The Pub Guide, 2013

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The Circus Tavern, Manchester

Posted on 19. Oct, 2012 by in Pubs

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The Circus Tavern, Manchester

The Circus Tavern is a tiny pub located in the centre of Manchester. It is considered by CAMRA to be one of the Top Ten Real Heritage Pubs in Britain due to its unspoilt interior.

Brief History

According to the Visit Britain Super Blog and Time Out, the building dates back to 1790 and was transformed from a house into a pub around 1840. Time Out adds the Circus Tavern is named so because performers from the city’s then-permanent circus used to frequent there.


The Circus is one of Tetley’s Heritage pub and the interior features one of the smallest bars in Europe, perhaps even the smallest. At just a few feet long, the bar is nestled in the corner of the hallway in the pub near the entrance and features a t-bar dispensing lager, cider and John Smiths Smooth along with one handpump serving Tetley’s Cask.

The unusual location of the bar results in a bit of congestion and when I visited the bar maids appeared to be offering table service to the adjoining rooms. The two small rooms at the front and rear of the pub offer some seating but in all there is probably room for no more than 30 pr so people.

The pub is popular with football and rugby fans who quickly fill the pub before matches. The hallway is decorated with dozens of sporting photos and paraphernalia including photos of famous Manchester United footballers. The other rooms also feature an equally large range of memorabilia.

The Beer

Beer is very limited at the Circus. As it’s a Tetley’s owned pub, the only cask available is one of theirs (Tetley’s Cask was available when I visited in October).

More Photos of the Circus Tavern

Venue Location

Circus Tavern

86 Portland Street


M1 4GX

Tel: 0161 236 5818

(Twitter: @awv)

Beer Taster, Pub Attendee, Photo Taker

Robert Gale likes beer, pubs and beer festivals. He also likes to take photos of beer, pubs and beer festivals. Most weekends of the year you can find him travelling around the UK (and sometimes beyond) photographing and reviewing good quality pubs and beer festivals. He also has a day job in the form of a web developer for Ozum.

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