Monday, 5 March 2012

Me and my Spoons

 Or rather my kids and their Spoons. We've recently been in Manchester. Much of it spent in Wetherspoons. Mostly to feed the boys without ripping a gigantic hole in my wallet.

We tried three of the four city centre Wetherspoons. They were surprisingly diverse. In beer selection, atmosphere and service. The beer quality was good in two. *

Paramount was top for me. My hand twitched involuntarily as I cruised along the bar and spotted a DIPA, a 6.5% Porter and stuff that reminded me how poorly I've been keeping track of of Britain's brewery explosion. I should have stuck with the Porter. For, well, ever. Totally my kind of beer. And in proper condition. I liked it so much, I went back again just to have another pint.

The kids preferred the Moon Under Water. Mostly because the wifi was better, but also because it's roomier. And I have to say that the service was top class. Very friendly staff who clearly enjoyed their work. The beer selection wasn't as wide or interesting, but all the ones me and Dolores tried were in good condition. And we got stroll arm in arm down Speicher Straße** with pints of Kingsdown Ale. Not that I particularly want to remember Swindon. I've spent much of the last 20 years trying to erase all trace of it from my mind.

The poshest looking Wetherspoons, the Waterhouse, was disappointing. Tables too close together, rubbish wifi and an undrinkable pint. The staff weren't that nice, either. We left within 10 minutes.

Comparing the Paramount with the Port Street beer House - reckoned to be one of the best beer pubs in town - was revealing. I preferred the beer in the Paramount. And not just because it was half the price.

Where would we be without Spoons? Trying to eat soup with a knife and fork.

* I only had one pint in the other, so it could just have been one duff beer. I should say that I ordered a single pint. I couldn't drink it all, it was so revolting.
** How Google Translate interpreted Memory Street.


Steve Lamond said...

Didn't get to any of those but had a few good pints in the eponymous Wetherspoons on my last visit. Aside from the manager getting awkward with someone asking where to leave their bike service and beer were good.

Matt said...

I've drunk Elland 1872 Porter in the Paramount, it's very drinkable as you say.

It's obviously different if you've got kids with you who need WiFi and feeding but if you just want a decent, cheap pint in a friendly and attractive pub there's no need to go in any Wetherspoons in Manchester. The Paramount is probably the pubbiest but the Moon Under Water's too big, the Waterhouse always reminds me of a gentleman's club and the one on Piccadilly is just a home for geriatric alcoholics.

I actually quite like Port Street and their beer, even if they do charge what are known locally as "London prices". But for a proper pub atmosphere, I'd recommend the Hare and Hounds" on Shudehill next time you're here.

Bailey said...

That's the problem with any conversation that turns to "I do/don't like Wetherspoons" -- despite being a chain, they operate in lots of different contexts, and there are as many types of JDW as there are any other type of pub. Very hard to generalise.

Matt said...

I accept that there are different types of Wetherspoons but not what Bailey says about "there are as many types of JDW as there are any other type of pub. Very hard to generalise."

They don't do cosy, Victorian pubs or basic estate boozers, to give just two examples. It's pretty easy to generalise actually as most - not all - are soulless barns that have been coverted from cinemas, snooker rooms or dance halls.

Ron Pattinson said...

Matt, my kids liked the space in the Moon Under Water. Different priorities.

marquis said...

Matt, the Trent Bridge Inn in Nottingham is worth a visit.