROBCamra - 13 Jan 2009 15:22
Nice backstreet pub just off one of the main drags. Real ales on during our visit last weekend were Batemans XB, Goffs Jouster, Jennings Cumberland Ale, York Nordic Fury, Beartown Bitter, Wallsend Mordue Brown Ale and Oakleaf Hole Hearted.
blue_scrumpy - 19 Dec 2008 20:25
Visited this pub at the weekend. A real unspoilt pub in the heart of Manchester near the town hall. Small with 2 rooms and a great selection of real ales.
argy - 15 Oct 2008 17:58
Most disappointed to find this closed Sunday nt, as was the Vine next door. Recall enjoying a previous visit but review & rating will have to wait.
trainman - 7 Oct 2008 13:02
Beautiful & newly refurbished little back street pub, right in the heart of the city.
Tucked away gem of a boozer, friendly atmosphere, good choice of ales & now the smoking ban is in force a pleasant atmosphere.
a must see if you are visiting the city
gunninm - 16 Jul 2008 11:32
Excellent boozer; always a good range of real ales and a friendly atmosphere and pleasant decor.

The pub itself is on the small side and it doesn't take many patrons to make it crowded. Still, highly recommended.
EFC1878 - 29 Jun 2008 14:03
Friendly two roomed traditional City Centre pub with a fine tiled exterior.

I enjoyed a good pint of Moorhouses Premium Bitter in this cosy pub.

Its best avoided at lunchtimes apparently, when it gets taken over by the office crowd.

Notably, there's a pub also on either side ( The Vine and The Waterhouse ), neither of which I visited, although the Vine looked tempting.

In conclusion, the City Arms is not a must visit pub, but well worth seeking out if in the area
JohnBonser - 7 Apr 2008 17:49
Decent city centre boozer. It always seems to be busy
Beer good, always a few guest ales. Good atmosphere
Scottie_chorlton - 11 Mar 2008 17:59
Good, traditional city centre pub, with well-kept ales.
wobblybob - 18 Dec 2007 23:02
A traditional pub with a very good selection of well kept ales. Gets very busy at times as it's only a small pub.
alexw - 6 Dec 2007 18:55
Certainly not closed & positively thriving on our recent Saturday early evening visit. Cosy layout & decor, 7 wide-ranging & varied ales from Punch Taverns' approved shortlist of regionals & microbreweries. Decent quality too.

An ideal haven away from the horror of weekend Christmas shopping.
young_camra_collectiv - 6 Nov 2007 16:45
Yep - the City Arms is definitely still open and serving an excellent, ever-changing range of real ales in a quiet street of the city centre. Always loved this pub although it did use to get very smoky - obviously that's not the case any more.
NellySays - 28 Oct 2007 17:58
I FIRST WENT INTO THIS PUB WHEN I CAME DOWN FROM SCOTLAND, AND IT WAS OK, EVENTUALLY I WENT THROUGH THE BACK ROOM+SPOKE TO A LAD WITH HIS WIFE+HAD A WE BLETHER, THANK GOD FOR A WE CHAT, THEN WENT TO PUB NEXT DOOR THE VINE INN, WHICH I LIKED OK, IF I EVER GO BACK TO MANCHESTER I WOULD GO BACK TO BOTH THESE PUBS. "STEVIE FAE BONNIE SCOTLAND"
anonymous - 10 Oct 2007 23:34
This pub is not closed and was very much open last night.
fairport79 - 10 Oct 2007 23:27

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