It’s quite a feat considering the ‘Pies have a front three of Sam Vokes, Salomon Rondon and M’Baye Niang, while FCT have two representatives from the PFA’s team of the season: Kyle Walker and Eden Hazard.
The weather was fair, the hangover manageable and because Cape Town Piotr had searched ‘Manchester hipster pubs’ the Kenna League chairman found himself standing in a 170-year-old basement filled with ping pong tables.
Phillipe Coutinho was putting the finishing touches on a decent shift for Two Goals One Cup, but members of the pub crawl were far from elite sport.
They were too busy doing a terrible impression of three people playing table tennis. At least the Brooklyn Lager was passable.
After a few minutes it became the clear the homemade quince vodka of the previous evening was not entirely shaken off. The group retired to the bar area.
What it lacked in ventilation, the Northern Quarter’s Twenty Twenty Two more than made up for in classic arcade games. House of the Dead 2 of particular note.
Quite what the founding pillars of the industrial revolution would make of four girls in short shorts playing beer pong remains moustache-bristling conjecture.
Pub number two was The Whiskey Jar, which appeared to be a popular venue for hen dos and Tinder dates.
Perhaps cheap dates. The early hour meant it was possible to get two whiskey sours for a tenner.
Now, there are two types of cocktail bar in the world.
There are cocktail bars that anticipate drinks and prepare accordingly and there are ones where the customer watches the barman fiddling around with paraphernalia for an interminable amount of time.
The Whiskey Jar was sadly the latter.
Although he didn’t express it in the usual fashion, Cape Town Chris was delighted to join the crawl just in time for a debate on whether a hipster restaurant was correct to serve pizza straight from MDF tables without a plate. Opinion was split.
Next up was the recently-opened pub of Seven Bro7hers Brewery. Split level exposed brickwork and a fantastic IPA.
Crawlers were pleased to learn from the barman there were two brewery tap rooms in the locale. What could be more hipster than drinking craft beer surrounded by pallets?
The crawl stopped by Manchester Piccadilly to pick up a late straggler. It was thirsty work and The Waldorf’s convenience was, in hindsight, all it had going for it.
Taking a cab to a rail arch on North Western Street, the party entered the alternative Beer Nouveau. A smattering of patrons, a friendly owner and large barrels where the beer is brewed on site were there to greet them.
One crawler – who through a second-language, workplace gaffe is known as ‘The Master of the Flaps’ – took great pleasure in sampling the local mead on offer.
A keen amateur mead maker, he also turned out to be The Master of the Put Downs, telling an enthusiastic beekeeper from the area he was only interested in Polish honey.
The crawl struck out in search of the Cloudwater tap room. A constant hazard of visiting craft breweries is drinkers can find themselves walking through deserted industrial estates looking daggers at the guy frowning at his smartphone’s location app.
Such was the case here, until it turned out the taproom had recently moved around the corner.
Cloudwater: what a find! Again a rail arch was the venue, this time underneath Manchester Piccadilly station.
A tremendous array of beer was on offer as were MDF tables you either could or couldn’t eat your pizza off of depending on your point of view.
The 11.5 per cent Imperial stout was served in halves, so wanting to soak in more of the atmosphere the crawl stopped for a second drink. The pilsner was gorgeous and much less dangerous.
By this time hunger was an issue. The party attempted to get a no-doubt-MDF table at Almost Famous burgers but the 90-minute waiting time was not agreeable.
In the face of adversity, all pretence this was still a hipster crawl crumbled.
Weatherspoon’s in the Printworks is not by any stretch of the imagination a trendy venue but it does have two clear benefits.
Lagunitas IPA is £1.79 a bottle and it’s a convenient place to wait for your table at the adjacent Nandos.
Say what you like about its unchallenging hot sauce, the Mozambican-themed restaurant does sell the excellent Super Bock.
Having lived in east London for half the noughties, it can be easy to dismiss another area’s attempts as hipsterism. The unrendered walls, beards and – you guessed it – MDF tables of the Northern Quarter can come across as forced at times.
But the lack of nonchalance is more than atoned by the fantastic beers and welcoming atmosphere.
It’s highly likely in future residents will spot the Kenna chairman slinking around the side of the train station on a Saturday afternoon.
As for the rest of Saturday evening, the crawl returned to Macclesfield for further tippling in the Red Willow.
Kenna League table – week 30
Narcozep Cup – last 16 first leg results
Thieving Magpies 21 – 19 Islington Sports Islam & Leisure
Cowley Casuals 28 – 26 Bala Rinas
FC Testiculadew 27 – 15 Lokomotiv Leeds
Team Panda 23 – 17 Sporting Lesbian
Walthamstow Reds 25 – 27 Judean Peoples’ Front
Young Boys 17 – 37 Adam Johnson Fan Club
Burqini Pool Party 20 – 20 Dynamo Charlton
So Good They Named Him Twice 39 – 23 Two Goals One Cup
The AJFC manager fiercely denied the allegations of racism made to him during a press conference yesterday.
“What I was trying to tell Granit was if he’s always suspended through ill discipline he’s as much use to me as a chocolate Swiss Army knife,” said the manager.
“I’m not racist. I’m not a Nazi. Gold – that’s the standard I set at this club for diversity and inclusion.
“Granit’s flown off the handle before I’ve had a chance to finish the sentence. I’ve managed a lot of foreign players and they tend to do that, but if he thinks he can explain away the Heathrow incident using my post-match comments he’s cuckoo.
“There’s more holes in his argument than a lump of Alpine dairy product.
“He needs to watch it.”
Narcozep Cup – final group standings and playoff fixtures
Sleptember XI v Lokomotiv Leeds
Burqini Pool Party v Wandsworth Window Lickers