Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The great outdoor

The photo below is of a pub in Wythenshawe, South Manchester in the early 70's.

My Mum who grew up down the road went in the off-licence on the left for bottles of Guinness in the 60's. The "outdoor" as it was popularly known was also where you bought draught beer to take away in jugs.

The "outdoor" at the Silver Birch is long gone, along with Wilsons Brewery in North Manchester that owned it, but the pub itself is still there and as this photo shows it's been knocked through and added to the rest of the pub as many a snug and vault were in the 70's.

I don't know of any pubs that still have an off-sales counter where you can buy bottled and draught beer to take away. I'm not sure why though – I'd certainly use one if it was available.


  1. The pub I grew up in had an off-licence. It was basically a cupboard with a hatch facing on to the street. My parents used to sit my grandad in it with a Louis Lamour novel and a packet of Players No 6 on, I think, Saturday afternoons, and leave him to deal with the off-trade. Weird -- hadn't thought about it for years.

  2. When I was a kid in the 60s our local pub had an off licence door that led to a small counter where you could get bottles and draught to take home, and where we'd sometimes go in for a glass of water during the summer holidays. Not only has the off licence door gone, the whole pub was demolished some years ago.

    Orwell mentions pub off licences in his essay The Moon Under Water and he uses the other name that they were often known by - the bottle and jug.

  3. The Park Brow in Kirkby, an estate pub just across the road from where I often stayed as a kid, had a separate outdoor which I often went into to return empty lemonade bottles; I was always allowed to keep the refunds. The pub still exist, though I'm sure the outdoor doesn't.

    My local in Southport, the Guest House, still had a separate door that until recently displayed the etched words "Outdoor" in the glass. About a year ago, I noticed the glass had been changed and asked the licensee, but she knew nothing about it. I've no personal recollection of that entrance being used as an outdoor.