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The Lass O’Gowrie

Dave Bishop appreciates a lovely lass and a classic city boozer

Published on December 13th 2007.

The Lass O’Gowrie

“YOU what, Chuck?” Or maybe she’d have splurted out “We don’t have any of that orgasmic palaver here.”

No trip to the Lass, though, would be complete without going into the snug, a maiden aunt’s drawing room set in aspic since circa 1900. There’s a big ornate mirror, a real fireplace and a framed poem that gives the game away of The Lass’s origins.

Either way, Hilda Ogden, the matriarchal battleaxe who ruled Stan with a rollerpin of iron in Coronation Street back in the day, would neither have understood nor approved of serving up organic chicken in a cognac peppercorn sauce with dauphinoise potatoes and seasonal vegetables.Old school, you see (cue images of steaming hot-pot and bread oozing with dripping consumed by consumptive old bezzers), which is what The Lass O’Gowrie, the four-square Victorian monolith, with its exterior tiles and cosy snug appears to represent too. There’s even a picture of Hilda in the corner.But The Lass, as it’s known to regulars and media luvvies from the nearby BBC on Oxford Road, leads a somewhat schizophrenic existence. Scratch surface and there’s a modern, and business-savvy venture just bursting to get out.

After all, BBC executive expect, nay deserve, nothing less than their fowl served up organically. Not for them any scraggy poultry with a side of chips and onion rings with lashings of ketchup.For me, though, a lad born in Burnage who aspires to little more than basic scran and a decent pint of proper beer in a pub, the food dilemma began and ended when I saw the magic words “bangers on a bed of bubble and squeak”.

Teamed with a pint of Lass Ale, a honey-coloured beer par excellence brewed specially for the pub, my bubbles positively squeaked with delight.Boy did I feel guilty. Opposite me, with a face that Ena Sharples in her darkest mood would have been proud of, the missus huffed and puffed over her measly portion of lamb stew.

“But”, I reasoned, “you only paid £4.95 for it. What did you expect?” Her pint of guest ale Party Popper placated her thankfully and by the end of it she’d given up whingeing and started to warm to this convivial old boozer. She admired the art scattered around the walls – a mixture of illustrations of Manchester, and photographs by Karen McBride of rockers such as The Mondays, Green Day and good old Liam Gallagher.

Interior décor in the main bar and lounge area is exposed brick, stripped floorboards and reclaimed oak furniture, leather banquettes and the odd sofa, while fairy lights make it feel all Chrismassy. Above the bar old liquor barrels are prettily illuminated in rainbow colours.

No trip to the Lass, though, would be complete without going into the snug, a maiden aunt’s drawing room set in aspic since circa 1900.

There’s a big ornate mirror, a real fireplace, lots of old photos and pictures, chintzy furniture, cases of books, mounted collections of pipes and barrels and a framed poem that gives the game away of The Lass’s origins.

It’s called, appropriately enough, The Lass O’Gowrie, and was written by Caroline Naime (1766-1845). Poetry on our visit, however, was the last thing on most people’s minds, engrossed as they were by the Aston Villa v Portsmouth match on the one big screen and several smaller tellies.

The pub was packed for that, but the punters strangely evaporated when the United v Derby game came on. Conclusion: This place must be very popular with ex-pat Brummies. Extras at The Lass include board games on demand, a computer club, quiz nights, live music and comedy and ‘free books’.

Presumably they mean just to read during a session. Personally, I was more interested in the Times newspaper left on the table, where a reader’s letter talked about his ‘furry’ sexual predilections where he liked to dress up as Yogi Bear. The Lass is so educational – much smarter than the average pub.

Rating: 16/20
Breakdown: 3/5 Food
4/5 Drink
4/5 Decor
5/5 Ambience
Address: The Lass O’Gowrie
Charles Street (off Oxford Road)
57 City
0161 273 6932
Mon-Sat 11am-11pm, Sun noon-10.30pm

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John WareDecember 13th 2007.

I love the Lass.

AnonymousSeptember 28th 2013.

Hope they can get the long-running brewery dispute sorted out. It's a lovely pub but frustrating to not know whether you'll be able to get a drink or not.

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