Raise a Glass: The Refuge

Across Manchester and in the surrounding towns and communities, our Fresh as F**K lager is being pulled, poured and served up by the pint - and sometimes by the can - in a score of the city’s most acclaimed hospitality venues. 

Ranging from fine-dining eateries to clubs, bars, live music spots and even local public houses, those who make up our select list of stockists truly make our brand what it is, assisting in delivering our product from brewery to you in less than 24 hours. 

These essential cornerstones of our society, places of creativity and congregation, where many friendships have been forged, tales been told and legends spawned, are all too often overlooked, in our humble opinion. And so, in honour of our dear friends and stockists, we’ve dedicated a regular space on the Manchester Union blog to shout about those who lovingly champion our passionately crafted lagers and their places of business.


Kicking off this brand new feature, we explore the fascinating history behind The Refuge, one of Manchester’s swankiest and most iconic venues, whilst also uncovering what makes the bar such a popular destination amongst the public.

Taking its name from the company which once owned and occupied its many rooms and hallways, The Refuge Assurance Company Limited, this former ground-floor office space turned dining room and public bar was part of a larger design first envisioned and brought to life by legendary architect, Alfred Waterhouse in 1895.

Situated on Oxford Road, the distinctive building with its magnificent clock tower, soaring 200 feet above the ground below, has endured over 100 years of history since its opening, including one of humanity’s darkest periods - World War Two.

One of only a few to withstand the blitz period, between 1940 and 1941, the striking structure appeared out of the smoke relatively unscathed (A pretty amazing feat considering more than 578 tons of explosives were dropped across the city during the war) and entered the years to follow with a new lease of life. 

Transformed from a tired and dated place of work into a retreat for rest and recuperation, the building became known as The Charterhouse Hotel in 1987, quickly changing hands again in 1996, becoming The Palace Hotel. 

Fast forward to the present day and after a recent £25 million renovation, the city centre landmark, now named The Kimpton Clocktower, is the site of one of the city’s most elegant and sophisticated meeting points - The Refuge by Volta. 

Boasting 10,000 square feet of floor space, this well-frequented social hub features one of the most spectacular interiors in the city. Its huge ceilings and abundance of original architecture - from its breathtaking archways and illuminating chandeliers to its ambient ‘Winter Garden’ room - will have you aghast from the moment you walk through the door. Throw in a menu of tempting dishes, combining local produce with international ideas and flavours, a bar stocked with every liquor and only the finest wines and beers - including our very own Manchester Union Lager on tap - and it should become apparent as to why The Refuge is one of the busiest ports of call for foodies, socialites and nightlife revellers. 

Sounds good, right? Well, it gets better… Following a slap-up meal and a few shandies or cocktails, guests on any given evening can expect to hear and, if they so wish, get up and dance to a soundtrack courtesy of a plethero of Mancunian DJs.


Appetite sufficiently whetted? Fancy experiencing the many delights The Refuge has to offer for yourself? Take a look at some of the upcoming events at the stunning venue below…

Visit The Refuge Facebook page for more details - www.https://www.facebook.com/therefugemcr