Traditional country pub meets Spinningfields: The Oast House

By Sarah Whalley

I’m a country girl who calls a converted barn home – I know the cosy delights of exposed beams, slate and rustic authenticity, but I didn’t expect to see it among high-rise glass offices and designer shops in Manchester.

The newly opened Oast House is nestled oddly in Spinningfields. A traditional building usually associated with the fields of Kent to dry hops, it certainly brings something different to the area.

Its chances of success are strong as it comes from the Living Ventures family who in recent months opened the Alchemist and Australasia, but this is their first pub.

Managing Director of the company, Tim Bacon, said: We’re offering something unique to the city, and it’s not often you can say that.”

And it certainly lives up to high expectations. It is unpretentious, warm and welcoming, and has a relaxed atmosphere. There are huge wooden tables, perfect for gathering around, and low lighting to set the mood below the corrugated roof. Distressed mirrors and white washed walls make up the country pub ambiance.

OPENING NIGHT: The Oast House attracted a crowd

The menu is deli style, with sharing platters, salads, and meats cooked on the rotisserie and an all-year-round external barbeque. There are locally brewed cask ales, plenty of worldly bottled beers and ciders and a selection of champagnes, wines and spirits. These do not come cheap but the place and variety makes up for it.

Elliott West is the general manager and is really pleased with the results. “It’s a one off, there’s nothing else like it – I love it.

“It’s completely different but it has that versatility and a really credible outside space.”

He explained that it offers a warm and homely atmosphere inside and a great outdoor area for summer drinks, making it a perfect destination for those in the city.

I would have to agree, as Christmas gets closer and the cold nights loom over us, I know I will be snuggling up among the sheepskins with a burger and a cider in this charming establishment, after a long day shopping. And equally I cannot think of many places in this central location that offer such a sizeable beer garden to capture the sunshine in warmer months.

There is a certain novelty to pub, but positively, and the high standards make you want to return again and again. And although it seems like a pop-up, surreal in its location, the theme-park nature of it is taken away by its genuineness. It draws you in and it’s definitely hard to miss!

As I mingled with the partygoers, they all agreed that it was ‘cosy’, ‘Christmassy’ and perfect for after work drinks.

Jennie McAlpine, better known as Fiz from Coronation Street, was in attendance and said the cast of the Street would definitely be popping in from round the corner. “It’s fabulous, definitely gives The Rover’s Return a run for its money!” she giggled.

OAST FAN: Corrie’s Jennie McAlpine

Open Sunday to Wednesday 12pm-12am, Thursday 12pm to 1am and Friday to Saturday 12pm to 2am.

Telephone: 0161 829 3830

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