The Oldest Pubs in Manchester – A Pub Crawl Through Time

If you’re a lover of all things historic and fancy a proper pint in some of the oldest pubs in Manchester, you’re in luck, because there are some great ones to choose from!

As a proud Manc, born and raised, I’ve spent a significant part of my life in some of these old boozers, and I find it a real shame that visitors to the city tend to veer towards trendy cocktail bars and bougie nightclubs rather than discovering Manchester’s best pubs.

So, come with me for a cheeky pub crawl, where we’ll uncover the stories behind Manchester’s oldest pubs, where time seems to stand still, and every corner holds the promise of discovering a gem among the city’s venerable drinking establishments.

Are you ready?

Then let’s get into it.

The Oldest Pubs in Manchester – A Pub Crawl Through Time

1. The Briton’s Protection

The Briton’s Protection is a time-honoured sanctuary for those seeking a quintessential pub experience.

Established in 1806, this iconic pub is revered as one of Manchester’s oldest and most historically significant establishments.

Initially serving as a meeting place for intellectuals and writers, the pub has witnessed the ebb and flow of time while retaining its cultural significance. Today, it stands as a living monument to Manchester’s intellectual and social history.

The Briton’s Protection is a Grade II listed public house that exudes an old-world charm, with classic wood furnishings, a terrazzo-tiled corridor floor, red and gold moulded ceiling, and a lovely fireplace.

There’s also a beer garden on the roof for those rare sunny days in Manchester!

Be sure to explore their extensive whisky collection (they have 360 different kinds!), or try a pint of cask ale instead.

You can find The Briton’s Protection at 50 Great Bridgewater St, near Bridgewater Hall.

the briton's protection manchester
Inside The Briton’s Protection
IMG: Bob Harvey, Wikimedia Commons

2. The Mitre Hotel

Situated in the heart of Manchester’s city centre, The Mitre Hotel stands as a living testament to the city’s rich pub heritage.

Established in 1815, this historic pub boasts an impressive lineage, making it one of the oldest watering holes in Manchester.

The Mitre Hotel’s history is as diverse and intriguing as the city itself. Dating back to its founding year, the pub has weathered the tides of time, witnessing Manchester’s evolution while preserving its unique character.

With its modernised yet cosy interiors (think rich colours and wood panelling), The Mitre is a wonderful place to spend an evening, especially if you head there for the live music every Friday!

You can find The Mitre Hotel at 1-3 Cathedral Gates.

the mitre hotel manchester
The Mitre Hotel
IMG: N Chadwick, Wikimedia Commons

3. Sinclair’s Oyster Bar

With roots back to 1720, this iconic pub has earned its place among Manchester’s oldest and most cherished establishments.

Going back to its origins, Sinclair’s Oyster Bar has witnessed the evolution of Manchester, and its history is fascinating.

When the 1996 IRA bombing spurned new city centre development, Sinclair’s was moved 300 metres, brick by brick to sit on Exchange Square, where it remains today.

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Boasting a massive beer garden and the cheapest drinks in town, you’ll usually find me here on a hot sunny day (as well as half of Manchester!).

However, if your visit is in the colder months, you’re in for an even better treat, as the interior of Sinclair’s is utterly charming, with traditional décor and lots of tiny rooms, cosy nooks, and inviting corners to hide away in.

One unique aspect of Sinclair’s Oyster Bar is the decision to ban all electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablets – seriously, if they catch you using your phone, you’ll be told off!

You can find Sinclair’s Oyster Bar at 2 Cathedral Gates.

sinclairs oyster bar manchester
Sinclair’s Oyster Bar (R) with The Old Wellington behind it
IMG: David Dixon on Wikimedia Commons

4. Peveril of the Peak

With its striking green tiled exterior and stained glass windows, The Peveril of the Peak is an iconic Manchester landmark, and being a registered public house since 1830, it’s also one of the oldest pubs in Manchester!

The last building standing in a row of terraces, ‘The Pev’ (as it’s affectionately known), has shed its original surroundings and stands alone on a triangular island, surrounded by towering office and apartment blocks.

Awarded Grade II listed status in 1988, The Peveril of the Peak stands as a testament to resisting the winds of change in the city centre, and it has a seriously colourful history.

Amid the Second World War, The Pev had a stint as a brothel for GIs, but was turned back into a boozer in the 70s when it was taken over by Nancy Swanick, who celebrated 50 years behind the bar back in 2021, when she was 91 years old!

Rumour also has it that The Pev has a resident ghost. Punters have reported pint glasses defying gravity and the friendly ghost giving a helpful kick to those who’ve had a bit too much to drink. All in good spirits, of course (pun fully intended).

Fun fact: The Peveril of the Peak is home to an antique table-football table, which was brought into the pub in 1955 and is said to be the oldest continually used example!

You can find The Peveril of the Peak on 127 Great Bridgewater Street.

peveril of the peak manchester

5. The Oxnoble

When I lived in central Manchester, The Oxnoble was about 100m from my apartment, and although I prefer the likes of Sinclair’s Oyster Bar, The Oxnoble is still a good place to get a pint and some pub grub.

Believed to have been built in 1804, this popular Castlefield pub has is has a modern country interior, with green wood panelling, exposed brick, and a large fireplace.

The drinks menu boasts a variety of drinks, including real ales, flavoured gins, and original cocktails.

You can find The Oxnoble at 71 Liverpool Road.

6. The Old Wellington

Dating back to the 16th Century, The Old Wellington is the oldest pub in Manchester, housing patrons since the Tudor era!

Built all the way back in 1552, it’s been around for a LONG time, although it wasn’t actually a pub until 1830. Before then, it was a house, part of a draper’s shop, and the home of the Byrom family.

Anyway, even if it hasn’t always been a pub, the Tudor-style architecture, complete with low ceilings and exposed beams, still transports you to an era long before smartphones and skyscrapers.

The Old Wellington’s food menu features hearty pies and succulent roasts alongside a curated selection of ales that pay homage to Manchester’s brewing heritage.

Wandering through the pub, you’ll find artefacts and memorabilia that add an extra layer to the historical ambience. From vintage brewing equipment to antique pub signage, every corner tells a story.

Like Sinclair’s Oyster Bar, The Old Wellington was also moved from its original location in the late 1990s. It’s now conveniently located right next to Sinclair’s Oyster Bar, making a visit to both almost mandatory!

You can find The Old Wellington at 4 Cathedral Gates.

the old wellington manchester
The Old Wellington
IMG: Peter McDermott, Wikimedia Commons

7. The Castle Hotel

Situated in the heart of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, The Castle Hotel stands out with its glossy brown tiles and old-world charm.

The Castle Hotel has a history dating all the way back to 1776, and while it’s had many different names, it’s always been a pub, and it’s best known for its real ales.

The interior has been restored according to what an old Victorian pub would have looked like back in the day, with stained glass doors, patterned ceilings, fixed seats, and a beautiful ceramic bar.

There’s also a room in the back for live music performances, which is pretty cool.

The Castle Hotel is one of those places I revisit every couple of years, and it’s not changed a bit since I first discovered it almost 15 years ago.

You can find The Castle at 66 Oldham St.

8. The Sawyer’s Arms

This Irish pub in a Grade II listed building on Deansgate has been used as a pub since the 1700s, getting its official license in 1730!

Inside is a refurbishment of the original décor, with plenty of dark wood, chandeliers, and a large grand staircase.

The Sawyer’s Arms has a wide selection of real ales, hearty pub grub, and is a popular place to watch live sports.

You can find The Sawyer’s Arms at 138 Deansgate.

sawyers arms
The Sawyer’s Arms
IMG: Tim Green on Wikimedia Commons

9. The Lower Turk’s Head

Established in 1745, the Lower Turk’s Head is a distinctive pub steeped in historical significance, heritage, and a vibrant community ethos.

Its character is defined by three intricately carved solid wood bars, classic checkerboard flooring, panelled walls, pew seating, and a selection of locally-brewed beers.

With a glossy tile façade, and an interior filled with cosy nooks and crannies, The Lower Turk’s Head has everything you want from an old pub.

It proudly offers 30 keg taps and 12 cask pumps, including Joseph Holt Bitter, IPA, Chorlton Pale Ale, Two Hoots, and Mild, all brewed less than a mile away.

Lastly, there’s a heated outdoor terrace adorned with vibrant, locally crafted artwork that pays homage to the pub’s rich Northern Soul legacy.

You can find The Lower Turk’s Head at 36 Shudehill.

lower turks head manchester
The Lower Turk’s Head
IMG: David Dixon, Wikimedia Commons

The Oldest Pubs in Manchester | Final Thoughts

And there you have it – an exploration of Manchester’s oldest pubs!

Whether you’re a seasoned local or a first-time visitor, I hope that this post has been helpful, and that you learned something new about the historic pubs in Manchester!

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask them in the comments section below!

Further reading:

If you liked this post about the oldest pubs in Manchester, you may also find the following posts interesting:

33 Reasons to Visit Manchester

Best Things to Do in Chorlton, Manchester

Best Restaurants in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

12 Iconic Day Trips from Manchester

The Fountain House Review

The Cosy Club Review

Until next time,


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1 thought on “The Oldest Pubs in Manchester – A Pub Crawl Through Time”

  1. Wow, this took me back a bit, especially the Sawyers Arms which I last visited more than forty years ago – great memories. Thank you 🙂

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