Visiting the Pubs of Manchester, England

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We tried hard to see a musician I’ve enjoyed who is from Manchester, but we did not succeed. We saw a poster for Mr. Scruff, who plays underground house style music. We followed the advice on his website and made our way to his cafe, called “The Cup,” a few blocks over from the hotel. They were closed, but a man there told us how to get to the club, called The Music Box, and said the show started at 10 pm.

We had some Chinese food and then stopped by a few pubs. At each stop we sampled Manchester’s fine cask conditioned ales, smooth and creamy with a nice head of very small bubbles and deep flavor. One secret we learned from Mark Reid is that these are all relatively low alcohol brews. Timothy Taylors, a favorite, has just 4.1 percent, some have about 3.8. That’s a far cry from the 6+ proofs of most beers for sale in the US.

This also explains why so many Brits get into trouble when they go on holiday in Spain…they are used to being able to slog down five or six of these low-alc brews and then are hit by the 6 percenters and get way, way too drunk.

Many of the streets we walked down were empty, as if we were in the wrong part of town. Others were full of revelers, many gaggles of women out on the town celebrating ‘hen’ or female stag parties. We passed a group of men who were with women with striking blond hair and even more striking short white skirts. Perhaps they were working girls, we weren’t sure.

After we visited a pub full of celebrating karaokers, warbling into mikes, we found a less crowded pub, which like the other featured bright overhead lights. Ugh, hate that. But we hoped that we could find this Music Box, and walked miles and miles in vain. No, it wasn’t going to happen. I’ll just have to settle for my fav Mr. Scruff on CD or on Pandora.