After touring London for Real Ale, we are back in the UK. This time visiting Northern England and exploring some of the best craft beer bars in Manchester and Leeds. The occasion? Besides our birthday, Origins (Michele aka Miber and Dani aka Timeleft) were invited by Clandestino to DJ at Distrikt Bar. Off we flew, this time a group of 4 and many beers ahead of us.


North Bar

Only there for one night, we visited Leeds in the afternoon before our night out. North Bar was our first stop, a must visit if you are in the city. One of the pioneers in the craft beer boom in the North of England, they are open since 1997, and still serving a fine and comprehensive selection of craft beers from the continent and the US. Keg and cask beers available. Expect friendly and informative staff, an informal atmosphere and a lot of fun.

Whitelock’s Ale House

Peering into Turk’s Head Yard, we stumbled across Whitelock’s Ale House on our way downtown. Hidden down a narrow alley off Leeds main shopping street, Briggate, you will find a large outdoor beer “garden” and an evident pub atmosphere. They serve a wide range of real ale and craft beers – many from Yorkshire breweries. We tried an Amarillo APA from Wilde Child, based in Leeds. Best when the sun goes down.

Friends of Ham

Our last stop was at Friends of Ham serving artisan hams, charcuterie, cheese and craft beer on draft. A British restaurant that made us feel at home, with some beautifully sliced meat and cheese mainly from Spain, Italy and also Britain. They have 10 beers on draft with an additional 4 cask ales. The setting is relaxed with large wooden shared tabes and dim lightning. We had an excellent plate of Italian charcuterie. Yummy!


Whitelock's Ale House

Manchester Day 1.

After an amazing and long night out, we arrived in Manchester in the early afternoon. We dropped our bags in our apartment, located in the heart of trendy Northern Quarter, and began exploring the neighborhood. The sun was shining high.

Port Street Beer House

After some shopping, we headed to Port Street Beer House garden to clench our thirst. A modern beer pub, it is a classic for any craft beer lover in Manchester. They have 7 beers on cask, 18 draft lines and over a 100 bottled beers, a real craft beer heaven! The interior is cozy and welcoming, with dark parquet and a saloon bar upstairs with some larger tables to share a beer with friends. We sat in their beer garden and enjoyed the lazy atmosphere of Saturday afternoon. We tasted Blood of the Saints, a fresh New England Pale Ale from Hopcraft Brewing (Wales) and Rustique, a delicious Farmhouse IPA from Lervig.

Café Beermoth

Our second stop was at Café Beermoth, situated in Spring Gardens, city centre. A Belgian-style beer cafe featuring 16 rotating beer lines and the Belgian Ale, Taras Boulba from Brasserie de la Senne, as their house beer. The space is big, with an industrial decor and especially high ceilings. We shared one of their comfy dining booths along the large glass windows overlooking street. Behind the long bar you can observe the cellar through plate glass. They have a varied selection of ales, sours, wild beers and stouts. We tasted a Mosaic Pale Ale from Hawkshead Brewery (Stavely, Cumbria).

The Pilcrow Pub

To end the day, we visited The Pilcrow Pub, a contemporary pub situated in the NOMA district. The bar is a crafted wooden lodge, built by volunteers as part of a community project to reinvent this area. The special design sets it apart from any other venue we’ve visited so far. They serve 17 beers (3 on casks and 14 kegs), prices are on the higher-end. They do have an amazing terrace with abundant tables to share. There was even a DJ playing some good tunes and good vibes in the air…

Manchester Day 2.

Sunday was Tess’s 27th birthday and we enjoyed a beautiful day with temperatures above 20ºC. It definitely felt like the beginning of summer. There was a marathon going on around the city and most main streets were blocked and full of people, giving the city a festive air.


After walking down Canal Street and touring the gay village, heat hitting hard, we were thirsty for our first beer. Luckily BrewDog saved us, being the only one opened so early in the morning and located in the city centre. Expect to find the usual industrial touch with low lightning and a refreshing terrace out front with large wooden tables to be shared.

The Knott

After seeing the last runners cross the finish line, we headed to The Knott – a small bar popping out beside a railway arch, near Deansgate station. They have a comprehensive list of local and international brews. Some breweries featured were Buxton, Thornbridge, Red Willow… Offering a wide range of beer types, we enjoyed our beer on their second floor terrace overlooking Bridgewater Viaduct.

A perfect pit stop before our Sunday Roast at The Refuge… the place is just magnificent: a 1890s building, former Refuge Assurance Company, now restored, with with lofty ceilings, decorative tiling, lustrous winter garden… the space smells of modern Glamour.

Cloudwater Barrel Store Tap Room

Cloudwater Brewery has rapidly established itself as a major player in the city’s brewing scene since its opening. It was named the second best in the world at the RaterBeer awards of 2017 and is not to be missed for anyone visiting Manchester.

Located in an industrial areal just besides Manchester Picadilly, Cloudwater Barrel Store Tap Room was quiet when we arrived in the Sunday afternoon. With 11 taps available and a fridge full of cans, you are sure to be well served. We tasted a DIPA Cryo Amarillo and would have stayed for more if not for our train leaving to the airport…


We had an amazing time in Northern England and we want to come back to explore Manchester’s craft beer scene more thoroughly. Even if we had a limited time in the city and could only visit a couple venues, we totally recommend you to continue exploring Manchester. Here is your essential map: