12 pints, 12 pubs: This is officially the best Guinness in Manchester
Spoiler Alert: It’s not 256
Guinness is in. Head down to Friendship, Squirrels, and beyond it seems everyone’s choice of tipple right now is the Irish stout. We thought we’d head out into town to find the best pint of the black stuff in Manchester, so you can get the best bang (Guinness) for your buck.
It’s 4pm and we’re ready to go. As all good Manchester pub crawls should, we started at Friendship and made the most of their happy hour. You know exactly what you’re getting: post-lecture pint drinkers, a few locals and a nasty smell from the toilet. But overall a great pint of Guinness to start us off, especially at just £2.95.
Next up was a trip back to old haunts, with a trip to Squirrel’s. It might look like a bit of an old gym hall, but it’s cheap, cheerful and a 50p game of pool can never be turned down. For £3.60 the Guinness wasn’t too bad and when you add in a baby Guinness for an extra £1.50, there’s little to complain about.
It was time to drink what we knew would be the worst pint of the evening. Despite being the hottest spot in Fallowfield on a Tuesday, 256 really isn’t it for a pint of Guinness. No dome-age, fairly flavourless and D-Block Europe playing in the background at 5pm. I’ll stick to the Cheeky Vimtos next time.
We stopped at the world’s best offy New Zealand Wines to get a bev for the 142. We found a Guinness import Foreign Extra Stout and, at 7.5 per cent, it certainly did the trick. Only £1.89 a bottle and with some chocolatey undertones it’s something I’d give another go.
Our first stop in town was Courtyard, a favourite spot of ours for great cocktails and cheap shots. However, not somewhere to enjoy a Guinness. At £4.50 a pint it was pretty underwhelming, and Courtyard just doesn’t have the same vibe at 6 in the evening compared to 11 at night.
Despite this, our next stop was a highlight of the crawl. Corbiere’s is a dive bar around the back of King Street that’s been about for a while. Whilst it may come in pretty steep at £5.80 a pint, the Guinness was so good we had two. The vibe was immaculate with a CD jukebox, dingy lighting and, the jewel in the crown, a free pizza with a pint before 7.30pm. I was tempted to leave this stop out this article, just to keep it a secret a bit longer.
We then hit our first stumbling block as the next stop was Sinclair’s Oysters Bar, the infamous Manchester United away pub, around the back of the Arndale. However, we couldn’t spot a Guinness tap so headed straight for the next pub we could find: the Sawyers Arms. I can’t say I remember much about this one, or even where it is, and at £5.20 a pint, I won’t be bothering to find out.
The next stop was probably our most anticipated: Mulligans Irish bar. Down a back alley somewhere, we were immediately impressed with the six Guinness taps on display. In fairness, the Guinness was very, very good (just look at it settling) and a must to visit at least once. But the £6.40 price tag was hefty. We’d probably go back as long the guy with the guitar isn’t there again, playing crap covers with his amp turned to 11.
The next two stops go hand in hand; these two pubs have been long established on the Manchester pub scene. The Pevril of the Peak and Briton’s Protection are proper old school boozers with a lively atmosphere and Mancunian accents abound. Both around a fiver a pint which for central isn’t too bad at all. However, the memories may be a little tainted for one of us, being forced into a tacky chun between the two pubs.
The penultimate stop led us to The Garrett, just off Princess Street. It’s two for £5 doubles there so that’s what we got. Sorry Guinness, but at a fiver it’s an offer you can’t refuse. We can recommend a double vodka Red Bull though.
There was only one choice for our final destination. It was never in doubt the night would end up in the legendary 42s. After successfully walking across the road and back in a straight line at the request of a particular eager bouncer, we went straight in for a can of Guinness and a couple of skittle bombs. It was maybe £4 (I don’t know really – the memories are pretty hazy by this point). With 12 pints weighing us down, we sang our hearts out to some indie bangers and probably complained when The 1975 came on.
Our top three spots for the best Guinness in Manchester:
1. The Pevril of the Peak