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The Rising Sun Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield likes a pub that keeps it simple

Written by . Published on February 19th 2013.


The Rising Sun Reviewed
 

THERE is something reassuring about a pub that doesn't feel the need to try too hard; a pub that suffers no gastrodisation, features no pointless pizza menu and shuns 2-4-1 deals.

Or even lacks - much as I love them - craft beer groupies with beards and a stamp collector's obsession with hop, yeast and barley combinations. 

The Rising Sun is just such a pub.

One lunatic lurking on an online message board has described the drink as 'dusted pale gold with a white halo. Lemon and lime wine gum, slight meaty chunks aroma; privet, stroked dog.' 

It's a hidden away little delight, half way up the cul-de-sac of Queen Street, and just up from the seventh level of hell that is the Press Club. You can reach it through Lincoln Square or from Deansgate. 

Rising SunRising Sun

It dates from sometime very early in the nineteenth century (see the yellow box below for a spin on its history) and is a 'cut' pub. In other words it straddles the gap between two streets and has a rear entrance on Lloyd Street as well as a main entrance on Queen Street. There are numerous similar examples in Manchester - the Nag's Head over the road on Lloyd Street does the same trick.  

Stories abound for the reasons behind 'cut-throughs'. For instance if the police came in on one side you could run out the other, or if you were sneaking a drink or two and your lady came hunting you down you could escape double quick.

The real reason is more prosaic.

On long narrow streets it could be a fair jog to get to the front entrance of your pub on a neighbouring street. By that time another pub may have lured you away. So the simplest way to maximise market share was by putting an entrance on two streets. 

Lloyd Street entranceLloyd Street entrance

Inside the Rising Sun has been opened out into one long room - probably during the careless sixties.

It buzzes with office workers and weekend shoppers. If anything it recalls those sidestreet Spanish bars with all age groups together. It isn't cool, nor on-trend, and you're never going to get stuck behind a queue of cocktail bothers. 

I had fish and chips there recently for around £6 which was a filler not a thriller. Functional is all, probably frozen in origin, but no more in price than half the stuff in Pret a Manger. Food is only served at lunchtime by the way.

Filling but not thrillingFilling but not thrilling

It's the ale selection which stands out.

A Millstone  Brewery (from Mossley) beer was a delight. Called Vale Mill and weighing in at a tad under 4%, it was aromatic, full-bodied and balanced.

Another pint on another day - there's a changing selection of eight or nine ales - was Citrus Snap, 4.2%, from Green Mill Brewery in Rochdale. Fresh as a daisy this one, quaffable.

One lunatic lurking on an online message board has described Citrus Snap as 'dusted pale gold with a white halo. Lemon and lime wine gum, slight meaty chunks aroma; privet, stroked dog. Smooth and sweet malts beneath lightly peppery citrus, peanut, perfume.'

The man - of course it was a man - was plainly pissed when he wrote that. 

Inside the Rising SunInside the Rising Sun

I don't normally hold with TVs in pubs, but again the screens here, recall those Spanish bars. The screens are quite small, thankfully but it strikes me this might be a good place to watch the footy. 

I have in my possession The Manchester Pub Guide (click here) from 1975. The Rising Sun is described as 'a good comfortable pub with a friendly atmosphere'.

I see no need, thirty eight years later, to disagree with that judgement.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield 

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE.  

The Rising Sun, Queen Street, City, M2 5HX. 0161 834 1193

Rating: 13/20 

Pub ambience: 7/10 
Drinks: 4/5
Food: 2/5

PLEASE NOTE: 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, we get carried away.

Not this Rising SunNot that Rising Sun

Rising Sun ale selectionRising Sun ale selection

Tall Stories And History

One of the stories that gets repeated about the Rising Sun is that it dates, originally, from 1688. This would make it the oldest continuously run pub in Manchester.

Since 1688 was the year of the 'Glorious Revolution' and of William of Orange being invited to England from Holland to take over the throne from a despised James II, then The Rising Sun would have been a clever name.

Holland lies to the east where the orange of dawn from sunrise might indicate a brand new start, and orange is the colour of the new King of course. Neat. 

Problem is that construction in this part of Manchester didn't begin until much later. We know Queen Street was there by the 1740s but not before the 1730s. (The street was named after either Queen Sophia of Brunswick, wife of George I, or Caroline of Anspach, wife of George III, according to Bradshaw's excellent Origins of Street Names.)

So it's a no way Jose for 1688 as the founding date of the pub. It must date from the early nineteenth century when the area had morphed from posh with big houses, to crammed with working class terraces, and people who appreciated the virtues of beer. Why the name The Rising Sun was chosen is lost in the murk of time.

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

AnonymousFebruary 19th 2013.

Pub has had a refurb in last 12months and it was a great job. Tasteful, sypathetic and perfect for a pub of this calibre.

Mark CawleyFebruary 19th 2013.

Expensive and always found bar staff up themselves

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Bilbo BobbinsFebruary 20th 2013.

Are you mental? Expensive? where do drink, The Monkey?

Hero
Manc GuyFebruary 20th 2013.

I popped in today on the strength of this review. It's always been on my list of pubs to try anyway. It's a lovely pub, has a great vibe about it and I'd recommend it to anyone. 10/10. It doesn't feel like a city centre pub either. I agree with ANON' at the top, although I don't know if he or she's the nice ANON', the not so nice ANON' or the douchey ANON' that posts on this site. I didn't stop for a beer Mark, but I'd bet it was less than a draft pint at Neighbourhood or Alchemist. As for staff being 'up themselves'. The nice young lady behind the bar that I met hadn't worked there long, but if you're talking of uppity staff, I'd say that applies to most of Spinningfields and the NQ bars including The Castle Hotel. The latter's barmaids act as though they're doing you a favour at times!

DorothysmithFebruary 19th 2013.

oh dear what a shame it was a cosy little pub in its time i was thinking of paying a visit very soon nevermind at least sooty still has his place on the bar hope it gets better soon

NotasskintasMarkFebruary 19th 2013.

Dorothy believe the review not Mark Cawley. How can he say the Rising Sun is expensive? £6 for a meal is not expensive unless you live exclusively in Wetherspoons. This is a great little boozer.

AnonymousFebruary 20th 2013.

We used to under aged drink in here (and the Nags Head) in the early '60s on pass outs from the Oasis and Twisted Wheel after seeing Bands like the Beatles And Rolling Stones and great Blues singers which I'm sure included Muddy Waters and Howlin Wolf.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Billy CoolFebruary 20th 2013.

No doubt some micro-brewer has done a beer called Muddy Waters

Jenny CollinsFebruary 20th 2013.

Bar staff up themselves? Jesus Mark, the staff at my local estate spit and sawdust are more up themselves! You must think the staff at some of the more 'of the moment' bars give Elton John a run for his money!

Gibber jabberFebruary 20th 2013.

I think Mark is a local and rival landlord

AnonymousFebruary 21st 2013.

I use to go to this pub some years ago in my courting days some 38 years ago. It has now changed from the beams and brass on the walls to a stylish pub. I met my friend last year, she was over from Noway I had not seen her for 25 years. We called in this pub and enjoyed the food (not expensive) and the landlady gave my friend a glass for her to take home. Will visit again when down in that area.

Reader XxxFebruary 22nd 2013.

To cut to the chase - the beer is the best kept you'll find anywhere in town, not the cheapest but the best, and for a pub that's all that really matters. The bar staff are very efficient and friendly, and the food is functional for lunchtime drinkers, and cheap. If you want a local in town this is it.

JemmaFebruary 25th 2013.

Aha, very handy thanks Jonno et al. was recently looking for a bit of guidance on this one. Will try when next in town (more than happy to pay £6 for my lunch)

Paul DownesSeptember 27th 2013.

As city centre pubs go this ticks all the boxes, it is reliably consisitent in every way, it has earned it's reputation through hard work, good beer, friendly staff, always a great choice of cask ales and well kept with a real passion definetely one of the best. There are too few real pubs that can survive against the invasion of multiple operator brake bros supplied packaged food megabars. The Rising Sun is and will continue to do so and outlast the trending food bars around the city.

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