Love of the Common People

(Paul Young)

‘Common’ is a bar that is located on Edge Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Edge Street runs parallel and to the north of to the busier and trendier Thomas Street but is still host to a couple of interesting bars, including ‘Terrace’ which runs between Thomas Street and Edge Street.

Common Bar, Manchester - at

I guess the easiest way to describe ‘Common’ is ‘6th Form Common Room Chic’. The décor is deliberately 6th form, although the artwork on the walls and windows is updated frequently, a bit like changing your PC’s desktop theme. It might look different but it’s essentially the same underneath.

As you might determine from the picture above, ‘Common’ seems to be growing, extending along Edge Street to nestle up to ‘Home Sweet Home’ – of which more another time.

My understanding is that ‘Common’ is owned and operated by the same team that run the excellent Port Street Beer House, of which more another time. This means that for all its grungy bohemian atmosphere, it does stock some excellent beers, there are about ten beer taps, which is more than most pubs.

The bar at Common, Manchester - at

It’s not uncommon (no pun intended) to see beers from brewers like Thornbridge, Red Willow and Kernel on tap, although they do have an irritating policy of serving the (ahem) more ‘robust’ brews in half pints. Okay, for younger punters I can understand, but I’m in my mid fifties for heaven’s sake, I know what I’m doing if I order a seven per cent beer.

The food is pretty good, they serve a reasonable selection of burgers, well cooked, and I have heard good reports of their Falafel, but cannot confirm this.

Maple Bacon Burger at Common, Manchester - at

There’s music, although my experience on my visits it that it tends to be trancey stuff that seems to be written by the yard, but doubtless it caters to its core clientele. A clientele that is, for the most part, bohemian and trendy, many dressing ten or fifteen years younger than they probably ought.

There are a number of online and webby companies in the surrounding streets, so there’s WiFi in the bar, but heaven forfend anybody taking in a laptop that doesn’t have a glowing apple logo in its lid. The horror!

Mac users at Common, Manchester NQ - from

Common host live DJ’s at weekends (or so I understand), and a quiz on alternate Wednesdays. And while I enjoy quizzes, I once witnessed a round of “seventies and eighties children’s TV themes” and wouldn’t have scored a single point.

So while I am fully aware that I am NOT part of Common’s target audience, I find it a good place to stop off; the food’s good and, as I mentioned earlier, they usually have a good selection of interesting beers.

Rating: ★★★★☆

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