Manchester’s smallest pub – George Best’s old stomping ground is dying

The old-age pub, which held iconic football legends within its walls, could now be nearing its unfortunate end. 

The grade II listed pub which served icons like George Best, has seen a harsh struggle since the pandemic.

Only two minutes from Picadilly Gardens lies a pub filled with history and a huge welcome. In defiance of its small facilities, the pub has endured for a long time.  

However, Landlord Barry Hayes has proclaimed the end could be near:

“I don’t see things ending well, sadly, the way things are going. You know, there could be light at the end of the tunnel. But if it was to carry on for more than 18 months, I would have to hand the keys in.“

The Circus Tavern, which can only seat eight people at a time, has succeeded well off the coattails of its comical size.

Now, its size is not enough to keep people interested, leaving the Tavern among many other pubs in the 21st century that are struggling to keep afloat. 

British pubs have seen a 32% decline since the 1980s, the harshest decline the sector has experienced, with many pubs closing for good. 

In spite of the closures, Barry proclaims there could be a “light at the end of the tunnel,” a future where the iconic pub can survive in a crippled industry. 

Proclaiming Manchester United as his saviour, Barry is adamant the Red Devils keep the pub going. 

“I rely very heavily on Manchester United.” “That’s that. If I lost the United fans, things would take a bad turn. They’re reliable even when United are not doing well on the pitch.”

“The faithful come from all over to see the boys. I get a lot of Irish and Norwegians who all want to see the place where Best stayed. They all help me, so I try to help them.”

Despite a struggling industry, the pub still sees its share of fans on gamedays, linking itself with the red giant of football. 

Barry hopes the decline of the industry will take a turn and that his great piece of history will continue for another century.

“For over a hundred years, this pub has stood, and I hope for many more. Hopefully, the boys do better on the pitch, and we have a more positive time ahead. But hey, we keep going and hope for the best.”

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