North Taproom sits at the heart of Oxford Road’s Circle Square, serving up everything from small-batch craft ale to high-end cocktails, alongside a well-designed menu of Asian street food.
The Manchester venue might be relatively new, opening in early 2023, but the history of North Taproom stretches back to the late nineties when owners John and Christian opened their first bar in Leeds, going on to open multiple locations around the UK. These guys are in it for the long haul, and it shows. The staff here are among the best in Manchester – friendly and cheerful, and always keen to help, whether that’s recommending a new beer or giving a treat to a visiting dog.
Despite its smart modern looks – all high ceilings, huge windows and sleek design features – this laid-back relaxed atmosphere means North Taproom has the pleasing feel of an old-school pub. You’ll drink among a huge range of people, including post-work drinkers, tourists, students and ale experts. Everyone’s welcome, making it ideal for anything from first dates to birthday gatherings.
Of course, the big draw is the drinks menu. Beer lovers will be in heaven thanks to the ever-changing and vast menu of ales, both on tap and from the wall of fridges (sold at shop prices if you want to take away).
Prefer grapes over hops? The wine list is small but expertly put together, with some top-tier reds, whites and rosés – all reasonably priced – and a tempting section dedicated to natural and orange wines.
The specials menu is exactly that – unique and made with more than a dash of inspiration. The current summer drinks specials include two of the finest tipples in the city: the Blueberry Smash, a tangy, refreshing blend of blueberry compote, lemon, mint and gin; and the Schoffmosa, a glorious combination of Schofferhofer grapefruit and sparkling wine.
The food menu maintains this level of quality. Headed up by the wildly popular Little Bao Boy street food vendor, the North staff also have input into the menu, leading to remarkable dishes such as the Thai red curry noodle broth on the summer specials menu.
As for bao buns, the salt & pepper aubergine is an unmissable option, thanks to a showstopping sriracha and hoi sin sauce, but the authentic gyozas, crunchy oyster mushroom bites and beautiful fresh salads are all worth exploring. Pleasingly, the menu showcases plenty of top-tier vegan dishes, delivering a wealth of powerful flavours in ethical, plant-based form.
Looking for value for money? Astonishingly, each of these hearty dishes comes in at around the £5 mark, often less. And there’s even a lunchtime deal where you can get two bao buns and a pint for a mere tenner.
North Taproom doesn’t put a foot wrong. From drinks to food, everything is pitch-perfect. Throw in a great-looking venue, happy staff and a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and this is a place you’ll want to return to over and over again.