From its origins as an old stagecoach stop to its time as a favourite of the journalists of the now-defunct Manchester Guardian, The Lower Turk's head has a proud heritage of boozing throughout the centuries in Manchester until its untimely closure. But thanks to a recent renovation, we now have a brand new traditional-style pub on our hands in Manchester - something an ale drinker like me is extremely grateful for!
As you enter you're welcomed by the incredibly reassuring sign of a long wooden bar with several pumps adorning it, and tables perfect for sitting and chatting all night long. Elsewhere on the ground floor is a wide solid wood staircase, fireplaces and either cut tables or great cubby-holes of seating options. Upstairs leads into some innovative spaces, including seating around sturdy guard-rails around the wide staircase. There is also an ‘urban garden’ that will no doubt by heaving come the sunny weather, and is definitely worthy of more of a view than the back of the Arndale Centre. Next door, adjoining the main pub, is Scuttler's Wine Bar. With its mesmerising checkerboard floor and convenient glass holders sprouting from the bar, it's clear that Scuttler's has learnt from the traditional pubs - but has been designed with a more contemporary edge.
Atmosphere and Clientele
Past its ornate tiled front is a friendly kind of atmosphere that can only be created by close drinking sections for heated chats and good beer. Despite its traditional design, The Lower Turk's Head doesn't suffer from the sometimes stuffy atmosphere that can plague some pubs, and always feels fresh and inviting. And its convenient location near to the Printworks and major tram stops make it a suitable stop off for 'just one last drink' as much as a lengthy ale session.
Food and Drink
Sticking to their proud traditions, the drink choices centre around having a wide range of real ale on tap: four constantly changing, and one from each of the proud J.W. Lees and the St.Austell breweries. This was the first time I got to try the famed, million-selling Iron Maiden inspired ‘Trooper’ beer, which unsurprisingly didn’t disappoint. Alongside the varied ale on tap and huge list of Wine options in Scuttlers Wine Bar, both spaces are catered for by some sophicticated pub grub, such as huge slabs of beef and chicken and classic Fish and Chips, as well as some tasty modern options such as Four Bean Burritos and Spicy Meatballs.
Both The Lower Turk's Head and Scuttler's Wine Bar are great additions to the Northern Quarter that offer the great experiences of the classic pub that is sometimes missed in this trendier part of town. Whether you need a new pub for an ale session, or just somewhere for a quick stop-off; The Lower Turk's Head is a welcome return to form from a timeless Manchester classic.