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    Friday, 25 July 2008

    The First Decent Victim Of The Smoking Ban?

    It's been six years or so since I've drank in Manchester. When I did, I was a pretty desperate ticker so spent most of my time in The Smithfield, The Beer House or The Marble Arch. However on my walks to and fro the pubs from my city centre hotel, I would usually pass The Castle on Oldham Street.

    I was aware of it being a drinkers pub with a good range of Robinsons' beers, and a pretty much perennial entrant in the GBG, but as scooping a Robbos beer was not high on my agenda I never went in. That's a real shame, because for one thing it has an interestingly attractive exterior, and, no doubt, is pretty eclectic inside, and for a second thing I'll not get the chance again. The Castle appears to be the first regular Good Beer Guide entry to close and blame it on the smoking ban. Most of us have opined that decent pubs are coping, if not flourishing in the wake of the ban, but here we have something different.

    I can see that the lack of a rear smoking area is a real issue for a city centre pub which only has a narrow pavement onto the road at the front. There's obviously nothing the brewery or publican can do about location, and unfortunately The Castle may therefore be the first of a few to meet the same predicament.

    The article linked to suggests that today is the final day of its life. If anyone's in Manchester tonight do go in and raise a glass at its passing.


    bob said...

    The big, pricey places are most likely doing better now that many of the "mom and pop" places that people have been going to for years are now closing. They finally got rid of the competition from these annoying competitors.

    The Southport Drinker said...

    Very sorry to hear the Castle has gone. I fear for a lot of pubs like this- very similar situation in Southport with one or two old favourites in danger

    snowbird said...

    A smokeless environment

    I believe that non-smokers, like anyone else, have this right.

    But how far does that right extend?

    Should it take priority over someone else's rights?

    Court houses, publicly owned buildings and anywhere else an
    individual might be forced to go should properly be included in any
    smoking law.
    What should not be included are places located in or on private property,

    providing an individual is not compelled by necessity or law,

    to frequent or work at that specific location.
    Second-hand smoke is not a statistically significant health risk.

    Thomas Laprade

    YCC - Dubbel said...

    I popped in to the Castle during a boozy crawl of Manchester late last year. While the beer was good, the place was a shitsty. They certainly didn't make the best of what they had.

    I would venture to suggest that the smoking ban is a very convenient excuse in this instance.

    John Clarke said...

    The Castle is not a lost pub. The licensee was a tenant of Robinsons, who still own it. Given its important location in the Northern Quarter I guess they will be keen to reopen it soon , with a temporary manager if necessary. I guess they will also want to carry out a much needed refurbishment.

    Tandleman said...

    YCC - I think you may have expressed an "inconvenient truth".

    Tyson said...

    Yes, as John says, I don't think the Castle has gone for good. I expect Robbies to reopen it asap. As a regular,I can tell you that the smokers still got their fill from late night "smoke ins" anyway.

    Gazza Prescott said...

    I was in a few weeks back and the place was it's usual self - full of doleys and assorted other scum and the beer was atrocious (even for Robbies). So, although I like the pub itself, it needs a bloody good refurb to make it somewhere worth going into and then, maybe, some customers who want to do more than smoke and drink cheap beer might go in there.