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Worsley Old Hall (Manchester)

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1 Review
  • Snobby area sometimes
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      03.06.2001 22:07
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      • "Snobby area sometimes"

      A opinion of mixed emotions this one! I’ve actually been an employee here for nearly three years and so I can assure you all the facts given are to the extremist accuracy, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to be biased as I’m leaving soon and I also go into the pub for a drink or a meal a lot of the time. Worsley Old Hall is where the Duke of Bridgewater or the “Canal Duke” used to reside. The building has bags of history being over 400 years old and being infamously haunted by numerous ghosts. Also interestingly (staff knowledge this) there are many trapdoors in the pub leading to a network of underground tunnels linking up many of the different historical buildings in about a six mile radius. Also a secret room in the pub that we have found but none of us yet dare to go in, but that's getting too far off subject I fear. Anyway this all adds up to a Hall with plenty of character with beautiful gardens surrounding it. Before it was transformed into a Brewers Fayre the hall was used as two restaurants, one being a Jacobite restaurant where you dressed up and ate with you fingers, chucking bones to the dogs etc, etc.... and the other being the dukes cellar, a pricey restaurant in the new beer cellar. People constantly come into the pub and ask the staff about it, and if the staff don’t know, they tell them. Ghosts! Everybody keeps telling me about them, to the point where the building is becoming terrifying, although I don’t normally believe in all that stuff I have seen bottles fall for no reason and a kettle switch it self on...Bizarre! The pub is situated next to the Marriott hotel in the middle of the golf course (championship standard) in Worsley which is the posh area of Manchester's outskirts meaning in general the customers can be a bit snobbish but are no trouble at all and as its out of the city its also out of the way of the lager louts that wreck the atmosphere in some
      pubs. Also as the pub is situated next to the Marriott hotel, guests from all sorts of cultures come to visit all the time, especially Americans (big tippers ahoy!) making the guests sort of interesting but even more interesting is the amount of celebs that come here, including the likes of Andy Goram and Family, Ryan Gigg’s and Mates, many of the cast of Coronation street or hollyoaks and David Beckham and friends. Around the time of Manchester Uniteds Home games it is not rare to get the opposing squads coming in, and the assistant manager still brags about kicking the ball back to Batistuta after he lost control one day when the Fiorentina squad popped in. In general I think the celebs come in because they won’t get hassled, although there have been cases such as our ex head bar man asking Giggs to play for our 5 a side team, he said no! The rest of the guests come from far and wide normally for birthdays or special meals, and tend to be family based although we do have a firm base of regulars that are loved or loathed by the staff and in the summer the pubs gardens started to fill up with 18-30’s (this is when we tend to get the nice looking women too) enjoying the superb gardens. The beer garden to the back has a large paved area with about 20 huge wooden tables and huge wooden chairs at each, completing the beer garden is a canopy covered in vines and a large fountain with a actually working sundial! All nice little touches in summer where you can come in for a beer in the garden or maybe a game of football on the football pitch size lawn. The layout of the pub is well designed, the car park surrounds the front of the pun which faces the Marriott hotel, coming into the pun through the main entrance brings you straight into the bar area with the actual bar running along the right hand side and a non-smoking dining room to your left with a smoking room next to that. About twenty metres ahead of you is the arch t
      o the main family room and through that you can get to the gardens. There are large, very clean toilets next to both main dining rooms with a baby changing rooms inside the closest to the main entrance. Within the main entrance are a few pictures and articles about the history of the place and further pictures and articles on the building and the area can be found all around the pub. Also within the main entrance are the disabled toilets. The pub is perfect for wheel chair users with a ramp (within a gentle incline) to one side of the steps to go into the beer garden and I believe the pub has won some award for its access to wheel chair users. Around the dining halls are the dining tables (sounds kinda dumb now that I’ve wrote it) which varies in shape, size and design holding between two and eights guests although if a larger party comes in to dine then the staff will happily (most will anyway, the rest will pretend to be happy) put together a few tables to accommodate you although the smoking area is very limited in size. A note on the car park, it does have the Marriott security guards wandering through but there are still thefts so beware, everybody seems to think because of the area that it wont happen but it does, and the CCTV cameras are crappy, providing excellent coverage but dire quality of you car being drove away. People planning on having a meal and going to the city centre should also walk 100 metres up the road to the Marriott where taxis can be ordered quite easily. My opinion of the pub is that it’s very relaxed, and boring (boring can be good sometimes) this is due to the soppy old music played at low levels, the quite chatting of people at their tables, and the lack of entertainment in the place. There are no pools tables, no big screen TV (or TV at all), there is never anything going on with the highlights being once a raffle was taken place and secondly some theatre came and put on a production at
      the reverse of the pub. The best way to rate something has to be to compare it to others like for like. In the area similar pubs are the ‘Cock Hotel’, the ‘Barton Arms’ the ‘Bridgewater Hotel’ and the ‘John Gilbert’. The Gilbert is the closest with similar customers and slightly better food although it is too cramped and its situation is awful being next to a motorway with a crappy outside. The Cock is full of young drinkers and lager louts, whereas the Bridge is more of a bar type place being packed full of 16-24 year olds at the weekend. The Barton (just been closed down) is similar to the Bridge but with an age group of 18-30 years olds. The conclusion of my comparison, for serious drinking go to the bridge or Barton but for a meal go to Worsley old hall. Onto a very important part of any pub restaurant, how to go about getting a meal, the process to go through to get fed and the quality of the meal. Whether you get a table straight away or have to join a waiting list depends on two things, whether you have a reservation or how busy the pub is. The pub now only takes booking for Monday to Thursdays and the size of the party has to be ten or more. On a Sunday you should expect to wait around an hour for a table with half an hour wait on a Friday or Saturday night. As summer draws in even the week day nights are getting busier so maybe waiting lists will be applied. Once you have your table sorted you find its number (on a metal disc on the table somewhere) and go to the food till for food ordering and the bar for drinks (coffees and bottles of wine can be ordered with food). You give your table number and order from the menu (same at every Brewers Fayre) or from the chalk boards which list the days specials. The menu has a good variety of meals with about five vegetarian options. The food is prepared well and the kitchen just achieved a ‘kitchens of excellence’
      silver award but most of the set menu is microwaved food or fried food. The grills and steaks are the best choices as they are cooked properly, or maybe the specials which are prepared taking a lot of time and tend to look very special indeed. After about five to ten minutes the food starters should arrive and then once they have been finished and cleared you can expect the mains ten minutes later. To ensure that the quality is great a member of staff should come over and ask if everything is ok with your meals a couple of minutes later. After that you go through the same process to order your sweets. The sweet menu is very tempting with a range of sundaes, sticky puds, and traditional favourites, with a selection from the specials for the customer who has tried everything. There is a large selection of the Costa coffee range too, whether you enjoy a plain filter coffee, a latte, cappuccino (made the correct way unlike most places), a floater coffee (with or without alcohol) or whatever, there's more or less everything. These will be brought over to your table in a couple of minutes. If you wish to eat outside then there is an outside menu (this is the only option) which has plenty of baguettes, snacks and some meals. Food is served all day between noon and ten ‘o’ clock at night, with sweets still available till around quarter to eleven (although the staff my have finished before then). The prices of the food are standard for a pub restaurant at under ten pounds for a starter and a main, and about £2.50 for a sweet, and ninety pence for a coffee. If you ask at the till then most of the time you can be given vouchers for the next time you come in, usual a five pounds off a meal for two, which you have to fill in with your details. This will not mean loads of junk mail being packed through your mail box, but it will mean that you get some of the better offers being sent to your house should you call to any Brewers Fayre
      again. Right, on to my favourite place, the Bar. The bar serves a large selection of beers whether you like lager, just Heineken and Stella, or maybe you like bitter which has a better selection with Boddingtons (cream of Manchester) Flowers IPA, or Pedigree bitter or the jewel of the bar, Trophy bitter which is very nice, even girls are starting to guzzle bitter because of it, most of the staff are hooked on it. Cider?, well there's Strongbow and for stout there's Murphy's, and of course they have soft drinks on draught too, and Stowell’s dry and medium white wine on too. An important factor in the taste of draught ales is how often the lines are cleaned with most pub doing it once a month if at all meaning that gradually little bits of yeast and whatever settle in the lines between the barrel and the pump adding an awful tangy taste to the beer. However at least once a week the lines are done at the Old Hall, which the staff love because all the beer in the pipes has to be poured after the customers have left, meaning a free drinking fest for the staff who worked that night! If you don’t like any of the Stowell’s wines at the bar then you can buy any of the wines available by the bottle as a single glass, from a selection of about twenty different wines to include all tastes and three or four champagnes to go with them. Behind the bar there are the fridges if you would like a bottle of something with most alcopops, soft drinks from the Britvic range or bottled beers including the most popular around and then a few classy rare ones. Above the fridges are the liquors and spirits with about 50 being included, far too many to list but nearly everything is there. For most people money is an issue (your lucky if it isn’t) when going into a bar and in this one you will pay £2.30 for a pint of Stella, £2.05 for a Heineken, £1.89 for a Boddingtons, £1.77 for a Trophy and £2.33 for Strongbow. Alcopops are
      between the £2.30 and £2.80 mark and a pint of a soft drink will cost around £1.90, that will help you judge the rest of the prices for the beverages I haven't included. One problem with the bar is that the managers want the place to be more emphasized on being a restaurant and so there is a distinct lack of promotions in the bar. There's been about six of them in the last three years, the last being three alcopops for a fiver, and before that a buy one get one free for the first one hundred pints of Boddingtons. The opening hours in the bar are the same as any traditional pub in Britain, with the bar opening at noon and closing at eleven at night. There is no chance of getting a pint after this like you can in many pubs as the tills are took so that no more money can be taken, although this doesn’t stop some customers from trying. A good thing is that the staff will not pressure you to leave and often customers leave at around ten to twelve or so on. The bar area is pleasant with it being split into two by a partition, bar stools along the bar and around ten tables in the bar with plenty of space between them and comfy settees at one side. There’s a place to go and have a drink no matter how you are, whether you like to sit at the bar, chill on the settees, sit at a table in the middle of the bar, or just have a chat out of the way in the corner with your mates Of course there‘s a cigarette machine and there is a fruit machine, also one of those touch screen game gamblers, enjoyed very much by the staff. Also just to explain how it compares to all the others Brewers Fayres in the country, we constantly win awards from whitbread for being the best in the north, and we are the busiest outside of London! Finally a bit on the staff. Most of the staff are students at either college or at university and are very varied in personality. There’s a doctor on the bar alongside a soon to be
      commercial pilot to name two. The staff are all friendly and most will go and sit in the bar at the end of a shift and have a laugh with the customers. Then there's the uniform, the horrible orange shirts, I hope they change soon, but at least we don’t have to wear the boy ties anymore! Well this is the end, can’t believe you made it!

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