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PortlandStreet
Like a Victorian game of Tetris where the buildings din’t land neat,
Lies the higgerldy piggerldy architecture of Manchester’s Portland Street,
Yet secreted in this skyline… of roofs that just don’t blend,
Lies a well brewed Mancunian treasure, a perfect hidden gem.

“Squeeze in, shuffle in, there’s room for just two more,”
It’s staggering how many drinkers squeeze through that tavern’s door,
Just room for thirty people and still I’ll sit on somebody’s knee,
Yet thousands of folk stare back at me from every place I see,

Their eyes, their eyes are everywhere, bearing down on me,
Thousands of folk all staring back and smiling relentlessly,
Everyone is happy yet none of them speak or change their pose,
Generations of drinkers, or just the famous ones I suppose.

Coz the smallest pub in our city has the biggest welcome in the world,
Where every drinking celeb in town is proudly unfurled,
A real star gazer’s paradise, a celebrity stalker’s passion,
With boozer’s faces stuck to the wall in time honourary fashion,

This boozer’s five-a-side team would beat any on the planet,
It’d win every week down at the Pitz until they’d have to ban it,
Coz Bestie’s there of course he is, along with Franny Lee,
Keano, Parker, Robson… Nobby and Paddy.

But it ain’t just the footballers who’ve had a pint in this tiny bar,
From Tony H to Muhammad Ali they’ve come from near and far,
Actors like Ray Winston, musicians by the score,
It’s a near infinite list of celebrity and I don’t want to bore.

But this photo wall of famous folk spans every generation,
Whilst two football teams lie side by side without any altercation,
Two tiny rooms, a tiny bar, your mates’ll never lose yer,
Just lose your inhibitions in Manchester’s smallest boozer.

It used to be the meeting place for all the acts they used to have on,
When 18th century circus folk would drink in the Circus Tavern,
Coz there used to be a big top close by on Chatham Street,
And this tavern was where trapeze artists and lion tamers’d meet.

The clientele’s still colourful and will always have a tale,
As the bar maid and the drinkers pass down your real ale,
It floats though the crowd and to your seat, no room to be nervous,
There’s really no more intimate pint than the one the Circus serves us.

Its size makes this place special as I feel like I belong,
As drinkers huddle together… forming just one throng,
One chat, one conversation and just one subject matter,
Every opinion is invited as the regulars nitter natter.

But with all the faces on the wall it really makes me think,
Since opening time in 1790, how many folk have bought a drink?
Since the days of that long gone circus and cries of roll up, roll up
How many folk have squeezed in here for an intimate, friendly sup?

A hundred thousand drinkers? A million, probably more,
I’d like to see every single face stuck onto their photo wall,
A staggering number of drinkers have crammed into that tiny space,
And they’d need every inch of this fine city if they printed every face!

Copyright©2011 by Phil Martin
All rights reserved.

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