Now it's got a state-of-the-art beer dispensing system, a champagne table and new weekly events
If you went to Salford uni or had mates that did, you’ll have spent some time in The Old Pint Pot. Originally a school, this prominent pub overlooking the River Irwell started its pub life as The Adelphi Riverside in the eighties and became The Old Pint Pot in the mid nineties, diligently serving throngs of students and locals.
Everyone comes together here. We have a real mix of people, and it works
With several pub closures in the area of late but a spate of developments happening right over the road, Marston’s - the brewery that owns TOPP - have decided it’s time for some investment into the venue and have given it a makeover.
Pub operator Craig Williams chatted to us about what he hopes these changes will bring.
With around 1500 people predicted to move into the area in the next six months, it’s adapt or die for pubs like The Old Pint Pot.
Craig says, “The venue was good at what it did. It did what it said on the tin. Lots of people liked it for that but we want to widen the appeal and give the pub what it deserves.”
But there has been some resistance from existing customers. Some people seem concerned that these changes mean TOPP is no longer for them. Craig is adamant that they are not turning their backs on students or existing locals and that they are proud to welcome a broad mix of people.
“We have lots of locals, new people, students, international students and tourists. Everyone comes together here. We have a real mix of people, and it works, you can’t often say that about a Salford pub!”
"We want to be the go-to, unofficial student place. There is a students' union but we are a second home. Students really like the place. They liked it as it was before and it’s still a quirky interesting space. It’s not been a bland makeover with a lick of paint. We’ve made it colourful, we’ve made it lively. It’s still a vibrant place to be.”
In response to negative comments Craig says, “You’re always going to get a bit of that because people were comfortable with what it was. Lots of people are against change. But it’s a positive change. All they have to do is come down and see it.”
“We’re not adding a pound onto a pint. We’re not going crazy. We’re just making a better pub and catering better to the people that we serve. It’s still going to be an affordable, pleasant place to come with a lively atmosphere.”
So what’s changed?
The pub has been given a new look with colourful wallpaper, quirky signs, and mix ’n match, up-cycled furniture. There are some nods to the local area with a huge clock printed with a map of Salford and vintage posters. But it has been given a bit of glamour too with a dedicated champagne table in one corner. Regulars will be glad to hear that the toilets have also been refurbished.
Ostensibly the biggest change, a state-of-the-art and first-of-its-kind overhead beer dispense system - Palm Pour - has been installed. Craig says, “It comes from behind the bar, over your head and down. The idea is to encourage more interaction so there’s no blockages between you and the customer - and lot more bar space.”
Being a Marston’s pub, the range of beer on offer will largely come from the brewery's 40+ brands. But Craig is in talks with local breweries to add a local one as well. Along with the changing seasonal Marston’s beers they have, there is talk of external tap takeovers and beer launches.
The menu isn’t really changing but Craig says, “It was a good menu anyway. Lots of gluten free options, vegan options, it’s not your bland managed pub menu. It’s small and relevant to these types of pubs and it is relevant to our clientele."
They will be doing Sunday roasts eventually too.
Already well known for live bands and open mic nights, Craig says this will not only continue but there will be even more live music both downstairs and up. The new programme of events includes a new quiz night on Mondays, the existing open mic on Tuesdays, student nights on Wednesdays and Thursdays, a singer in the bar every Friday and a comedy night every Sunday - taking advantage of the newly installed stage area.
The refurb has opened up more employment opportunities so they have taken on some new staff and will be recruiting more. The team has been in training during the down time and are fighting fit and ready for the grand re-opening. Training has focused on the customer experience and product knowledge to match the ever higher standards of service in Greater Manchester.
Something that thankfully hasn’t changed is the beautiful view from the beer garden which is packed out in the summer months. There are a lot of outdoor drinking areas in Manchester but it’s rare to find somewhere within walking distance of Deansgate that has such a spectacular, natural view. Let’s hope that doesn’t change too much with the development of the area.
TOPP have an opening party today, all day and night. A ‘local dignitary’ will be cutting the ribbon and Shock Radio FM broadcasting all day. There will be live music, fire breathers and stilt walkers in the evening to add a bit of atmosphere.
The pub reopens on September 13th and everybody is welcome.
The Old Pint Pot, 2 Adelphi Street Salford M3 6EN