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Rain Bar, Castlefield

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user reviews of the Rain Bar, Castlefield

please note - reviews on this site are purely the opinion of site visitors, so don't take them too seriously.

A likeable pub, mainly notable for canalside drinking, but with a good pint of the MPA, which seemed to be selling well. Good standards of service and a mixed crowd.
mtaylor40 - 11 May 2015 23:05
Great for a sit outside on a sunny day! The only downside is that they serve drinks in plastic glasses, but this is understandable as people tend to spill out of the outdoor seating area and down to the canal when it's busy. A decent variety of real ales on offer, stayed for a couple and both pints were enjoyable, though would have been better in a proper glass.
RealAleRobUK - 16 Jul 2013 15:55
Only ever been in the Rain Bar during the afternoon but have always found it a pleasant enough place for a pint and a chat. They had Lee's Coronation Street Ale on the last time I was in which was in good form. The pub is well looked after and very clean, if lacking in real atmosphere.
It is a decent place to get some cheap food and is definitely a step up from a Wetherspoons. There are a lot of good pubs within close vicinity but I would chose to go into here for a relaxing drink and some grub.
DixieLand - 21 Mar 2013 20:02
Paid a swift visit to this JW Lees house yesterday afternoon. 5 of their beers were on - Bitter, The Governor, Brewer's Dark, John Willie's & Hopmeister. Seemed to be more popular with a younger crowd than some of the other nearby pubs. The interior is quite spacious and there is also a large terrace overlooking the canal at the rear. Ok, but there are better options in the vicinity.
blue_scrumpy - 25 Sep 2011 15:52
Lees is (on the whole) a filthy pint of beer, but here they do their best with it (which is basically just putting glitter on a turd). However, it's a great pub on a sunny day, because it's one of the very few pubs in Manchester with much outside seating down by the Rochdale canal, and the food is pretty good, but the rest of the time it's just a possible stopping off point between The Salisbury and the Briton's Protection.
Pukon - 28 Mar 2011 00:06
I always stay near to this pub when in Manchester as this is a gem of a pub. Just love JW Lees beer and the choice of all the ales are always so well kept. Love the staff, really friendly, the tables are clean and are cleared quickly. The food is really to die for and I do not say that often. The downside is that this lovely pub closes early in the evening on a weekday which is sad as they could have so much business from the local hotels if they advertised in them.
Buster211009 - 9 Mar 2010 19:10
I loved the architecture of this building and had a cracking pint of lee's for reasonable money. One to add to my list when visiting Manchester for a few beers, a shame I've only found it now summer has gone as the outside seating area overlooking the canal looks very pleasent indeed.
boltonbloke - 13 Oct 2009 20:03
Modern, warehouse conversion with spacious, dark wood interior but sterile atmosphere. JW Lees range of ales. I had a pint of Coronation Street, which was slightly lacking in the flavour department. There is outside seating overlooking the Rochdale Canal, which was busy with just-finished workers.
Bouncers on the door when we passed later in the evening.
holbornboy - 15 Jun 2009 12:27
Agree with Rob, prices are good for MCR centre, If you can stomach JW Lee's beer! We visited on a Friday night after a gig, good atmosphere, mixed friendly crowd and nice canalside location. Not bad at all.
lill1971 - 28 Apr 2009 11:23
Had a pint of Hopping Mad the Lees seasonal which was 2.71 on Saturday. I still don't think that's bad when a pint of GK IPA is 2.75 in the Lass O Gowrie.
ROBCamra - 30 Mar 2009 11:45
JW Lees Bitter, John Willies, Brewers Dark, Moonraker (7.5%). JWs 2.90pp! Dunno where RobCamra is drinking to say that is relatively cheap round here? Large pub with diverse areas & seating styles, woody snug to left of entrance, booths & tall tables around bar-area, small lounge beyond, plenty of picnic sets outside next to canal presumably make it a summer hotspot. Impressed by friendly staff.
trainman - 4 Feb 2009 11:20
Modern pub converted from an umbrella factory, hence the name, rather than the Manchester weather. Lee's pub selling Bitter, John Willies and at least one of the seasonals. Pricey for a Lee's pub but pretty cheap for Manchester city centre. Decent beer, good wine list, good range of food. It's a nice place to go with the other half. Packed in summer at lunchtimes and early evenings with the office crowd, but very pleasant early evening at the weekend.
ROBCamra - 13 Jan 2009 14:31
Decent range of Lees beers (2 bitters, the Dark and Moonraker) at the most expensive prices I've ever seen for a Lees pub. Quality OK though.
oftenscore6 - 11 Dec 2008 16:41
Lacks charactor, but isn't as bad as previous reviewers indicate. Nice spot on the canal. Four ales, which were all on and tasted fine. Food not bad either. Nice patio area to sit on a sunny afternoon.
TheHorsesMouth - 30 May 2008 15:36
Cracking pub. Very modern and trendy. Good for a quick drink after work and sitting by the canal or for a few drinks on a night out. Worth a visit.
Gem1800 - 27 Jun 2007 12:29
Wouldn't let my mate in as he was wearing shorts, so we took out money to Peveril of the Peak. Bunch of wasters and we will never return.
JonW999 - 11 Jun 2007 21:33
Trash. Lee's should be ashamed off themselves. Aggresive and impolite doorstaff. Beer is consistently off. My advice is try the nearby Peveril of the Peak, Britons Protection. Or go home with a bottle of Meths.
anonymous - 16 Apr 2007 22:09
Had a very bad experience in here about a month ago. It was a very busy friday evening, and I couldn't get a seat anywhere, so though i'd pop in to Rain bar as I'd never given it a go. Thankfully there were some seat in the upstairs area with only a few people drinking in (it was packed downstairs). Thus I counted my lucky stars and my friends went off to buy th round, I sat down, directly in fron of some of the staff who were busying themselves at the (closed) upstairs bar. Clearly my friends took a while as it was crowded and about 5-10 minutes later they returned with my pint. However, with barely a sip gone from my pint we were rather bruskly informed that the area was closing. This in itself seems absurd as it was a very crowded evening, with little standing room downstairs, and the only reason why we were in the establishment was because it was the only place we could find seats. However, it was not this that wrangled the most; what really put me off was the aggresive, impolite manner in which we were told to leave - I was in the middle of recording a phone number of a mate and tried to finish this process before moving along, only to be treated like trespassers rather than paying customers. Needless to say I shan't be returning any time soon.
bensonby - 14 Mar 2007 14:37
Good lunchtime food, if ever so slightly on the pricey side for the size of portions.The Mild and Bitter BOTH went off as we got served, so that left the Moonraker - too heavy for a lunchtime pint - or their speciality brew of the moment, the Plum Porter, which was excellent, but again not a session beer. Interesting building, but really felt devoid of any soul and character. Shame - it could have been so much better...
Gristy - 20 Feb 2007 11:19
A bit trendy and cavernous for my personal taste. Only three handpumps on for my visit: a mild, a strong seasonal brew and Moonraker. Worth a visit but not somewhere I'd spend a session.
Rich66 - 21 Jan 2007 15:48
i have to disagree with bingo_accent. i think rain bar provides great service, seeing as how small the bar and the number of staff serving the number of people who come in. I'm a regular there and see how fast these staff work, especially on a friday night, the amount of people that push and shout thery're way at the bar, i wouldn't serve the shits at all.
the only thing i think is really that bad about rain bar is the music is really bad, no wonder the staff can't concerntrate.
legless - 11 Oct 2006 14:40
Rain used to be one of my favourite pubs in Manchester - indeed it was the scene of the first date with my wife.

However, I'm getting close to giving up on it, after one too many visits characterised by poor service from bar staff who just don't seem to care.

With a number of other places close by, for us old-but-not-that-old 30-somethings - The Briton's Protection, The Pev, Cask, The Knott - what's the point in banging your head against the bar waiting to get served?
Bingo_Accent - 5 Jun 2006 22:16
This is a reasonable pub and very popular with the after-work crowd. It's best in the summer with it large outdoor area, and there are some new outdoor heaters. Great beer from JW Lees and ace wine selection but it lacks the atmosphere and character of its neighbours. Best if you are in a large group.
kball68 - 11 Dec 2005 16:06
I like this pub... Tho Its a stop off rather than a session pub...A few halves of Moonraker are usually enough to help you brave the Manchester weather as you head to your next port of call...Nice in summer when you can stand out the back trying to work out where that bloody canal goes!!...The Brewery did an excellent job did whoever left a bottle of champers on the table the night I walked in for a celebration drink..Your loss was my drunkeness!.Chin chin!!
kierandinan - 19 Feb 2005 00:20
Watch out for the Lee's beers here at the moment! They are tasting foisty in the extreme... :o/ I had a pint of Brooklyn Best last week, which tasted the same as if I'd dunked my pint glass in the canal. I notice that it's been off ever since, so they're now on 3/5 pumps in action... Not that I'm entirely back in the mood to trust them again yet... :o/
Andy - 4 May 2004 13:24
John Willie Lees Brewery flagship pub in Manchester. Excellent if you like that brewerys beers, as they have them all on. The beers can be an aquired taste to some. A little expensive, as compared to their beers in pubs of less plush surroundings.
frank - 26 Dec 2003 13:51
Can't see what the fuss is about.It's an OK pub that could do with a better selection of cask ales other than Lees.
Food seemed OK,service was great and it is a good summer pub but wouldn't frequent it in the winter.
I think it is overhyped in the extreme
boddies_drinker - 9 Oct 2003 16:50
Nice building and location. Beware that if you order food upstairs you're not entitled to the offers advertised downstairs, despite, I'm sure, the fact that they're prepared in the same room!
James - 4 Jul 2003 12:13
Great place - comfortable, well kept, lovely soft seating upstairs with a nice view of the canal. Especially well suited for an outdoor beer in the sunshine, watching canal boats go through the lock... very nice.

Beer selection includes your smoothflow normals, but also the J.W. Lees own brands on handpull - which are pretty tasty. Give the Brooklyn Best a try.

Good food (some pushing into the higher price range), but very tasty.

Beware downstairs gents. As they are below the waterline of the canal, they have a.. distinctive odour.. There's always the ones upstairs. ;o)
Andy - 9 Jun 2003 09:18
Terrible place! no atmosphere,really bad music which doesn't suit the clientelle and manager's that try to be important and special when it's basically a hyped-up wetherspoons at best. Stick to the pev over the road,much more pleasant
Adam Pope - 1 Jun 2003 03:34
Superb place! It has the best salad bar that I have ever seen, the drinks are good, the decor pleasant and the service excellent!
SIMON KERINS - 30 May 2003 13:37
Fabulous pub in a fabulous location on the canal basin now surrounded by trendy appartments. Lees flagship bar and unfortunately its downfall as it only sells Lees. Somehow won bar of the year a few years back, they obviously didnt try drinking there. Would be stunning if only the beer was better.
echo - 9 May 2003 18:12

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