A handsome brick-and-stone pub overlooking one corner of Stockport’s historic Market Place. It’s a Sam Smith’s pub, and a few years ago was given a refurbishment which actually involved reinstating some internal walls. There’s a central bar with adjoining drinking space and three separate areas radiating off, plus a large lounge on the left-hand side which can double as a function room.
It has served food in the past, but currently is just an archetypal drink and chat pub. Despite this, it’s rarely less than busy, with a good crowd in from lunchtime opening, even on weekdays when there is no market being held and other nearby pubs are deserted or closed. On Saturday afternoons it can be standing room only. It appeals to a mainly more mature clientele and, while welcoming to all, undoubtedly has a down-to-earth traditional pub atmosphere.
As well as well-kept Old Brewery Bitter, there’s an unusually wide range of Sam Smith’s keg beers, including both the light and dark keg milds, which are sold at an exceptionally low price. The cellars are particularly impressive and connect with mysterious tunnels leading under the old town of Stockport.
Its quality as a classic old-school town-centre boozer was recognised when it was, perhaps surprisingly, but entirely deservedly, voted by Stockport & South Manchester CAMRA as their Pub of the Year for 2016.