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Despite the name, this bright bar deals more in bottled craft beers than hand-pumped ales. The jukebox is great, and so’s the food.
How many city-centre bars do you know that’ll let you sit at a table and eat a mammoth portion of fried potatoes from the next-door chippy? Not many. What about while supping on a Schneider Weisse Tap 6? Yeah, we thought not. This gesture of civility has, no doubt, played a part in Cask’s enduring success. The day Fish Hut goes under will be a sad one for all involved.
Among these already not insignificant advantages, Cask has the good fortune to be spitting distance from the Museum of Science and Industry and flush with business-heavy Castlefield. Which means you’ll find a good mix of post-work regulars and one-offers, attracted perhaps by the vibrancy of its blue facade. An inspired jukebox, cosy patio area, and affable bartenders round things off nicely.
In spite of the name, however, the number of cask ales on offer is CAMRA-worryingly small, at a mere four. Still, rather that than a place struggling to shift 12 lines’ worth of rapidly staling ale. What you will find is hand-pull appearances from respected brewers like Dark Star, Phoenix and Tickety Brew. And the expansive range of bottles will more than compensate those who prefer their beer with a little carbonation. Think Belgian and German, rather than American: from crisp pilseners like Jever to the exemplary Hefeweizen Maisel’s Weisse; and a couple of Brasserie de La Senne’s output, including the eccentric, bitter Taras Boulba. You might even see Dutch brewing maestros De Molen in the fridge.
Cider drinkers have a better than average choice – opt for the fearsome Gwatkin’s Yarlington Mill or ask the staff for more exotic options. And the backbar ain’t too shabby, either. The only negative in all this (well, apart from some very dingey loos)? You’ll need even steelier resolve to avoid deep-fried naughtiness after a few pints.