“ The Shambles, Manchester City Centre „
As pubs in Manchester go, this one is my favourite. It has quite a history, dating back almost 300 hundred years and surviving stoically through the wars and the infamous IRA bombings of '96, after which it was actually picked up (by one hundred real men with their bare hands) and moved to where it now sits next to the cathedral. This may sound corny, but you can feel a vibe when you're in there. If those walls could talk i tell ya. The beer is manchester brewed (Sam Smith) and is seriously good and seriously cheap. I think last time i went a pint was about £1.40. Compare that to any other place in manchester and it's less than half price. It sells traditional food, pie and chips and the sort, which can sometimes be a little stale to be honest. However if you go for its speciality, the oyster based dishes, you'll be in for a treat. There are two floors, both with their own bar, and about half-a-dozen rooms, which, if you snag a good one, can be a great place to just chill the night away with friends on the comfy sofas and get drunk for under a tenner. In summer the place is especially chocca, as the outside seating area is very popular. Come Winter and everyone has moved to the cosy inside and you may find yourself having to wait for a seat. Oh, and be careful if you're tall. Being an old building the ceilings are low and their are beams everywhere. Nuff said.
Sinclair's has got quite a bit of history, dating back to 1720 when it was built next to The Old Wellington which is another hundred years or so older than that. They were both raised up 15ft in the 70s when the Arndale was built to avoid having to demolish them and when they survived the IRA bomb in 1996 they were moved piece by piece to their current location on The Shambles, near to the Triangle and the wheel. It's nice to see 2 pubs that are so old still thriving today and their new location means they are still really popular, especially on Fridays and Saturdays when they get rammed, inside and outside, with a mixed crowd. Sinclairs is very small inside with a narrow bar downstairs and a little snug leading off it and a staircase leading up to a second bar and some more nooks and crannies. Outside there are quite a few tables, shared with the Wellington, and it is the large outside area that attracts most people on a sunny day obviously. You do have to drink out of plastic 'glasses' if you are going to sit, or more likely stand, outside but this is the same in all Manchester pubs. It doesn't bother me but I know some say beer doesn't taste as nice out of plastic. The drinks at the bar are made by Sam Smiths and like all Sam Smiths pubs this includes the spirits and the soft drinks so they may have a slightly different taste than you are used to but the ones I've had are fine, and I know the organic larger is very popular. I've not eaten at sinclair's but they do still serve their famous oysters apparently and I've seen people eating things like sandwiches and fish cakes in there that look quite nice. There is a dress policy at the pub: no headwear or football shirts but it seems to depend on what day it is on how strictly this is enforced. Prices in here are fairly cheap and the staff have always been friendly enough when I've been in, and it has never took me that long to get served even when busy. I do enjoy having a drink here on a sunny Saturday afternoon or early Friday evening but the downside is that for whatever reason it does kick off outside here occassionally, usually towards the end of a sunny afternoon when groups of lads have been drinking for too long but I don't know if the pub can be blamed for this really as the bouncers seem to keep an eye out for trouble and most days it is fine anyway.
When one is asked to think of a Manchester pub, the last thing they would think of is a half timbered building dating from before the Industrial Revolution. They would more likely think of a back street terraced pub such as the Rovers Return. However Sinclairs Oyster Bar is a lovely half timbered building dating from the 1700s which would fit nicely in somewhere like Chester or York rather than Manchester. Sinclairs is tucked away upon New Cathedral Street next to the Triangle shopping centre and across the square from the posh shops such as Harvey Nics and Selftidges. Next door is the more ancient Old Wellington Inn. Its a lovely old building that has an interesting past. I believe it has been moved piece by piece twice once to raise its height and the second time after the IRA bomb of 1996. The first good thing about Sinclairs is the open air area. It has a number of continental style tables that are chock a block when the sun makes it rare appearance in the Mancunian sky. Its a great place to sit and sip a pint and watch the world rush by you. It is also now the only place you can smoke in Sinclairs, The regulars had a vote to ban smoking from the interior. Another plus for me a non smoker who hates breathing other peopless smoke and ending up reeking of it., Do not worry smokers you will not be freezed out as the outdoor area is heated in winter. Once you get inside the pub you are greeted by a charming interior. it is full of beams, nooks and crannies and quite a narrow twisty staircase. It is a joy to be in. The atmosphere is nice. I think it is more a daytime, or starting off pub rather than a late night lairy one. it has a gentle Easy atmosphere with a very mixed clientele. The music seems to come from a Cd and is just in the background and does not overpower your conversation. There are two bars in Sinclair's. One upstairs and one downstairs. The great thing about drinking in the pub if you drink pints is that it is dirt cheap. A pint of cider nd a pint of their draught ale Samuel Smiths ( I think) came to less than £3. Spirits are averagely priced about £2 for one including the mixer. I'm not sure it has a big selection of ales. They only had the one real ale on tap but I think they do the usual lagers. Sinclair's does food too until quite late. You have ti order at the food counter for this and you are given a wooden spoon with a number to display at your table. The menu has a decent enough selection including light bites, full meal and sandwiches. They seem to specialise in seafood dishes hence the name Sinclair's oyster Bar The prices are perhaps a little bit above average for a pub meal in Manchester. A main course is about £7 whilst the baguettes we had were bout £4.50. I had a feta cheese and roast vegetable baguette whilst Duskman had a cheese nd ham melt. The roll was nice nd fresh and the filling was tasty. it advertised fries as an accompaniment but we got much thinker chips which were very tasty. if you want to sample Manchester's pre industrial heritage whilst supping a good cheap pint in a non smoky atmosphere i strongly recommend Sinclair's Oyster Bar
The START POINT is the main entrance to the Printworks, on Exchange Square next to Hard Rock Café. Inside on the left is BUDDHA LOUNGE (see Clubs), on the right is Norwegian Blue (new, big, loud and uplifting vodka shot bar, 2am). At the top of the internal street on the right is Lloyds No.1 (a newer concept Wetherspoons on two floors, including music and reasonable prices, 2am). Externally to the right of the Hard Rock Cafe is TIGER TIGER (massive multi level super-bar and club, several bars each with a different theme, from hunting lodge to loft bar to kazbar, loads of action, NB. 25 yrs+ door policy, 2am). Opposite the main entrance of the Printworks is Zinc (Terance Conran restaurant come bar, pretty sylish as you would expect, 2am). 50 yards further round the corner are two historic pubs that were relocated and rebuilt brick by brick after the IRA bomb. First is Sinclairs Oyster Bar (historic old boozer that has lost little in the move. The oysters go back to 1845). Next door is the Olde Wellington Inn (ancient timbers and stone floors but no longer all original, not as authentic as Sinclairs). A few yards further is the Crown and Anchor (included because it is our only example of a traditional Holts pub - see local breweries on the Northern Quarter page. Very cheap beer). The START POINT is the main entrance to the Printworks, on Exchange Square next to Hard Rock Café. Inside on the left is BUDDHA LOUNGE (see Clubs), on the right is Norwegian Blue (new, big, loud and uplifting vodka shot bar, 2am). At the top of the internal street on the right is Lloyds No.1 (a newer concept Wetherspoons on two floors, including music and reasonable prices, 2am). Externally to the right of the Hard Rock Cafe is TIGER TIGER (massive multi level super-bar and club, several bars each with a different theme, from hunting lodge to loft bar to kazbar, loads of action, NB. 25 yrs+ door policy, 2am). Opposite th e main entrance of the Printworks is Zinc (Terance Conran restaurant come bar, pretty sylish as you would expect, 2am). 50 yards further round the corner are two historic pubs that were relocated and rebuilt brick by brick after the IRA bomb. First is Sinclairs Oyster Bar (historic old boozer that has lost little in the move. The oysters go back to 1845). Next door is the Olde Wellington Inn (ancient timbers and stone floors but no longer all original, not as authentic as Sinclairs). A few yards further is the Crown and Anchor (included because it is our only example of a traditional Holts pub - see local breweries on the Northern Quarter page. Very cheap beer).
This is going to be a very controversial opinion amongst my friends who all love Sinclairs Oyster Bar, this is mainly cos its cheap. However i can not stand the place. The few times i have been to Sinclairs i have not enjoyed it, and i refuse to go anymore. I think a good way to give my opinion about Sinclair's would be to do a list of pro's and con's and let you make up your decision whether to visit or not. pro's ( warning this list may be very short) Location: located within walking distance of the metrolink and main bus station in Manchester. Also it is located close to other pubs all of which i think are much better. especially the Crown and Anchor. Cheap: the beer is cheap at £1.49 a pint of german lager, and if i can remember correctly £1.25 (although do not quote me on that price) for a pint of bitter. I can not give much more information on the beer in the pro's section, as they are the only two i have sampled. Con's Beer: The most important thing in a pub in my opinion is that i enjoy the pint, which at Sinclairs i did not. Yes it was cheap, but this was apparent in the taste. It was watery, yet left a bad aftertaste in your mouth, which made it hard to drink, and definitely did not leave you wanting another. Crowds: For some reason unknown for me every time i have been in there it is packed to the rafters, you can not move let alone find somewhere to sit. There is outside seating, but we are in Manchester and it is very rare that the seats are dry enough to use. Atmosphere: there is no atmosphere in the pub, it is, to be totally blatant, boring. Conclusion: although i find it boring, crowded, hot and the beer is nice, it is always packed which must mean a lot of people like it. So all i can say is visit it and make your own mind up about it.
This pub was affected in the IRA attack in Manchester a few years ago. So the moved the location to the shambles near st Anne’s square, so they had to move it piece by piece. The new location is better in my opinion, as it's near three other pubs but Sinclair’s gets my service. The pub it's self is quite small and always packed, but you have a chose of sitting out side on the benches which on a nice day there is nothing better to do, sit out side with the sun on your shoulders with a pint in your hand. even if the benches are full there are other places to sit around the area, if you know the place you will know what I mean and the staff don't mind. There are a large selection of beers, even though they are all German, most of them I have never heard of, but i just ask for a pint of larger which is beautiful and it's tastes so much better because it's cheap at only £1.49 a pint and 75p for half a pint. It's one of those places you go before you go out to a club, but there are many people who spend the night there. It has a large variety of age from 18-60 which is a good mix. So pop in for a pint if your near the area. Rory