As documented just two days ago, I'm quite resistant to change. Thus, upon hearing the news that The Didsbury pub was to close for ten days for a refurbishment, my despair was twofold. Firstly, who would serve me Prosecco during that dangerously long ten day window? And secondly, please don't change it, because I like it the way it is! I like that the tables are rickety and covered with candle wax; I like that the carpet is a little bit sticky and has been here since 1947; I LIKE IT HOW IT IS!
I needn't have worried, of course. The refurbishment has been done tastefully and unobtrusively, meaning the pub looks the same but just a bit, well, nicer. The biggest changes are as you go in - a new door with the Chef and Brewer logo etched into it, and two enormous armchairs lurking in the entrance, ready to pounce on unwary customers (I noticed my husband suffered a dangerous fall into one of them on the way out; too much beer, or perhaps the floor is treacherously slippy just there.)
The rest of the pub is fresh and bright, but retaining the cosy feel that The Didsbury has always done best. Upstairs (I never even KNEW there was an upstairs until about a month ago) has been done up to the same standard, meaning that at busy times you can take your drink up to a quiet table without feeling like you've been exiled (remember the scary basement overspill at The Great Kathmandu?), although there is no bar up there at present (never fear - think of the exercise you'll get going up and down the stairs.)
Last night's "soft launch" had a real buzz about it, full of happy punters relieved to see their favourite pub hadn't become a wine bar or Wacky Warehouse while their backs were turned, and lovely cheery staff who seemed genuinely pleased to be working in such a nice environment. The excellent food menu remains as it was (although we sampled it again, just to be sure); the Barbecue Pork Shanks were so good I had to be physically restrained from licking my plate, and my husband's Great British Fish and Chips was so generously portioned that he had to LEAVE SOME, not because he didn't like it (he did) but because he was full (big girl).
So thanks to Paul and Paula for making us so welcome - the pub is fully reopened from today, so you should really pop down and see what they've done. Also thanks to Pete and Helen for such excellent company; your head ALWAYS knows when you've been out drinking with Didsbury Life.
- The Didsbury is at 852 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester M20 2SG; tel 0161 445 5389; http://www.thedidsbury.co.uk
- Didsbury Life are at 212 Burton Road, West Didsbury, Manchester; tel 0161 445 7759; http://www.didsburylife.com