Manchester Bar Reviews

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Circus Tavern December 14, 2006

Filed under: Bar Reviews - C — manchesterbars @ 8:17 pm

Circus TavernCircus Tavern - 86 Portland Street, Manchester, M1 4GX map

  • The Circus Tavern is a hidden gem, if you only have time to visit one real pub in manchester, make this the one. The reasons? Well, firstly it is manchester’s smallest pub, secondly they serve real ale, from real pumps and put it in real pint pots, and thirdly, anyone who is anyone in manchester’s sporting and television history has been in here at some point or another – as the photographs on the wall prove.  There are two tiny rooms inside, a front room with a bar which you actually walk into off the street, it’s that small, and a second room with some seating and tables. This bar is very friendly, not surprising when you consider that if you are drinking in there then you are probably sat on someone’s knee or stood on their toe. Well worth a visit!
  • real ale
  • traditional pub

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7 Responses to “Circus Tavern”

  1. Jaybone Says:

    I was introduced to this pub about 6 months ago and have always found it to be an excellent, warm friendly place for a few drinks without the hassle or blaring music usually associated with city centre Manchester. Sometimes the door is closed – which I took to be a sign that the place is full – so entry isn’t always guaranteed.
    I generally go to The Circus for a few drinks on my way home from work on Fridays. The lovely waitress remembers me every time, knows what I’m drinking and brings it to where I’m sitting. Fantastic!
    Recently I had the pleasure of meeting the landlord George. As usual on a Friday at about 8 o’clock I arrived at the door to The Circus. The door was closed but a couple in front of me had knocked on. The landlord opened the door, welcomed in his ‘spanish friends’ and shouted to the waitress to get them a drink on the house. I hadn’t met the man up to now although I’d seen him around the pub a few times so I introduced myself and asked if it’s ok if I come in for a pint. He shook my hand and I came in and was shown to a seat by the lovely waitress who knew what I was drinking. Unfortunately, as I was waiting for my drink the landlord decided for some unknown reason that he didn’t want me there anymore. I hadn’t done anything to upset anyone as far as I could see and I tried to explain that I do frequent the place, I haven’t just stumbled in from the street. The man didn’t want to hear and simply said “nonononono”. Fair enough, it’s within his rights I guess. But I will forever wonder what the reason could have been for his change of mind. Apparently, the closed door isn’t a sign of full capacity, it means that tonight it’s friends of the landlord only and if your face doesn’t fit then goodbye. A shame that such a great place is so exclusive. I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s perhaps because at 25 I’m too young to fit into the decor (Although in the time I’ve been going I’ve met some great people from 30 to 85 and gotten along famously). This however would be discrimination on the grounds of age which was rendered unlawful by parliament at the end of last year so of course I wouldn’t suggest it for a second.
    I rate this a 6. it would have got a 9 as I really do think it’s a lovely place but if I can’t get inside to drink then it renders the place obsolete to me. I probably won’t be returning but I would recommend this pub to people as a fantastic pub full of life and energy from rugby teams singing heartily to guitarists playing all the old greats! If you like meeting great people and hearing fantastic stories. If you like singing along to an old tune that we all know. If you can get in! Go. It’s great! :D

  2. The Blade Says:

    Really sorry to hear your experience. George is a great fella, but does things his own way. I guess if your face doesn’t fit …. For what it’s worth, this is the best town centre pub in the city, and I never miss the place when I’m in town.

  3. Circus Tavern Says:

    Thsi really is one of the best pubs in Manchester. Small, but big on atmosphere!

  4. Birdy Says:

    Best pub in Manchester ,Landlord George is a Lovely chap full of character and who he does not know aint worth knowing .Vast amounts of celebrities have visited the circus many leaving photos and autographs to be seen adorning most walls .Space is limited and as such George has to be fairly selective as to who he admits ,once inside you recieve full waitress service with good quality real ale etc and more often than not complimentary snacks – crisps nuts etc .A must try pub, once you have visited you will understand.

    • Janet & Glen Says:

      Fantastic pub,,, my boyfriend and I go out of our way to visit this pub, the atmosphere is great, the staff all know you when you walk in, they get seats for you when possible. The crisp snacks are followed my meat & potato pies,,,, where else do you get that!!! We’ve sat and chatted to folk we’ve never met before, and by the time we’re ready to leave we feel we’ve known them a lifetime,,,,, really laid back friendly place,,, and in the winter those log fires are always burning away,, hot toddys and food and a fire,,, like going back in time to my grandparents front room!! The pictured walls are always a talking point, you cant help looking around to see if you recognise anyone. All in all a brilliant pub.

  5. Alison Says:

    As cosy & friendly as my nana’s front room, only smaller!


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