Owned by Paul Heaton of Housemartins and Beautiful South (so in the interests of good taste there will be no mention of Happy hour or Old Red Eyes is Back) this is a lovely looking pub boasting the largest (and indeed only) collection of do not disturb signs that I am aware of.
They were serving six interesting real ales from six different breweries as well as a large selection of foreign beers (is that all that you've got?). The beers that I had (Bee Thrifty and an ale version of Dusseldorf Altbier) were very tasty, so I stayed a while and got some cheap but very decent food while I was at it.
The toilet graffiti summed this pub up better than I ever could: 'I've got a special hat', and this pub certainly does
Over the last decade, The King's Arms has become something of a Manchester institution. Tucked away on Bloom Street in Salford, it's a ten minute walk from Deansgate and the hustle and bustle of the city centre. The surrounding new build flats aren't the prettiest but it's worth making a special trip to enjoy a pint and a bit of culture in this charming boozer.
A grand looking, red brick building with several floors, The King's Arms has been lovingly nurtured and restored back to life by current manager Jon Cooper. There's a community theatre company and a collective of visual artists and photographers based on the top floor and a performance area for local and visting bands on the first floor. There's free folk and jazz gigs every Wednesday and Greek /Klezma musicians every Thurs. There's also occasional film screenings, poetry readings and community benefits.
The reason I love The King's Arms so much however, is for their gorgeous bar with comfy leather seating, high ornate ceiling and worn wooden tables. The bar staff are as welcoming as the decor and whenever I've been there's always been something cool on the stereo from Serge Gainsbourg to The Shangra Las. The fact they also serve great ales, beers, spirits and warm drinks at reasonable prices is what makes it one of Manchester's coolest drinking dens!
You can imagine my surprise when I looked at Manchester and Salford's pub guides and so many recommended the King's Arms. I'd never been, because pubs on Chapel Street scare me. The road is dotted with so many tatty-looking alehouses with threatening looking folk smoking outside, I thought you'd have to drag me kicking and screaming into any drinking establishment on the stretch of road that's so direly in need of regeneration, they've only gone and put purple boards over all the collapsing buildings as if to say, 'We'll do something. Promise. Just, you know, in a while. Soon.'
However, rookie mistake... the King's Arms is actually down a side street off Chapel Street, which... actually in a way that makes the idea scarier but I was determined, I'd heard so many good things and the blonde had been there a few times, assuring me it was lovely. So. What's all the fuss about?
It IS lovely! Like the Crescent, it has that elusive perfect balance of old man's pub and boho chic. In fact it trumps the Crescent in terms of the whole boho chic vibe with its framed posters of John Lennon and kooky decor accessories, such as rows of mirrors dotted along the back of the very comfy, very long cushioned bench and a clock with a pattern of ornate frames around it. Seriously, you have to see it to truly appreciate it.
It's a huge pub, and kind of has the vibe of going into one of those country houses, but in this case it's a townhouse and a very pretty one at that. High ceilings and original features make it an experience just to be in there, and the colours that have painted the walls are both eccentric and respectful, as strange a combination as that might be. The outdoor smoking area is something to behold, with a little bamboo shelter and seats with cushions. The bar area is awesome-looking and our barman, oh, *sigh*, he was just perfect. I've never met someone so helpful and knowledgable. I shall divulge.
We arrived, and while I was eyeing up the great range of fruit beers (note to everyone: please try Peach Timmermans. It is the meaning of lush) the blonde was contemplating going for something different. When sloe gin was absent she went for a Pimms, and was offered generic or Winter. Since Manchester seems to have recently turned into an unpredictable hybrid of Chicago and Seattle climate-wise, she opted for the one with Winter spices and was offered it hot or cold. This led to much musing on the subject of warm alcoholic drinks, which she's a fan of, and the superb barman said, 'If you want a hot drink I can recommend this.' It was a Yates' Australian liqueur, designed to be served with hot water, possibly lemon, and honey or brown sugar. She decided to be adventurous.
And because of that, we have discovered a lovely drink that will warm your cockles in the colder months. It was delicious. And it only cost £2.50. She also picked up a bar snack, some pork scratchings which usually come in tiny packets but there were literally enough to feed an army. That's value for money. Speaking of food, I promise to update this review when I've tried what I'm assured are delicious meals there.
In terms of what goes in here, where do I start? Yes, it's lovely for a pint of pull as my father in law says, but there's a theatre upstairs, live jazz every Wednesday, and even a knitting class in the snug on Mondays. How cute is that? (I might actually go for that one, I've always wanted to knit.)
We also experienced a bit of local flavour. We were lucky enough to be in there at the same time as a Salford born and bred man who actually lives in France now, but was visiting. In his generosity he offered us a shot each of the French apple brandy he'd brought back. Yes, there was no chastising from the barman, he provided the glasses in fact! When the Salford stalwart offered us the beverage he did joke about the fact that it wasn't a date rape drug, and I know that my mother would brain me for taking drinks from strangers but I could see the bottle and all his friends drinking from it so the blonde and I were more than happy to give it a try.
'The best pub in the world, this is,' he told us. 'In the WORLD. I live in France, and I miss it every day.'
His enthusiasm spoke volumes. When the blonde mentioned that it was my first time in here, he was aghast. I told him I'd be coming back. The place was giving me that warm fuzzy feeling that I usually only get from the Crescent. In terms of location, if you live near the university, say at the Royal like myself, or Zenith, or that weird white building with the poetry on the side, or in fact attend the university, the location is perfect, because it's about halfway back from Manchester's town centre - perfect for breaking up your journey by foot and popping in for a few drinks before heading home. And the range of beers on tap as well as in bottles smacks of a place that knows its real ale. Now I understand what all the pub guides are talking about.
If you're a smoker or a real ale drinker, you can't ask for much more than the King's Arms. It's only about a ten minute trek from the centre, and it's a well kept secret on the Salford side of Manchester. In fact it's a good thing that more people don't know about it, otherwise it might lose its charm.
So about that smoking and drinking thing... they have one of the best smoking areas of any bar I've been to, made up of random bric-a-brac like a plant growing out of a toilet bowl or a scary clown sign, but mostly, it's a little enclosed gazebo with cosy cushions and fairy lights where you can stay warm and enjoy a cigarette or two. They sell loads of continental ales like Erdinger, most of them on tap and provided in those cool-looking pint glasses they're supposed to come in.
I've never tried the food but I've heard good things - they're doing Mexican stuff now apparently. Since I've moved to Withington the King's Arms is one of those pubs I really miss - I'll happily take a taxi back to Salford to spend a summer afternoon outside there with a cool pint!
The King's Arms is slightly out of town by most people's standards, and actually, definitely in Salford and NOT Manchester if you ask anyone from Salford.
I would probably never have come here unless I had been invited to see a friend's band during the In The City festival. My friend Luke was heading up some fringe all-dayer event.
When I arrived at the pub, I couldn't believe that such a gem existed in Salford. The downstairs bar is cool, chic and eccentric. The staff look like more sober and friendly versions of Peter Doherty. You see, it's all very cool here. But not in an aggressive way, just in a kind of you're lucky you found this place way.
We went upstairs to watch the bands and again I was amazed at how brilliant the room was. It was like a mini hall, with a really high, beautiful arched ceiling and the iron beams exposed. It really is full of character, the kind that the Trof chain has to create but the Kings Arms just naturally exudes.
Music wise the sound isn't incredible and the projections showing behind the bands were at times really quite weird, but after a few drinks that stuff just wouldn't matter anymore. The Kings Arms is great and if I lived around the corner from it, I would be in there every night.
Tucked away on the Salford, Manchester city centre border and in close proximity to Salford Central train station, this little gem of a pub is a rare find.
This is a real ale pub serving six of the finest beers not usually found in any mainstream public house. The Kings Arms is owned by Jon and Jo who had a vision for this pub and boy have they delivered! Roughly three times a week punters are treated to live bands and the pub showcases local talent. The decor fuses an Olde Worlde style with flashes of kitsch and curious wall hangings catch your eye . It is clean, comfy and a collector's item.
The food cannot be dismissed as simply "pub grub", it is home made using fresh ingredients. Served promptly, the portions are substantial; I had the pie of the day with chunky chips washed down with half a lager and had lots of change from a tenner.
This down to earth joint is heaven with beer pumps. Love it!
Situated on the outskirts of Central Manchester (or, indeed, Salford if we're being exact), the Kings Arms is a truly wonderful little boozer. Quirky without being too wacky, this is a proper old man's pub made good - and has something to please everyone, from the great range of real ales, to the weekly jazz nights to the knitting circles which you can often find gossiping in the snug over a cheeky Gin and Bitter Lemon.
With Summer rapidly reaching our shores, I can't think of a better beer garden in which to have a sit, a cigarette, a gossip and a cool crisp pint.
Even better, it's one of the venues for the brilliant May Bank Holiday weekend festival 'Sounds from the other city' meaning you can listen to the musical stylings of the next big thing in brilliant surroundings. Is there any way in which this pub could be better? Well, I've yet to try its food, but if its anything as good as its alcoholic offerings, you're sure to be in for a treat.
I could be tempted to give this place 5 stars.
This is my kind of urban pub. It's got a really nice crowd, good staff, nice food and the buiding's solid. It's the real McCoy. There's been a lot of change in Manchester over the past few years. This hasn't changed, apart form some nice additions, tastfully done. It's an honest place. There's a nice side-rrom which makes for a good place to have good conversations in, which makes a pleasant change for me at least! And if you are thinking of holding a do somewhere in town, this place has a really good floor upstairs for this. I went to a fantastic party here not so long ago and the host brought his own food and DJ and the night was very memorable.
I love this pub. It's a few minutes walk from my office so I can nip in at lunch, eat, and make it back within the hour or I can nip in after work, drink, and stumble to the bus stop without too much trouble.
It attracts office types, students, real ale drinkers, arty types...everyone has a place here and no one would ever feel out of place. There is a good selection of food and drink on offer and it's reasonably priced, if it were a few hundred yards up the road it would probably milk the postcode but thankfully it's in just the right spot.
Upstairs houses Studio Salford which hosts Poetry evenings, club nights, comedy, film nights, gigs and theatre productions. There is always something going on. You can even take up knitting or do a bit of busking downstairs.
The more people I introduce to this pub the more I realise that it's a reet hidden gem.
Great little pub owned by Paul Heaton, commonly known as The Housemartins and The Beautiful South's lead vocalist. The pub is steeped in character and tradition. There is a dramatic and even a knitting society on certain evenings/afternoons .. They have plenty of gigs too and a facebook page, so check them out .. The only bad thing I would say about this pub, is the fact that it is a bit of a bitch to park outside ..
what a cracking boozer,its like walking into the 70s.
real nice beer!!
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