Aye, I was in Manor house last year. I remember wondering these same questions leading up to Uni, and I said to myself, if i'm in a position to give people like you information in the future, i would do... soo...
As already mentioned its pretty far from anywhere, it takes about 45 minutes to walk from your room to the big Clock Tower in the middle of main campus, but there are buses (numbers 61, 62, 63, maybe a couple of others) that run along Bristol road pretty much constantly. So many times I remember walking towards the bus stop and then seeing 3 buses pass by - very annoying!
Manor house is sat a bit out of the way from anywhere, with a big park and lake right next to it. However theres also a council estate which you'll probably be walking through alot - although i never had any trouble with any one from there. The rooms vary quite a bit, i would describe the place as being divided into 3 main areas.
1) Theres the 'ghetto' as I call it - which contains several blocks (i was in one of these) - very similar to a jail i reckon. My room overlooked an area of the council estate, i could see the bins, and during revision times - when i would be sat at my desk for hours - i would see people come and route through the bins! not just one or two, dozens. Also i remember quite a few times a paper boy dumping all his papers in there, and then returning home i suppose (after a good days work!).
These blocks have 3 floors, including the ground. ground and 1st floor is for guys, top floor for girls. Each block in the ghetto has a kitchen which gets locked at 11pm. You gotta work around this somehow, maybe hide inside one of the cupboards, and then wait for the security guard to lock up, then out you come and open it up from the inside maybe? Each floor also has toilets/showers. The girls kept theirs really nice, but the lads' was pretty terrible. Infact, in my block the shower didnt even have a door to it, just a shower curtain ha ha! Towels used to go missing quite a bit ! The kitchen is pretty shoddy to be honest, microwave and fridge - leave a sandwich in the fridge and it'll be stolen within 3 days i bet!
Chances are you won't be in the ghetto, but even if you are, dont be worried - i suppose my description of it didnt paint a very nice picture of it - but i have nothing but good memories of my time there: my best friends just a few feet away at all times. I promise you, even if you got the worst room in all of birmingham, it wouldn't be a big deal - these things, kitchens/rooms don't seem to matter much at all; the people around you will.
2) The old house: basically this is the main building which looks like something from the tudor age. I rarely visited any rooms in there, but the odd ones i saw were huge compared to mine. I can't really tell you much else.
3) Cadbury wing: The newest area of manor house by the looks of it. I thought it was very nice, good rooms, many of them with en suite, with a big grassy area just next to it, and a carpark nearby too, oh - decent kitchens too.
Even though i described these areas seperately, they are really parts of the same whole. Whether your in cadbury wing, or the old house, or one of the blocks in the ghetto, you will be within throwing distance of everyone else at manor; about 360 people give or take. Every room has a phone and internet connection. One problem is a rediculous 100mb download limit per day, but you'll figure out how far over you can go. I'm sure i went 7 or 8 times over it, many times, without being cut off. If you do download a tonne, worst that happens is a couple of days cut off.
I'm a fussy eater, and i would call the food okay. Some days are better than others, very occasionally i would walk out of the dinner hall, and order a pizza.
As for the bar, thats at the centre of manor house - its not massive, but you can cram everyone manorian in there. As i remember, during freshers week there were several themed events in there (maybe you should bring with you a cowboy outfit or something !). You might even be able to get a little bit of work behind the bar, I advise you to go for it, if you need the money. You'll find yourself serving drinks to very few people on most nights later in the year (easy work). After a while, the bar will be an afterthought for everyone, just somewhere to get half drunk before heading off to uni or town.
Theres definately some sense of community in manor house, due to the fact its a bit out of the way, and theres not a huge number of people there. Enough so that your sure to meet a group of friends you fit in with, but not so many that you are seeing faces you dont recognise in the dinner hall 6 later.
I remember my very first night at manor house quite clearly. It was a bit of a shock to the system being in a totally foreign place, but i told myself, i know for a fact even though it all seems strange to me now, in a week it will be quite familiar, and in 6 months it will be like a second home. And now many months after leaving, i look back with that nostalgic feeling you get about good times past.
Hope it all helps - the most important thing to know is that, even if the food and rooms dont live up to your expectations, you will come to realise they don't matter atall!!