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Knott Bar

Dave Bishop seeks out a lovely bar on the fringe of Castlefield

Published on April 17th 2008.


Knott Bar

Category: Bar

It’s not the most scientific way to make an instant judgment on a pub, but it works for me. Walk in. Cock an ear. Suss what’s coming out of the jukebox or the in-house hi-fi.

'On the next table sat a couple of French girls with an English pal – a good sign, surely, Frenchies being a bit fussy in the culinary department, that the food was going to be good too'

If there’s anything playing that can be described as ‘banging’, you can guarantee that the chavtastics, surgically attached to their Stellas, will be in abundance, and an early exit is called for. If there’s anything by Chris De Burgh, Simply Red or Celine Dion, the clientele, a fizzy keg beer and a fetid carvery meal congealing before them, will probably have given up the will to live and may already have died without anyone noticing. Get out quick before a coma ensues.

But go into a place and hear Neil Young’s ‘Alabama’, Elvis Costello’s ‘Pills And Soap’ and Echo And The Bunnymen’s ‘The Cutter’ – as I did at The Knott on Deansgate last weekend - and you can pretty much guarantee a good time ahead.

Because let’s face it, people who like the music of artists such as Neil Young have taste, discernment and class (that would explain why I’ve got seven of his albums, then) and they won’t drink any old rubbish in a rubbish environment.

The Knott, a mere hop away from the old Knott Mill station (now Deansgate station) and snuggling cosily under one of the railway arches, must rank among the top five pubs in the whole of Manchester.

However at first glance, with its huge picture windows and steel doors, the Knott looks a tad uninviting and could even be confused with a big chain theme bar (get thee behind me, Satan). But once inside the illusion melts away to reveal something with real charm, atmosphere and character, especially when the trains rumble overhead, where there’s barely a wall with a right-angle in sight.

With a Primark bag-lugging kid in tow, we struggled to find a spare table for three but were soon helped by the waiter to pull two nicely stressed oak pieces together.

On the next table sat a couple of French girls with an English pal – a good sign, surely, Frenchies being a bit fussy in the culinary department, that the food was going to be good too.

The wall facing the main entrance is festooned with old posters of Manchester concerts, while oceans of leather sofas and chairs beckon punters to slump and sup. But we were tucked around the corner where the art, against the pub’s colour scheme of deep green and red walls, consisted of Francis Bacon-style pictures of waiters.

The most breathtaking image, though, is provided by the black, vaulted ceiling and its ornate chandeliers, imbuing the Knott with a feel that’s more Gallic than Manc.

There’s a continental-style element to the bar, too, with the magnificent Duvel available in bottles and Kriek fruit beer and Krombacher on draught. But the home-grown stuff in much more interesting.

The Knott was once owned by the Marble Beer Company, but is now independent after the main partners parted company. But it still serves up the Ginger Marble bitter and other Marble ales occasionally, so we were duty bound to drink it.

If you’ve never tried Ginger Marble, do it, and soon, because it will take your taste buds to places they’ve never ventured before.

Trouble is, other ales seem somehow insipid by comparison, so we weren’t able to fully appreciate our subsequent pints of Hopsack from the Phoenix Brewery and the Addlestones cider, although both were still very good.

What wasn’t so great was the draught Orval ‘herb’ beer I tried at £3.50 a throw. Don’t bother.Food at The Knott comes from a reassuringly small menu comprising mostly of fancy butties, but there’s a real gem in the chicken and chorizo with sautéed potatoes in a rich, spicy and creamy sauce (£8.50).

Once she sampled its utter wonderfulness – the recipe for which the chef refused to give me as it was a ‘trade secret’ – my wife seemed to lose interest in her own sandwich with fillet steak, red onion confit, horseradish and salad, even though that too was excellent.

So two hours later, sated and seduced by the Knott, we were ready to head back into the shopping maelstrom of Manchester. And should you require some blessed relief from consumer hell next time you’re I town, I couldn’t recommend anywhere more highly.

Rating: 15/20
Breakdown: 4/5 Food
4/5 Drinks
3/5 Decor
4/5 Atmosphere
Address: The Knott,
374 Deangate,
Manchester.
M3 4LY
0161 839 9229.
Food served every day.

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13 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

daveApril 17th 2008.

oops... that would be sea not see.can't type

lauraApril 17th 2008.

shhhhh don't tell everyone about it... doH! too late! love the Knott, have done for years... indeed a haven from the usual deansgate crew, luckily the great music and atmosphere puts the idiots off!

daveApril 17th 2008.

went to the knott years ago & have recentally rediscovered it as an oasis of charm, good beer & fantastic food in a see of deansgate mediocrity. The halloumi sandwich is delicious and the beef burger is easily the best i've had in years - maybe ever.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 6th 2013.

an oasis in a sea?

joannaalApril 17th 2008.

Right, I'll be honest here, not one for city pubs as a rule; lunchtimes in the city are spent either in Yo sushi with my sushi-obsessed teenage daughter, or else drooling and menu hopping in Chinatown; dim sum bound, not very adventurous I know. Sounds like a great place this Knott Bar, I may take my husband there for a birthday 'Burger and Neil Young' fix. Mine's a pint of ginger marble.

RayApril 17th 2008.

Simon, the reviewer is demonstrating what is known as humour, even light-hearted self-deprecation. In contrast, your response does not. Anyway, back to the Knott. It's a great little place, with character not only in terms of décor, but also in atmosphere and in the range of beers it serves. How refreshing to have drinking options other than a line of dreary mass produced lagerslop. This must be, as Laura suggested, part of the weaponry to dissuade the lagerites and poseurs (they can go to Atlas / Deansgate Lock etc). A lovely place that I discovered only 3 months ago. What's best is that it's only 150m from the office!

EmilyApril 17th 2008.

Mmm, ginger beer :o)Love this place!

simonApril 17th 2008.

The reviewer says'Because let’s face it, people who like the music of artists such as Neil Young have taste, discernment and class (that would explain why I’ve got seven of his albums, then)' What a prick. ha ha!

AndyApril 17th 2008.

First pub I ever went to when I moved to Manchester over 5 years ago. It was great then and it still is now. I don't get back there often enough!Would be nice to see a little sprucing up of the furniture, but the beers and the food can't be beaten. Check out "Oz's Epicurian Nights" when the head chef throws the menu out and gets to go to town - the man's a genius. :o)

PenfoldApril 17th 2008.

I love the Knott. The food is always interesting and tasty and as a woman its the sort of place I can comfortably go on my own for a daytime meal/beer/read. The staff are generally friendly and most of them are knowledgeable about the beers. At night i love the mixture of suits,party people and Hulme locals. And youre right about the jukebox, often the making of a good pub.

Ali McGowanApril 17th 2008.

So often a little too quiet and it's never recovered from the awful incarnation as Smart bar [yuck]. The awful green windows don't help!! BUT that's all ok cos it serves great beer and great food!!!! Hopefully this article will attract more people, to give the place the kind of buzz that Cask has. :) Keep up the good work!!

ktfairyApril 17th 2008.

Mmmmmm Ginger Marble - makes your lips all tingly, I'm getting a thirst on!

crazyjohnApril 17th 2008.

I knew about it before it even existed.

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