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Orange Tree review

Dave Bishop toasts the departed in one of Altrincham's finest pubs

Published on March 16th 2009.


Orange Tree review

The Orange Tree is a colourful character. There may be stronger orange hues in the Dulux colour range, but I’ve yet to see one.

Every inch of woodwork is bright orange, and, as a slaphead, I half expected some wag to come over and beat me around the bonce before proclaiming, 'You’ve been Tangoed'.

Well I wasn’t Tangoed, but I was bowled over, again, by this pub that stands in Altrincham’s Old Market Place, with its cobbles and stocks.

There are two main prerequisites for qualifying as a good pub. First and foremost, there should be some cask ale, and secondly, the landlord or landlady must be hospitable. Everything else trickles down from that.

Food only comes into the reckoning if it’s decent or excellent value. Otherwise it’s best left to restaurants.

Luckily the Orange Tree scores highly on the big two – there are three cask ales and Diane the landlady is a real darling who enjoys a laugh with customers and staff alike – and it comes up trumps on the food front too.

Tucked away in a vault at the end of the bar, we sat below an illustration of London and Tower Bridge on the salmon-coloured banquettes, aware of the eerie silence.

On our last visit the pub had been filled with the sounds of Manchester indie bands, from James to Starsailor, but the sound system was mute, as though in respect to my late, great cousin. The only sound was the distant buzz from one of the tellies showing an FA Cup quarter final match.

And if there’s a match on, whether football, rugby, cricket, you name it, they’ll show it here. Not because it aspires to be some ghastly sports pub, but because the owners, their kids, and the punters, love sport.

For really special occasions, the upstairs Legends Room, festooned with United and City and Lancashire cricket memorabilia and sporting a giant TV, is opened up.

But elsewhere the TV sport is not intrusive – we were able to avoid watching Chelsea win yet again, concentrating our efforts instead on appreciating the Copper Dragon Golden Pippin bitter (it never ceases to please) and the Navajo bitter (the missus goes for anything with a funny name).

The other regular brew is the Deuchers on draft, and there are some lagers and stouts and a wide selection of interesting bottles.

The food is cooked fresh, but as we’d just come from the funeral buffet at Withington Golf Club, we settled for soup (lovely tomato with roasted peppers), while the kids had bagettes with real chunky chips, which, with the drinks, came to just £22.

There are specials every day and a mix of exotic dishes and traditional staples.

There is no restaurant area, as such, but lots of little rooms and alcoves, such as the one that appears to be a shrine to the old Wilson’s brewery, while in the back there’s a nice meeting room with sofas, tasteful prints on the wall and a cosy fireplace.

Which is pretty much as we left it last time, but since then the Orange Tree has gone crazy in the beer garden with decking everywhere, huge parasols and a Caribbean-style barbecue bar in the corner called The Shak.

On a summer night, I imagine it almost seems like a little bit of Barbados in Trafford, while at the front the Parisian-style tables and chairs amidst the cobbles could inspire you to tip your beret and shake your onions in admiration.

Apparently all this good ale, hospitality, food and ambience have paid off, as Diane and her husband have now been able to acquire another pub – the Bricklayers Arms next to the shopping centre.

We’ve not been there, but I reckon in their hands it could be every bit as good as the Orange Tree.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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DavyMarch 16th 2009.

Did this place used to be called the Neptune once upon a time? I'm sure there used to be a car auction behind it on a Monday night (long before Altrincham became saturated with Ferraris, Footballers, Wags and W***ers...and not a bad pint as I remember!

jaybeeMarch 16th 2009.

Ignorant anon needs to buy a street map of Gtr Manchester. Wonder what slum he/she is from.My only problem with the Tree is that it is filled with Utd fans on match days. Up the Blues.

AnonymousMarch 16th 2009.

Such a South Manchester bias on this site. Where the **** is Altrincham!?

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