Raise A Glass: Withington Public Hall
More than your average watering hole, Withington Public Hall or ‘Whippy’, as it's known by the locals, has stood firm in the centre of the Manchester suburb from which it takes its name, for long over a century.
Built back in 1861, the building was donated to the people of Withington by its then-owner, Lord Egerton of Tatton, known publicly as a pioneer of aviation, photography and an early filmmaker. Serving its community, a focus which has remained at its core throughout its history, the hall once existed as a library for a time whilst doubling up as a public house, serving heady refreshments to its regulars throughout the days of restricted opening hours during the First World War (1914 - 1918). Gaining the nickname ‘The Homewreckers’ from women living in the areas surrounding the pub, it was well known as a place whereby men could find a drink long after the 11 pm curfew.
Fast forward to the present day and although the days of restrictions, in every sense of the word, seem to be behind us, the Whippy is still where it’s always been, still serving up the frothy good stuff and bringing entertainment, education and meaning to its neighbourhood.
Now run as a self-proclaimed ‘more-than-profit social enterprise’, with all profits being reinvested into the building and local initiatives, the venue is probably more significant to the area today than its ever been. Upholding the vision Lord Egerton once had, it’s now become a registered Community Interest Company or CIC, a designation given to social enterprises such as Withington Public Hall, that use their profits and assets for the public good in the community. Committed to bringing opportunity and creating spaces for creativity, it’s a place where people can learn new skills and even find employment through practical work-based experience and support. We told you it was more than just a pub. And there’s more…
The Whippy boasts a sizeable performance space, giving burgeoning live acts a platform to launch their careers from, an on-site pizzeria, a second-floor function room, used for a variety of popular events including workshops and exhibitions, cinema screenings, art classes, independent markets, comedy shows, quizzes and much more. It’s unsurprisingly become a well-known social hub and meeting spot for the student population now residing in the outlying district. It‘s even got its own kitchen, producing a selection of both eat-in and takeaway dishes (we hear the vegetarian roast is something special) and, most importantly, a quality retro-looking bar serving a wide choice of cask beers and cans, championing the best local breweries - Manchester Union included.
A laidback workspace and unsuspecting place to learn new skills. A warm and embracing bolthole where tastebud enlightening plates of food and pints of crisp cold lager can be consumed. A place to take in first-rate live entertainment on any day of the week. A place to find joy, interaction, relaxation… If you’ve yet to experience what Withington Public Hall has to offer, we suggest you cross it off your places to visit this year list as soon as possible. Thank us later.
Visit the Withington Public Hall Facebook page - www.facebook.com/withypublichall - to find out about upcoming events happening at the venue this year