The Thirsty Scholar is a pub found within the arches of the railway bridge which crosses Oxford Road. It’s one of three pubs, the others being The Sailsbury and Grand Central, which are all nestled near the old steps leading up to Oxford Road Station. All three pubs have something of an old fashioned rock sensibility about them, and, unlike many Manchester pubs of a certain era, they’ve not had their edges filed down.
What makes The Thirsty Scholar stand out, aside from it being housed within a railway bridge, is the surprising all-Vegan food menu. Where both Grand Central and The Sailsbury are Metal, The Scholar is a more Mod-inspired pub and nowhere is this more clear than on the menu for MOD’s Vegan Cafe. The brainchild of former Pop Cafe chef DJ Martin The Mod (who you can find spinning Motown, Ska and Northern Soul records in the pub on Saturday nights), MOD’s Vegan Cafe serves up plant-based curry, chilly, burgers, breakfasts and even fish and chips.
The drink selection here is decent, with all a wide choice of lagers on tap as well as the odd German wheat beer and half a dozen cask ales from which to choose. It’s exactly what you would expect and goes down well with the nicely worn wooden decor and beer mat adorned walls. A bonus for the pub is its excellent under-arch seating which can cope with all the rain Manchester can throw at it and makes for a good Instagrammable spot when lit at night.
A lively venue often soundtracked by live musicians, The Thirsty Scholar offers a bit of throwback of a pub experience but in just the right way and with a modern, plant-based menu.