With a licence dating from 1807, The Kings Arms has been the centre of the local community, firstly for after-work factory workers, and in more recent times for creatives while retaining its trad pub feel. Over the years, upstairs has also been the home of some stonking theatre productions, cabaret, comedy, art exhibitions, fringe festivals, gigs, poetry nights and even a David Bowie convention.
The world’s oldest fishing club, Salford Friendly Anglers Friendly Society, and the North of England Terrier Club met at the Kings in the past, and it still hosts a knitting club on Monday nights. Meanwhile the pub has been used as a tv location for programmes like Cracker, Fresh Meat, the Les Dawson Story and Hairy Bikers. Formerly part owned by Paul Heaton of Beautiful South and The Housemartins, it now has the title of ‘Britain’s Most Bohemian Back Street Boozer’…
In 2011 The Housemartins and Beautiful South’s Paul Heaton took over running The Kings Arms, and performed there in 2012 before he set off on a cycling tour of the UK and Ireland.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Connor and the Kings Arms facebook group.
The original 24 Hour Party People, Happy Mondays blew away the cobwebs of the music industry in the late Eighties with a party attitude and some massive gigs and hits, from Step On to Hallelujah and Wrote For Luck, each with equally massive re-mixes to hit the clubs. And dancer Bez, shaking his maracas and whirling on stage, led the way, arguing that growing up in Salford in the Seventies and Eighties, there was nowt to do but submit to the ‘happy marriage of drugs and music’…
Once in the limelight, Bez reflects… “It was considered, in our naivety, that the only way to go about portraying our pop star status was to get wasted, crash on stage, thunder through the set and then slam into the beers with a silly grin backstage. If this was rock n roll, we liked it, a lot…”
The band, who lost bass player and founder Paul Ryder, who passed away in 2023, are still touring, and still packing out venues all over the country.