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This visit (on 5th September 2010) was supposed to be a family friendly day out. This part of Manchester city centre is particularly non-family friendly. Ancoats is probably the worst area for family friendly pubs that I have been in the world.
The Castle on Oldham Street and the Swan Street pubs (The Crown and Anchor, the Fringe, and the Smithfield) do not allow children. The Smithfield did at one time; I have seen a child play at the back of the Fringe. It seems that the policy has changed in Ancoats.
Especially in an age of pub closure, I would not expect these putative public houses to refuse business. The corollary of this is that publicans would rather see a pub close than accommodate families, much like publicans do everywhere else. This gives me an idea for an amusing reverse discrimination experiment: to open a public house that disallowed those of an anti-family opinion. For example, it could disallow single men over fifty or homosexuals. These groups (which are not mutually exclusive) seem to constitute the majority of customers in real ale houses.
The Angel is open on an inconsistent basis. Therefore, it would be difficult to determine, if children are allowed in that establishment. Nonetheless, the Marble Arch still allows dining families. The only other public house that appears to serve real ale is the Marble. As the Marble is overpriced and often crowded, it leads one to think that a restaurant, supermarket, or takeaway, would be a cheaper and a more accommodating option. Thankfully, the Travelodge on Swan Street, Room 106 was a spacious room. There is a bar on the ground floor. The staff could not do enough for us.