September's Pub of the Month
Bakers Vaults — Market Place, Stockport

Thursday, 20 September 2018

Market Place, Stockport SK1 1ES Map


The Stockport & South Manchester CAMRA Pub of the Month for September is the Bakers Vaults on Stockport Market Place. Margaret O'Brien has paid a visit.

The Bakers has been a well-known name on the local pub scene for many years now and for some considerable time had a reputation as a venue for live music. Just over four years ago Robinsons gave it a major makeover and in July 2014 it reopened with a fresh new look to make it brighter and more welcoming.

Since then it's been run by Luke Morgan and his team who have worked tirelessly to provide a friendly, top-quality pub for people to enjoy. It's certainly worked as the Bakers is frequently bustling with drinkers - no doubt attracted by no fewer than 10 cask ales on handpump. Five of the beers are from the Robinsons range and five are guests - although Titanic Brewery's Plum Porter is a permanent fixture. In addition Weston's Old Rosie cider is also available.

There is also a range of gins - a nod to the pub's history as something of a gin palace dating back as far as 1775. A recently introduced feature is a number of chalkboards that detail some of the pub's history.

Food comprises a small but pleasantly filling menu of gourmet hotdogs and burgers and some delicious fried sides. The battered gherkins and spam fritters are amazing!

In keeping with the pub's long-time reputation as a music venue, local and regional, and top quality, bands are showcased every Sunday from 3-6pm, playing anything from jazz and blues to folk-rock and country.

At the front of the pub, on the market place, is a pop-up beer garden where you can enjoy a drink, a bite to eat and just watch the world go by.

The Bakers really does have something for everyone and appeals to a wide crowd. Join us when we present this award on the evening of Thursday 20 September from 8.00pm. This will also mark the formal start of Stockport Beer Week so a double celebration will on the cards.


The Pub of the Month award is sponsored by Stephensons, a local family firm that has been supplying the local pub and catering trade for over 140 years. Check out their web site by clicking on their logo.

Forthcoming outing

Huddersfield Saturday 3rd November 2018

LocationTime
(pub's approx)
Notes
Depart Manchester Piccadilly10:17Same train to Huddersfield as from Stalybridge
Depart Stockport09:45Parliamentary train to Stalybridge, arrive 10:06
Depart Stalybridge10:30Train to Huddersfield, arrive 10:52
Lord Wilson11:05Weatherspoon's for food, depart ~ 12noon
Star Inn12:15
Rat & Ratchet13:00Home of Rat Brewery
Grove14:15
The Corner15:00Mallinsons Brewery Tap house
Magic Rock Brewery Tap15:30
The Sportsman16:15
King's Head17:00
Felix17:40Senior Pest Controller
Return trains to Stockport via Manchester Piccadilly17:45Times may vary due to timetabling difficulty


The Parliamentary Train — 09:45 - 10:06

Why is this service called "The Parliamentary" train? Do lots of MPs use it? Is it a secret link to Whitehall? No, it is one which is run to avoid the rigmarole of undertaking a public enquiry. Until 20 May 2018 this train travelled in one direction only, you couldn't make a return trip. Now there is a return journey, you will be using it, should you want to traverse the whole route you have to start at Stalybridge at 08:46


Lord Wilson — 11:05 - 12:00

A Wetherspoon house where we will be stopping off for food as none of the other outlets visited advertise food. Chip shops, take aways and other sourses of food will be passed, but not guarenteed, if this is too near breakfast for you.


Star Inn — 12:15 - 13:00

A multi award winning pub which is celebrating 15 years in the Good Beer Guide this year. A very traditional looking pub located just outside the centre of the town. Multi-roomed, this pub has no jukebox, pool table or games machines, just good conversation around the bar. Eleven hand pumps adorn the bar with Pictish Gold and Timothy Taylors Landlord as regulars. Nine guests can usually be seen from both local and national breweries.


Rat & Ratchet — 13:00 - 14:00

A large pub located up the road from the Star Inn and the home of the Rat Brewery. A comprehensive yet sympathetic overhaul of the pub has recently taken place which has managed to maintain its unique character. Packed full of eye catching art and imaginative decoration, the Rat & Ratchet showcases not only its own on site brewed beers but those from other Yorkshire Breweries.

Twelve beers are usually seen on the bar, with three from the onsite Rat Brewery and two from Ossett Brewery. The seven guest beers usually include a porter or a stout.


The Grove — 14:15 - 15:00

A two roomed pub located not far from the ring road, The Grove has an interesting collection of artworks in both rooms, some people would call them a little bizarre but you can make your own mind up when you get there. Huddersfield CAMRA Pub Of The Year in 2015.

There are nineteen cask ales available, four regulars Marble Pint, Oakham Citra, Saltaire Blonde and Thornbridge Jaipur. Five rotating permanent guests from Kirkstall, Hawkshead, Mallinsons, Northern Monk and Marble and ten rotating guests from both local and national breweries.


The Corner (Mallinsons Brewery Tap house) — 15:00 - 15:45

This first floor light, airy modern bar is gaining a reputation for good beers and real ciders after winning both Pub Of The Year and Cider Pub Of The Year from the Huddersfield branch of CAMRA.

Seven beers are to be found on the bar, two from Mallinsons and five rotating guests from both local and national breweries. At least five real ciders are available.


Magic Rock Tap — 15:30 - 16:15

Located in Willow Park Business Centre (Birkby in the Good Beer Guide) where they moved in 2015, the tap is housed in a 1700 sq. ft. open plan area to the far end of the brewery. The brewery is visible through windows from the bar area. There is a small area at the end of the bar selling beers to take away and brewery memorabilia.

Up to five cask ales are to be found showcasing the Magic Rock Brewery.

Food is usually available in the form of food trucks which are located in the yard on your way into the tap.


Sportsman — 16:15 - 17:00

The Sportsman takes the classic boozer and brings it bang up to date. With its beautiful Art Deco interior this 1930s pub has been restored to its former glory. The central bar has a parquet floor and an interesting wooden entrance. It won the 2010 english Heritage Pub Design Award and was also voted Huddersfield CAMRA Pub Of The Year 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2016. It was also Yorkshire Pub Of The Year runner up in 2016.

Eight beers are available, two permanent, one from Mallinsons (varies) and Timothy Taylor Boltmaker. Six regularly rotating guest beers can be seen from both local and national breweries with a porter/stout always available.


King's Head — 17:00 - 17:45


One of two pubs located at either end of the towns train station.

After a refurbishment costing £200.000, the pub has a much more open and airy feel to it after the removal of the low ceilings and carpets, recreating the decorative plaster work and fitting a new bar. Won the Huddersfield CAMRA Pub Of The Year 2014 and 2017.

Ten hand pumps can be seen on the bar. The four regular beers are Bradfield Farmers Blonde, Magic Rock Ringmaster, Timothy Taylor Landlord and timothy Taylor Golden Best. Six rotating guest beers are also to be seen with at least one dark beer and a real cider on hand pull available.

The current beer list is available on their Facebook page and is updated weekly. Gets very busy on Saturdays due to the rail n' ale.


Felix the Station cat! — 17:45 - ????

Huddersfield station is not only known for its TWO pubs actually on the station platforms, but also for its Senior Pest Controller, Felix the cat. Transpennine Express, who run the station, have officially recognised their faithful station moggie, and have even installed her own access point in the passenger barrier (better known as a cat flap to you and me). Sign up to her Facebook page, watch her stroll aloofly around the station or listen to Transpennine Express extolling the virtue of their Senior Pest Controller.


Extra at Stalybridge on return trip?

Click image right for larger image.

 

Return trains to Manchester Piccadilly are very frequent; we will decide on the day which train we will take.

 

Open Huddersfield stagger map in separate window

Pub of the Year 2018

Blue Bell, Levenshulme

170 Barlow Road, Levenshulme, M19 3HF Map


The Stockport & South Manchester CAMRA Pub of the Year for 2018 is the Blue Bell on Barlow Road in Levenshulme, Manchester.

Outside view of the Blue Bell

In recent years the voting for the Stockport & South Manchester Pub of the Year has been nail-bitingly close and this time was no exception with just one vote separating the top two pubs.

The winner is chosen from the Pubs of the Month in the previous year and the 2017 crop was not only very diverse but also included many excellent pubs. Debate was intense but there can only be one winner and this year the top spot is taken by the Blue Bell on Barlow Road in Levenshulme.

An imposing pub tucked away a short walk from the A6 (turn down Cromwell Grove and keep walking) the Blue Bell has been a cask ale outlet for some years now with well-kept Sam Smith's Old Brewery Bitter on handpump. For years it was one of the few oases in the now recovering Levenshulme "beer desert".

Mark and Mary Dunn receiving the award

It is managed by Mark and Mary Dunn (pictured left with their Pub of the Month award), who have worked for Samuel Smiths for well over 20 years now. Not all Sam Smith's pubs sell cask beer and that was the case with the Blue Bell until Mark pushed the company to install cask beer eight years ago.

The Blue Bell's signage

The pub itself is very smart, having undergone one of Sam Smiths classy refurbishments a few years back. On the right is a spacious vault and to the left three additional rooms - a large lounge with parquet wraps itself around the bar counter and off this is a smaller, carpeted lounge and also a small snug. The extensive light oak woodwork gives the pub a warm and cosy feel and it is understandably very popular with a wide range of locals.

What really makes the Blue Bell special though is its special position at the heart of the community with a variety of groups using the pub. Events are held to raise funds for community projects to improve local sites and walkways, there are other regular events, a quiz night, a knitting club and trips out. Local pensioners are particularly well looked after but there's always a warm welcome for everyone from Mark, Mary and their staff.

The award was presented on the evening of Saturday 24 February 2018.

Two Awards for Petersgate Tap

Petersgate Tap - Cider Pub of the Year
Runner-up Pub of the Year

and another two!

Greater Manchester Cider pub of the year
presentation Sunday 5 August 2pm onwards
 
Mild Magic best pint in the branch
Presentation Wednesday 5 September

 

19a St Petersgate, Stockport SK1 1EB Map

Petersgate Tap The very close runner-up in the Pub of the Year voting, and also the clear winner of the Cider Pub of the Year award is the Petersgate Tap on St Petersgate in Stockport town centre.

A most welcome addition to the town centre's real ale scene, Chris Gent and dad Alanthe Petersgate Tap, run by Alan and Chris Gent (pictured right), opened in late September 2016 in the premises of an old betting shop and has been dispensing a wide variety of well-kept beers and ciders ever since.

Set on two floors, downstairs is a modern, minimalist, continental-style room with the bar on the left-hand side and recycled oak-topped tables amongst the seating. A growing display of artwork adds to the atmosphere and a variety of beer magazines is available to browse as you drink. Upstairs is a function room with table seating and comfortable settees which also plays host to a variety of beer and cider tastings, as well as live music nights and other functions.

Six handpumps are on the bar, with Hawkshead's Windermere Pale being the house beer. A further five ever-changing beers from local, regional and national craft breweries are available, with one or two pumps usually reserved for a stout or porter. In addition, there are four keg fonts including one dedicated for Hawkshead Lakeland lager. A loyalty card scheme rewards ten purchased pints with the next free - this applies to both cask and keg beers.

A cider fridge containing three or four ciders and perries on rotation sits alongside an excellent selection of bottled and canned beers from around the world. A wide range of gins and wines is also available.

The two awards were be presented from 2pm on the afternoon of Saturday April 14.

Club of the Year

Wythenshawe Cricket & Sports Club

78 Longley Lane, Northenden, Manchester M22 4JF Map

The Stockport & South Manchester Club of the Year is the Wythenshawe Club on Longley Lane in Northenden.

On entering this very welcoming club you are afforded the choice of the large, well-furnished lounge to the left which opens out on to a delightful veranda overlooking the pitch, while to the right is a further lounge with a seating section at one end, and a more opened-out area where people can gather if TV sport is being viewed.

Both are served by a single central bar with the cask beers being Lees Manchester Pale Ale and two changing guests, the latter often sourced from Greater Manchester or Cheshire micro-brewers. The club has hosted occasional beer festivals in the past, too. At the time of writing the presentation date had not been finalised so look for details in a later issue of Opening Times.

Stagger diary - Work in progress

Many staggers have been updated and there are a few new ones. Thus some links below are still pointing to older accounts BUT ALL ITINERIES ARE CORRECT {just the accompanying text which is amiss!}

Month

Stagger

Date

Start Point
7:30 unless stated

Mid Point
8:30 unless stated

2018

January

Gatley and Cheadle west

19th

Prince of Wales
Gatley Green, SK8 4NF

White Hart
90 High Street, SK8 1PX

February

West Didsbury east

16th

Woodstock Arms
139 Barlow Moor Road, M20 2DY

Wine and Wallop
97 Lapwing Lane, M20 6UR

March

Heaton Moor

16th

Elizabethan
33 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4PB

Plough on the Moor
82 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4NZ

April

Cheadle Hulme centre

20th

Kenilworth
Cheadle Road, SK8 5DX

Church Inn
90 Ravenoak Road, SK8 7EG

May

Stockport North and Portwood

18th

Midway
263 Newbridge Lane, SK1 2NX

Railway
1 Avenue Street, SK1 2BZ

June

Withington

22nd

Orion @ 8pm
8 Burton Road, M20 3ED

Victoria
438 Wilmslow Road, M20 3BW

July

Cale Green and Higher Hillgate

20th

Blossoms
2 Buxton Road, SK2 6NU

Wheatsheaf
205-209 Higher Hillgate, SK1 3RB

August

Levenshulme

17th

Klondyke Club
Burnage Range

Station Hop
815 Stockport Road, M19 3BS

September

Heaton Norris east

21st

Carousel
156 Reddish Road, SK5 7HR

Silver Jubilee
21 Hamilton Square, SK4 1JG

October

Gorton, Hyde Road

19th

Plough
927 Hyde Road, M18 7FB

Royal Oak
114 Cross Lane, M18 8NZ

November

Didsbury south

16th

Didsbury
852 Wilmslow Road, M20 2SG

Crown
770 Wilmslow Road, M20 2DR

December

Stockport Hillgate

21st

Blossoms
2 Buxton Road, SK2 6NU

Sun and Castle
54 Middle Hillgate, SK1 3EH


2019

January

Offerton

18th

Puss in Boots
147 Nangreave Road, SK2 6DG

Finger Post
434 Hempshaw Lane, SK1 4QA

February

Hazel Grove south

22nd

Rising Sun
2 Buxton Road, SK7 6AD

Horse & Jockey
201 London Road, SK7 4HJ

March

Ladybarn and Fallowfield

22nd

Ladybarn Social Club
13 Green Street, M14 6TL

Friendship
353 Wilmslow Road, M14 6XS

April

Cheadle east

19th

Cheshire Line Tavern
Manchester Road, SK8 2NZ

Royal Oak
22 Stockport Road, SK8 2AA

May

Didsbury north

17th

Botanist
1d School Lane, M20 6RD

Station
682 Wilmslow Road, M20 2DN

June

Cheadle Hulme north

21st

P5
47 Station Road, SK8 7AA

Kings Tap
11-13 Station Road, SK8 5AF

July

Chorlton-on-Medlock and University

19th

Ford Madox Brown
Wilmslow Road, M14 5FT

Grafton Arms
27 Grafton Street, M13 9WU

August

Bramhall

16th

Three Bears
Jackson's Lane, SK7 5JH

Shady Oak
Redford Drive, SK7 3PG

September

Stockport Market Place

20th

Bakers Vaults
Market Place, SK1 1ES

Remedy Bar & Brewhouse
10-11 Market Place, SK1 1EW

October

Hazel Grove north

18th

Three Tunnes
194 London Road, SK7 4DQ

Grove Alehouse
145 London Road, SK7 4HH

November

West Didsbury, Burton Road

22nd

George Charles
246 Burton Road, M20 2LW

Folk Café Bar
169-171 Burton Road, M20 2LN

December

Stockport Hillgate

21st

Blossoms
2 Buxton Road, SK2 6NU

Sun and Castle
54 Middle Hillgate, SK1 3EH


2020

January

Edgeley and Shaw Heath

17th

Alexandra
195 Northgate Road, SK3 9NJ

Royal Oak
124 Castle Street, SK3 9AL

February

Northenden

21st

Farmers Arms
26 Longley Lane, M22 4JR

Lounge About
424 Palatine Road, M22 4JT

March

Moss Nook and Heald Green

20th

Tatton Arms
Trenchard Drive, M22 5LZ

Heald Green
Finney Lane, SK8 3QH

April

Great Moor and Heaviley

17th

George & Dragon
14 London Road, SK7 4AH

Travellers Call
351 Buxton Road, SK2 7NL

May

Reddish and Heaton Chapel

22nd

Fir Tree
257 Gorton Road, SK5 6LL

Union
93 Broadstone Road, SK5 7AS

June

Burnage

19th

Farmers Arms
254 Burnage Lane, M19 1EN

Beer Shop
13 Kingsleigh Road, SK4 3QF

July

Stockport south and Underbanks

17th

Nelson Tavern
98 Wellington Road South, SK1 3UH

Petersgate Tap
19a St Petersgate, SK1 1EB

August

East Didsbury and Heaton Mersey

21st

Gateway
882 Wilmslow Road, M20 5PG

Dog & Partridge
687-693 Didsbury Road, SK4 3AG

September

Gatley and Cheadle west

18th

Prince of Wales
Gatley Green, SK8 4NF

White Hart
90 High Street, SK8 1PX

October

West Didsbury east

16th

Woodstock Arms
139 Barlow Moor Road, M20 2DY

Wine and Wallop
97 Lapwing Lane, M20 6UR

November

Heaton Moor

20th

Elizabethan
33 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4PB

Plough on the Moor
82 Heaton Moor Road, SK4 4NZ

December

Stockport Hillgate

18th

Blossoms
2 Buxton Road, SK2 6NU

Sun and Castle
54 Middle Hillgate, SK1 3EH