What? You’ve never been to The Marble Arch Rich? Nope. Most times I go to Manchester it’s for a reason; Grand Final, beer festivals and maybe call in somewhere for a quick one on the way back to the station. That’s about it really.
I probably ought to pop across more often, thing is, it just seems all unnecessary when I’ve got Leeds on my door step. I used to go quite a lot, but that was a long time ago, so when I do venture west of the pennines it’s usually quite a pleasant experience.
None more so than Marble Arch, which was the only pub/bar I called into that had anything like a decent atmosphere going on. Like a city centre pub should be on a Thursday afternoon. Not too packed so that you couldn’t get a seat, but busy enough to make you seek out somewhere to sit; to create a bit of a buzz, a vibe, a sense of ‘there’s something happening here’.
I reckon it was about 4.30pm when we called in. A mixed bag, all sorts of people, all ages and not really after work drinkers, all deep in conversation and pints of beer, an odd one or two eating.
From the outside it looks just like any other pub on the edge lands of the city centre. Albeit an imposing and impressive facade. One of those, should have been at the end of a parade of shops, with a terrace of streets running down the side pubs, sat in the ‘we’ve pulled it down and using it for a car park before they build more student flats on it, zone’.
A red, half polished Granite, half brick, sentinel of bygone days with all the history around it demolished. I never realised it was so close to the excellent Wing Yip Chinese supermarket on nearby, across the road, other side of the block, Oldham Road, which I have been to.
It’s only when you go inside that you really go Wow! Because this is a stunner. All glazed bricks and tiling. A strangely sloping floor leads down to the bar in the far right corner of the single main room, why did they do it like that, I wonder? There’s an inverted wooden and glass porch (there’s probably a proper name for this sort of vestibule) to keep the weather out and the pub cosy.
The ceiling is of vaulted brick and steel construction, quite unusual and very underground railway stationesque. I spent most of the time craning my neck upwards. Everywhere you look there’s something new to see, a little quirk, the names of various beverages picked out in glazed tiles. When you’re not looking up, peer down to the mosaic flooring that edges the left half of the wooden flooring. And just to put the cherry on top of the icing, a real fire too.
The beer was decent. Mostly Marble beers, it would be wouldn’t it in their brewery tap, the pub used to house the brewery which is still nearby. You can’t go wrong with Marble beers and I’d rate the ALF hazy IPA I had as NBSS 3.75. Wasn’t cheap though at £5.25 a pint, but very nice. You can get a pint of Pint for £3.30 or Bitter for £3.55, which is decent, considering.
Top pub, top beer, excellent crack. In my top whatever, and definitely worth the train fare from Leeds, it’s so good.