Next door to The Vine Inn and round the corner from a Wetherspoons, the City Arms has managed to remain a city centre stalwart despite the competition. Loved by suits and tourists alike, you’ll need to elbow your way through this cosy two-room pub at peak hours.
The beer is unlikely to pique the interest of the younger generation of craft beer lovers, but a loyal CAMRA following means you’ll rarely get a duff pint. And sometimes that’s just what you need: a quiet escape where the beer is well kept and the only beards in sight are on wizened old ale hounds.
On the eight hand pulls, you’ll find locally-sourced ales (they won a LocAle award for promoting the stuff in 2013 and 2014) which often feature the reliable Hornbeam from Denton and Stoke-on- Trent’s Titanic Brewery. The former’s Galaxy Pale Ale, with its lively Galaxy and Mount Hood hop aroma, isn’t half bad and the latter’s stout has been winning awards since the ‘90s. As far as house beers go, Burnley-based Moorhouse’s Pride of Pendle is one of the fastest out of the pumps. And don’t pass up a Timothy Taylor’s Landlord if it’s available. Moving with the times, they now do beer flights (starting around the £3 mark) – three different thirds to maximise choice.
Food is firmly rooted in bar snack past, with pickled eggs and pies the default options. But it’s the leather banquettes, stained glass and vintage photos that’ll linger in the memory. You’ll recommend it to people even if you rarely go.