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Albert’s Schloss, Manchester

In central Manchester there is a bar that sells the highest volume of unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell anywhere outside of the Czech Republic. That’s a surprising and unexpected fact, but then everything about Albert’s Schloss is surprising and unexpected.

On Peter Street, opposite the Great Northern Warehouse, the bar occupies the impressive former Manchester and Salford Wesleyan Mission building built in 1910 – it is massive, with a capacity of nearly 700 people. It underwent an incredible refit in 2015 using a staggering amount of reclaimed materials, including floorboards from a Scottish whisky distillery, wood from a Nottingham lace factory, tiles from a mental asylum near Preston, doors from Manchester’s demolished BBC building and planks from old Rusholm tram sheds. There’s new stuff, too: stained glass windows, the beautiful bar and some copper beer tanks from Plzeň.

Albert’s Schloss is a modern reimagining of a Bavarian cook haus and bier palace. The ‘Albert’ in the name is a loving and cheeky nod to Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, a Bavarian nobleman. A ‘schloss’ is a castle or pleasure palace, a country estate of the old German elite dedicated to parties. At the bar there’s a mix of DJs and live music, brass bands walking around the bar and Burlesque dancers kicking their legs on tables, all while the best German and Czech beers are poured and dishes are cooked. It’s hugely popular and packed almost every night.

“The Bavarian concept is unique in Manchester,” says Tim Estherby, the Training & Development Manager for Albert’s Schloss. “The wine list is fantastic and all our wines come from Alpine districts. The food is amazing, made from scratch using proper ingredients. We even make our own Schnapps. But of course, every staff member raves about Tankovna beer. The beer is central to our concept.”

“We provide something so unique. We have three Tapsters here, brewery-trained by Robert Lobovsky, the Beermaster, in Czech. When we put on our Tapsters’ shirts and aprons, it reaffirms our position. People ask us questions about them. Being a Tapster is an admirable profession, as it should be. We are the purveyors of knowledge and serious beer – and having Tapsters behind the bar has definitely helped us sell our beer well beyond our expectations within months of opening.”

“A lot of my role is to find the perfect balance between service and hospitality. For me, service is how people technically deliver a product – a functional thing. But hospitality should be how it makes people feel. It is emotional. We encourage our waiters to read the emotions of our guests, to understand their needs, to go beyond just service to offer a true hospitality experience.”

“Albert’s Schloss wants people to have fun. The atmosphere is incredible.”

No bars compare to Albert’s Schloss. It’s a beer and food pleasure palace where while they might be super serious about the quality of their tank beer (when they sell that much it has to be good!), fun is definitely the right word to describe this wunderbar place.