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The Wharf: Inside A Classy New Super-pub

Jonathan Schofield with real fires, flowers, books and a good menu

Published on July 3rd 2012.

The Wharf: Inside A Classy New Super-pub

THE WHARF, Brunning and Price, in Castlefield formerly Jackson's Wharf is one of the two major openings for Manchester city centre this year.

The result of all this is that the old Jackson's Wharf pub has been transformed from ugly duckling to swan.

A couple of weeks ago we profiled Tops on Portland Street - click here. It was spectacular in that Eastern way of neon, marble, sculpure and tile. The Wharf is just as spectacular but this time in that British way of wood, brick, books and clutter. A particularly nice touch is the incorporation of four real coal fires. 

It's extravagance versus restraint.

I know where I'd prefer to spend an afternoon. Maybe even this afternoon, The Wharf opens at 5pm on Tuesday 3 July.

Through the arched way at The WharfThrough the arched way at The Wharf

So while this is a pub writ large, there are still across three storeys more than enough cosy corners to settle back in and allow the hours to slide by. There's even plenty of interest on the walls with prints, posters and maps showing off Manchester and the area through the ages. 

Tops has 400 covers, The Wharf has more than 350 albeit with just over two thirds, 250 of them, inside the pub, and the rest on the surrounding terraces.

The key point of difference between these gargantuan food and drink additions to the city lies in the menu.

This is no mere buffet restaurant.

Andy Waters, the exexcutive chef has more than thirty chefs at his disposal and has devised a clever menu that reads well. This appears to be robust pub food with a bit of elegant panache. Let's hope it tastes as well as it reads.

The menuThe menu

I asked Duncan Lockhead, the marketing director of Brunning and Price, what had been the approach in creating the pub. 

He said, "We take all the best bits of pubs and try to incorporate them into the design including good food and good drink."

Sounds like fun.

Drinkswise there are six cask ales, more than fifty wines and over a hundred whiskies. Two thirds of the wines are under £20. Here's part of the list - good to see a Sauterne on there.

Part of the wine listPart of the wine list

The general manager is Rob Broadbent.

The ground floor has bar service for food and drink, the upstairs areas have table service. 

There is a boules pit outside and great calming views over the water to Merchant's Wharf, complete with weeping willows and narrow-boats.

The result of all this is that the old Jackson's Wharf pub has been transformed from ugly duckling to swan - well on the inside at least, its external faux warehouse design from the 1990s will always be awkward.

Given the long and painful battles of Castlefield residents and businesses to prevent a lumpen block of flats to lurch onto the basin, then the result is very satisfying (Click here for that excruciating episode). 

Manchester has gained an asset that the public can access - open to the world not closed and introverted. It's one that should benefit all the food and drink places around here too as it expands the market.

Let's see how The Wharf delivers on the all the potential shown in our pictures.

The Wharf is at 6 Slate Wharf, Castlefield, City, M15 4ST. 0161 220 2960. Click here for the website. The Wharf is taking bookings.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter on@JonathSchofield

The Wharf

The Wharf 001

The Wharf 003

The Wharf 014

The Wharf 026

The Wharf 028The Wharf 028

The Wharf 033

The Wharf 031

The Wharf 037Chef Andy Waters looks over 'the pass'

The Wharf 049

The Wharf 049

The Wharf 053

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

Louise PageJuly 3rd 2012.

Cannot wait. Since moving to Manchester to
Three years ago I've been searching for a Sunday dinner and pub grub as good as Pen-y-Bryn (Colwyn Bay branch). Great value, atmosphere, quality and taste. When's it opening?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

Agree .... The Pen-y-Bryn is a must, for food, views, atmosphere & good crowd... My dad lives around the corner from it..Will definitely give this one a go..

Jonathan SchofieldJuly 3rd 2012.

Louise, the pub opens this afternoon - 3 July - at 5pm

Louise PageJuly 3rd 2012.

Great thanks.

AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

How the hell are they going to FRESHLY prepare all those main courses?

Dont they watch 'The restaurant inspector', 'The Hotel Inspector', 'Gordon Ramsey fixes your restaurant' etc...

The fact theres sooo many, would actually put me off, as I would doubt the freshness of everything. In addition to the platters & light choices, main courses should be 6-8 choices - DONE!

5 Responses: Reply To This...
Poster BoyJuly 3rd 2012.

...probably "with more than thirty chefs"...
Are you absolutely sure about that Jonathan?

LouiseJuly 3rd 2012.

Food is fresh. They are busy all day long and quality & service is excellent. It will give the other restaurants a run for their money. Why not try it and them complain if justified.

AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

How can Louise know this if its not opened yet? oh wait - PR alert...

IanJuly 3rd 2012.

Louise, you obviously have a vested interest in this business.

LouiseJuly 3rd 2012.

No I don't. Just enjoy a good meal and a perfect Sunday roast. Better not be disappointed!

Richard HJJuly 3rd 2012.

Good luck to them.

Charlie ButterworthJuly 3rd 2012.

Anon above wins Doubting Thomas, whinger before any proof - award of the week. I can't stand glass half empty people.

JoanJuly 3rd 2012.

Agreed. Four comments in and it's negativity. I love living in this city, but I do sometimes wonder what it has to do to please some people. I'm looking forward to The Wharf and hope the negativists keep away.

AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

Gosh, just looked at the prices on the menu (cant really see them in the photo above...) Some questionable pricing there that would give some of Manchester's established higher end restaurants a run for their money..

Not a doubting Thomas here, I wish them well. It looks like a nice addition to the area but Wow at some of the prices is all Im saying before the aboves start jumping down my throat too...

(also, I woudl sign in but wont bloody work on iPhone, so gotta go anon)

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Charlie ButterworthJuly 3rd 2012.

Yawn. Don't bloody go then. Whinger part two

Calum McGJuly 3rd 2012.

Not sure where you normally eat, but for freshly-cooked food, the prices look realistic...

StuieJuly 3rd 2012.

The prices look fine to me, you get what you pay for. This is not McDonalds

BLR_3July 3rd 2012.

Anywhere that provides a welcome challenge to Dukes 92 is ok in my book!

Think they've done a really good job renovating it, reminds me of The Met in west didsbury!

1 Response: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerJuly 16th 2012.


The Met in Dids is a historic building with a bespoke fit-out.

This is a fake mock classical (yes triple fake) building with a fit-out selected from a catalogue.

It's like saying McDonalds reminds you of the Burj Dubai

AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

Sutton Hall in Macclesfield is owned by this lot...

If this is half as good, then it will be ACE x

Kevin PeelJuly 3rd 2012.

I cannot wait to get down there for dinner on Saturday night!

1 Response: Reply To This...
BLR_3July 3rd 2012.


Jacqueline CorbettJuly 3rd 2012.

We were lucky enough to be invited to the pre-opening on Sunday the food was amazing, the place is gorgeous a new Manchester classic.
The salmon and bloody mary jelly was fab.
Can't wait to go back..

Paul Jones-EvansJuly 3rd 2012.

I'm from Chester where the HQ of Brunning & Price is based and have eaten & drank in most of their establishments across the North West & North Wales. I haven't visited a bad one yet - the food is always spot on, with a bustling, buzzing atmosphere even without music, they have well kept real ales, and typically provide great service. I'm sure they'll make an equally good job of this pub - for those doubters why not try it & see. BLR_3 is absolutely right about similarities with The Met, when I first moved to Didsbury I assumed The Met was a B&P pub!

Steve5839July 3rd 2012.

Is the post code wrong - it sents me to the middle of Moss side?

1 Response: Reply To This...
JS3July 3rd 2012.

Yep, should be M15 4SX or M15 4SY/Z/W, all the same road.

AnonymousJuly 4th 2012.

the owners of the Met in didsbury based it on B&P's harkers arms in chester! the wharf will win lots of awards and manchester is richer for its prescence.

Michael SawyerJuly 4th 2012.

We live near Brunning and Prices Old Hall in Sandbach and let me tell you the food and more importantly the ale are lovely. They certainly know how to run a good establishment. The wharf has the promise of being a cracking pub!


1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 5th 2012.

I fully agree with you, we have eaten at Old hall, The Hand and Trumpet and Now the Wharf, always first class and we have never been disapointed. You dont mind paying a little more for such a lovely meal, well done again Brunning and Price.

Calum McGJuly 4th 2012.

Went last night and the place is absolutely amazing. It's far better now than in its original form... great beers, great service, really high-quality fit out. Had a cheese platter as a snack (it was delicious) and cannot wait to go back for a proper meal. Awesome!

It's decentJuly 4th 2012.

Never been to one of their pubs so can't compare them, but went here last night and this place is great. Really well done inside, great feel, quality staff. Moaners, get down there and have some booze to cheer up your grumpy souls.

The food is pricey and is at the top end of Manchester prices but it looked good.

Trust me, this place feels like it's been there years already and they are going to do really well.

AnonymousJuly 4th 2012.

I've got to agree with those who are saying it's too pricey. £12+ for fish and chips in a pub isn't going to fly in Manchester.

I have fond memories of Jackson's Wharf, but let's face it, it was a place you only really thought to go on a hot summer's day, and even then... it was for lunch, not dinner, due to the placing of the sun (opposite to the teatime suntrap of Dukes).

To be fair, there's a lot more passing trade to be had these days, but I give it a few months before they have to adapt that menu and come into the real world.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
Calum McGJuly 4th 2012.

How is their chain so successful, then?

bigearsJuly 4th 2012.

course it will work - Ox and Dukes are both pubs and they charge just as much. how about try it before you whinge.

pollolocoJuly 6th 2012.

I pay £9.95 for a large cod and chips eat in at the Plaice (chippy) in Bollington (ace by the way) and would happily pay £12 for the same at a place like this. Where do you eat anon??

AnonymousJuly 4th 2012.

Ali - I'm not saying the chain isn't any good, and their MO of opening in affluent areas means 12 quid burgers may just fly out when there aren't many decent options close by.

AnonymousJuly 7th 2012.

I fell in love in B&P pubs since visiting the Hand and Trumpet in Wrinehill; I'm so happy that we now have an equivalent in Manchester city centre, can't wait to try it.

GlossopsharkJuly 12th 2012.

My wife and I popped in on Saturday, and whilst our view may have been tainted by the unexpected sunshine, the 2 pints of Beartown Kodiak Gold were spot on, as was the small bottles of Prosecco. T

he food looked pretty decent and the staff were lovely and very helpful, and I assume will get even slicker as they get more experience.

Overall, a decent start!

mike_aJuly 16th 2012.

Went yesterday afternoon for Sunday lunch and was really impressed; the food was amazing (would recommend the shoulder of lamb and the the Manchester Plate for dessert) and the staff were really friendly and attentive; we didn't feel rushed to order and after sitting outside to eat on the balcony the waiter found us a spot to sit inside when the weather started to go cooler. Definitely planning on a return trip.

Marie Betty DavisJuly 16th 2012.

My boyfriend Andy and I also visited yesterday for lunch it was beautiful :) We'd also been for a meal there the night before that too...."new local" alert me thinks ;)

Asa5312July 16th 2012.

The food and atmosphere are great with attentive, friendly staff...interesting that it is owned by The Restaurant Group...Frankie and Benny's and Chiquito are awful.

AnonymousJuly 19th 2012.

Are you sure? But isn't the restaurant group a parking place for establishments seeking new owners?

AnonymousJuly 29th 2012.

So, if Manchester is not capable of sustaining a pub which charges £12 for fish and chips, then it's clearly not capable of sustaining 5 star hotels, Harvey Nicks, Selfridges, Jamie Oilver, the Ox, Sam's, Thomas's, various Bentley garages etc etc. Oh, wait a minute. I've been frequently to a variety of Brunning and Price pubs in Cheshire and North Wales over the last 20 years and have never had a bad meal or a bad pint. I went to the Wharf yesterday, and it was cracking. A very welcome addition which will definitely do well.

crazyjohnnykAugust 21st 2012.

I went the other week and I think it's brilliant for the area. There now seems plenty of choice again which gives people a reason to visit, it's busy again, the sun is shining and I had girls hanging off each arm cooing while I showed them my googly playing Boules. It's like the old days around Castlefield again! I wish D:percussion would come back :( x

crazyjohnnykAugust 21st 2012.

Too many agains but there was alot of agains.

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