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Cask

Katrina Taylor squeezes in for a drink at Cask

Published on May 29th 2007.


Cask

Cask on the edge of Castlefield is an independent haven round the corner from Deansgate Locks. A mish mash of styles, it is chilled and comfortable, the sort of unpretentious place anyone could fit in. Well almost anyone, those of a generous girth might struggle with the super skinny doors.

Some of the décor has a worn look, the orange padded seats in our booth had definitely seen better days but that might go with the territory. And there are also couches, stools and chairs, so you’ve got options. The rest of the interior sort of teeters on the edge of accident and design, with a tiled and laminate floor, funky down lighters and blue walls.

Anyone could fit-in here, there’s no pretension it’s just easy. As long as you can get through the super skinny doors.

Outside, at the rear, the terrace area is a good place to sit out with a cool drink on a hot day. But it’s hard to miss the ‘caution, razor wire’ sign, nor is looking up to see spirals of the said wire very relaxing or calming. The good news is that the view of this threatening object is obscured by the biggest umbrellas the world has ever seen, the bad news is that these can block out the sun. Although come the smoking ban, they’ll help stop the rain falling on the tobacco addicts. Still Cask needs to think a bit harder about what it’s doing here.

The jukebox is a cracker if you love guitars, one of the best in the city, along with those in the Kings Arms in Saford, Knott Bar down the way on Deansgate, Corbieres and The Temple.

The drinks are the main feature though, especially the impressive choice of hand pulled beers and bottled beers from Belgium and Germany plus a couple of daught ales from these islands. The bar staff are friendly and accommodating and will offer advice about what’s available, which includes bottles such as Chimay Red (£3.30), Karmeliet Tripel (£3.50), Vedett Extra Blond (£3.50), Aventius (£3.80), Schlosser Alt (£3.30), Fruh Kolsh (£3.30) and so on. And hey, they’ve even got alcho-pops, spirits and wines too, something for everyone indeed.

The range of people attracted by Cask’s individuality and unassuming nature covers the younger rather than the older crowd. In the evening it’s a Northern Quarter bar lost on the wrong side of town. And that is its strength. Or its weakness depending on your point of view. And pleasant though it is Cask does seem as though it has to put a bit more effort in, give itself a bit more edge and identity like Common or Odd.

At least you can use the place to enjoy one of the most interesting paradoxes in Manchester drinking. Start off at Cloud 23, up in nearby Beetham Tower, with its smartly dressed punters and obsequious staff, and then finish off the evening at Cask for a blast of informal chit-chat and your own choice in jukebox tunes. Or do it the other way round. That way you can do the extremes of British drinking in a single evening out.

Bar Rating: 11/15
Breakdown: 4/5 Atmosphere
4/5 Drinks
3/5 Decor
Address: Cask
29 Liverpool Road,
Castlefield

City centre
0161 238 4348
Monday – Sunday 12pm-11pm

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