17 Greater Manchester past and present pubs that gave us our very first pints

The experience of being bought or buying your first alcoholic drink ever is one of many memories that will stay with us forever. The satisfaction of holding your first pint, taking a sip and selecting your favorite brand while the time seems like a distant memory to many or a new chapter for the next generation.

From the staff who served us our debut drink to what was happening in the world at the time and how much you paid, we still hold those memories close to us.

Going back years, some locations may not have been classified as Greater Manchester at the time. While others are now limited to history or just appearing on the scene.

Read more: Greater Manchester school days from days gone by captured in striking old photos

To reminisce, we asked you on Facebook where you had your first alcoholic drink and hundreds of you shared your memories of your old locals. Pubs, both past and present, from all over Greater Manchester were mentioned.

Here are 17 pubs fondly remembered as the locations where some of us drank our first pints. This list is by no means exhaustive and only includes a few pubs and some of them have only limited information. Share more memories of your favorites in the comments section.

1. Tommy Ducks

Tommy Ducks. The landlord pictured with two domestic ducks. May 16, 1984

The Grade II listed Tommy Ducks pub was on East Street opposite the Midland Hotel. Named by Nicola Dugdale, it was bulldozed in the 1990s.

In its place stands a Premier Inn hotel. Many will remember that the ceiling was covered in underwear and that the building had roots dating back to the 1800s.

2. The Midway Hotel

Site of the former Midway pub, Stockport Road, Levenshulme.  2021
Site of the former Midway pub, Stockport Road, Levenshulme

The Midway Hotel was on Stockport Road in Levenshulme. Proposed by Andrew Berry, the closure ended more than a hundred years of history.

During its life it was rebuilt numerous times. In the years since its closure, the building has housed a cash-and-carry and private school.

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Stockport Market was founded in 1260 by Carter.  The stalls line the cobbled streets leading from St Mary's past the covered market.  March 3, 1977

It was a brilliant gala evening when a well-known nightspot reopened.  The Garter, in Wythenshawe, was closed for extensive refurbishment.  September 15, 1981

3. Trafford Weapons

Trafford Arms on Moss Lane, Moss Side in 1912
Trafford Arms on Moss Lane, Moss Side, 1912

The Trafford Arms was located on Upper Moss Lane in Hulme. Reader Alan Butterworth referred to this pub as the place where he had his first pint.

The image above, courtesy of Manchester Local Image Collection, was taken in 1912. It is said to have closed in the 1960s and is now being demolished.

4. The Roach

The Roach Hotel was on Rochdale Road in Bury. Neil Holden said he regularly returned from the military on leave and had many “excellent” nights there.

Where did you have your first ever pint in Greater Manchester? Let us know in the comments below.

5. The Whitworth

The Whitworth pub, Moss Lane East, Manchester.  Dec 21, 1989
The Whitworth pub, Moss Lane East. Dec 21, 1989

The Whitworth was located at Moss Lane East, Rusholme. It closed about ten years ago and was later converted into a cafe, Anchor Coffee House.

The building is now owned by Vinelife Manchester Church. Carl Kukla said this was the first place he had a pint.

6. March Hare

Proposed by Aaron Rea, the March Hare in Ashton-under-Lyne was located on Crowhill Road. It was said to have closed in 2014 and demolished a year later.

In the early 1990s, the Manchester Evening News reported how “little had changed” in the March Hare since it opened in 1960. Its authentic 1960s decor also earned the Ashton pub a place on the Heritage site Pubs of the Campaign for Real Ale.

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7. The Ben Brierley

The Ben Brierley on Kenyon Lane, Moston in 1890
The Ben Brierley on Kenyon Lane, Moston in 1890

The Benjamin Brierley pub was on the corner of Kenyon Lane and Moston Lane. It is named after the local writer and councilor, Benjamin Brierley.

The Grade II listed building still stands in the center of Moston, but the pub has been closed for over a decade. William Sellers, Julie Wood and Linda Shone were among the names of the well-known pub.

8. The Empress

Site of the former Empress pub on Cheetham Hill Road, Cheetham Hill.  2008
Site of the former Empress pub on Cheetham Hill Road, Cheetham Hill

The Empress pub was on Cheetham Hill Road in Cheetham Hill. The building is now tearoom Cha Cha Chai.

The popular pub is said to have been where many drank their first pint. George Holt was one of them and suggested it.

9. Red Lion

MEN readers Freda Hill and Elaine McCarney introduced the Red Lion in Withington. The Grade II listed building, located on Wilmslow Road, is said to be the oldest pub in the area.

On their website they said they offer a “traditional pub atmosphere”. Customers can also enjoy their sheltered beer garden and terraces.

10. The Shakespeare Pub

The Shakespeare pub, Fountain Street, Manchester.  Apr 6, 1981
The Shakespeare pub, Fountain Street. Apr 6, 1981

Located on Fountain Street, the black and white wooden Shakespeare pub, suggested by David Buckley, has an intriguing place in Manchester history. But although the building itself dates back to 1656, it was not put into use in the city until centuries later.

The pub started out in the 17th century as The Shambles pub in Chester. In 1928 it was dismantled, transported 40 miles to Manchester and rebuilt on its current site in the shadow of Lewis’s department store – now the mighty Primark.

11. The Rising Sun

The Rising Sun pub, Queen Street, Manchester, enclosed by new buildings.  July 20, 1983
The Rising Sun pub, Queen Street. July 20, 1983

The Rising Sun is located on Queen Street in central Manchester. Readers Derek Shanks and Hilary Campbell-McLean were among those who suggested the pub as the location where they had their first pint.

On Google it is described as “laid back, photo-lined tavern offering cask ales, local ales, spirits and classic pub food”. The pub is said to have been built in the 1600s.

12. Manchester Weapons

Manchester Arms Pub, Corporation Street, Manchester.  Apr 13, 1974
Manchester Arms Pub, Corporation Street. Apr 13, 1974

The Manchester Arms on Corporation Street was demolished to make way for the planned underground rail plan between Piccadilly and Victoria, although the plan never saw the light of day.

Eddie Roscoe called the pub. It had a history spanning decades.

13. The Circus Tavern

The Circus Tavern, Portland Street, Manchester.  June 17, 1994
The Circus Tavern, Portland Street. June 17, 1994

Andrew Gunnarsson Drew, Lars Laate and John Walsh, located on Portland Street in Manchester, all suggested this unique pub. The Circus building dates back to 1790, but it wasn’t until 1942 that a brewery took over to turn it into a pub.

The Circus Tavern is the ‘smallest bar in Europe’. It is also one of the oldest pubs in the city.

14. The Lantern Inn

The Latern Inn at Wythenshawe in 1971
The Latern Inn at Wythenshawe, 1971

The Lantern Inn in Wythenshawe has since been demolished and has been nominated by MEN reader Terry Haag. The photo above shows the long lost pub in 1971.

15. Little Jack Horners

This pub in Stockport nominated by Damian Stewart was located on Lord Street. Now Baekdu, a Korean barbecue restaurant, is said to have closed its doors in 2017.

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16. The Saw Weapons

Sawyers Arms pub, Deansgate, Manchester.  Apr 6, 1981
Sawyers Arms pub, Deansgate. Apr 6, 1981

Located in Deansgate, The Sawyer’s Arms was the first place reader William Ainsworth and many others bought their first alcoholic drink. He said he bought his first pint there for 17 pence.

It is a short walk from Arndale Centre, The Lowry and Manchester Opera House. On its website, the traditional pub said it is “revered for its eclectic range of real ales and its quality pub food”.

17. The Railway

Landlord Bob Gregory and wife Madeleine celebrate after his century-old Railway Pub on Pottery Lane, Gorton, was named Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale.  March 30, 1990
Landlord Bob Gregory and wife Madeleine celebrate after his century-old Railway Pub on Pottery Lane in Gorton was named Pub of the Year by the Campaign for Real Ale. March 30, 1990

The Railway pub was located on Chapman Street in Gorton and Martin John Carroll said it was the first pub he got his first pint from. It was said to have closed in 2009 and later the building changed use.

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Primary school children eat lunch September 2, 1957. Burtonwood School in Manchester.  Linda Stone, age eight, Jeri Davis age six and Michael Kerklin age eight

Tib Street in Manchester's Northern Quarter.  August 19, 1987, Fish Bar

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