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BITE user comments - aleandhearty

Comments by aleandhearty

Yates's, Wakefield

The current incarnation is 'Westgates'.

17 Sep 2009 09:12

Bar Latino, Wakefield

Now called 'WFone'

17 Sep 2009 09:08

The Pink Lizard, Wakefield

Now called 'Bru'.

15 Sep 2009 12:39

Bar Chocolate, Wakefield

Closed. No longer a bar.

15 Sep 2009 11:04

The Royal George, Charing Cross Road

Emily1983 and dez_93200, I notice you are both new, ‘one-time’ posters and in your mid twenties. Although you make some attempt to restrain your ‘reviews’ they essentially read like advertising puffs. This leads me to conclude you are either the new owner(s), bar-staff or in some way connected to the venue.
It may well be that the Royal George has improved of late, in which case-great, because it needed to.

However, anyone who is not a casual user of the site can see through self-promotional guff like this at a stroke. (Five reviews in a year, then two in a week? Hmmm.) It might be worth taking on board that ultimately, it tends to backfire on the venue.

Finally, I stand by everything I said about my visit to the RG at the time.

2 Sep 2009 15:18

The Tinners Arms, Zennor

Fine old traditional pub, in a picturesque village setting, surrounded by glorious Cornish countryside. The interior houses a fabulous old bar.

The quality of the Zennor Mermaid / Sharps Special and the Doombar was OK, but with my usual complaint of being a little too cold.

Unfortunately, a rather snooty and supercilious woman behind the bar, serving us. I don’t know whether this was the same person that ‘iandsmith’ referred to below, but there does seem to be a continuing theme of staff with an attitude problems running throughout reviews.

The much lauded beer garden is indeed a real suntrap, but depending where you are forced to sit you may end up gazing adoringly at the pub and the backpacker hostel car parks! Incidentally, parking may be a problem. The pub car park is tiny and there is only room for half a dozen or so cars on the road outside. The enterprising hostel next door charges a pound to park there. A little cheeky I thought.

Despite some concerns, worth a return visit.

26 Aug 2009 14:54

The Halsetown Inn, Halsetown

A rural, roadside inn, with an attractive ivy-clad exterior, about a mile out of St Ives. There are four rooms inside, one of which is a designated dining area. Another houses a pool table. Overall, the interior is quite plainly decorated, the simplicity of the place contributing to its subdued feel when we called late afternoon.

There were three hand pumps in the bar, but only ‘Doombar’ on offer. That fact combined with a rather tired pint suggested there might be a problem with turnover.

The landlord appeared rather shy, but he was friendly and welcoming. His dog Peggy was a great hit with my daughters.

Food seemed to be the lifeblood of the place, but nothing on the menu tempted us to eat there.

It’s hard to comment on the atmosphere when there were only six people in the place. Maybe it comes to life on an evening when the diners and locals appear? However on the basis of our visit there was nothing that made us want to return.

26 Aug 2009 13:39

Lifeboat Inn, St Ives

I agree with pretty much everything RogerB says. Cavernous, largely charmless and vaguely ‘spoons like in feel, The Lifeboat plays on its location to the nth degree.

Beer quality was rather erratic during our visit: A watery, flat pint of Tribute contrasting with a decent pint of HSD (if a little cold).

As a plus, the young male barstaff were friendly and efficient and very tolerant of large family groups. However, even as a parent visiting with my two daughters I was aware that the noise and bustle might be too much for some.

A convenient, functional pit-stop whilst on the front, but not a place to linger.

25 Aug 2009 19:20

The Golden Lion, St Ives

As the only pub in St Ives with a GBG listing, the Golden Lion was required visiting, but ultimately it proved rather disappointing. The charms of the front room have given way to a seedy feel, the connecting corridor and the toilets need attention and the rear room could be in any inner-city dive in the UK. A few chairs and tables slung into a tiny back yard doth not a beer garden make.

‘Doombar’ and ‘Heligan Honey’ were the two beers on my visit. To be fair the quality of the HH was very good, the pub deserving its GBG entry. However, there was no discernible difference in beer quality between here and The Castle. Bearing in mind the surroundings I’d head to Fore Street every time.

25 Aug 2009 18:00

The Castle Inn, St Ives

Our favourite pub in St Ives during our recent stay. All very traditional with its low ceiling and stone floor and the sort of cosiness that’s just the right side of being tatty.
The ale range seemed to change almost daily, but usually three on hand-pull and three on gravity dispense. All the beers were in good condition, as you’d expect with such rapid turnover, but I found the hand pulled beers a little cold for my taste. Those on gravity were spot on. There was some initial confusion with pump clips for the gravity beers, but when I queried this with a barman he told me it was just to raise customer awareness as they were often overlooked being on the back wall!
Staff were uniformly friendly and efficient, quite surprising in such a popular tourist resort.
Food is available, largely comprised of pub fare staples, but as we didn’t eat at here we can’t comment on quality.
Always a good atmosphere when we called, a mixture of visitors and locals, including one or two ageing bohemians.
Family friendly, but children under twelve are not admitted after 7.30.
On the basis of our visits I feel the Castle is worthy of a Good Beer Guide entry, echoing the comment below. I’m mystified as to how the Golden Lion is deemed worthy of inclusion but The Castle isn’t.

25 Aug 2009 16:53

The Blue Anchor, Helston

Visited 12.8.09, whilst holidaying in Cornwall. The fact it was a ‘destination’ visit, to a ‘holy grail’ pub, contributed to our overall disappointment with the place.

I’m not even going to attempt to better ‘RogerB’s’ description below of the interior , which indeed is truly wonderful. However, the quality of the beer must be commented on.

After glowing GBG write-ups and previous BITE comments, to say we were disappointed with the ‘Jubilee’, ‘Middle’ and ‘Bragget’ is an understatement. Quietly stunned is probably closer to the truth. Not even a case of lacking depth of flavour, but barely any flavour at all (apart from an overwhelming taste of honey in the Bragget). For beers of five and six percent to have a watery mouthfeel is unforgivable in my book. Maybe a duff batch for one beer, but all three? Certainly not lack of turnover, as the BA is too famous and was busy when we called.

Apparently, the Blue Anchor has been in every Good Beer Guide since 1973. I would suggest there has been some leniency, nay sentimentality, shown by the local CAMRA branch, on the basis of this visit.

I fully expect to get some flak for my comments. However, I speak as I find. A poor experience frankly.

24 Aug 2009 20:45

The Gardeners Arms, Wakefield

Following a glowing endorsement in the Spring edition of the local CAMRA branch magazine, my wife and I visited a few weeks ago. Never has such an eagerly anticipated visit to a pub turned so rapidly into a huge disappointment.

We were enticed by the prospect of Copper Dragon ‘Golden Pippin’ and ‘Black Gold’ being regular beers alongside Landlord and Black Sheep. Also the incoming licensee Rob Abraham had worked at the wonderful West Riding Licensed Refreshment Rooms, in Dewsbury. What’s not to like, we thought.

Unfortunately, on arrival we were told that the Copper Dragon beers had been withdrawn due to lack of demand. Also, the Landlord was ‘off’, until a delivery the following day. The final straw was being told the BSB had also ‘just gone off’ and that the barmaid would have to ring upstairs for someone to come and change the barrel!

We used that as an excuse to leave, having a good laugh at the farcical situation when we were outside. A little later we reflected that it was a real shame that the pub’s high ideals had given way to financial reality so quickly. For us, and I’m sure others, the USP of The Gardeners was the Copper Dragon beers, still relatively rare in Wakefield. Without them there’s no reason for us to return, as Landlord and BSB are commonly available in pubs nearer to home.

23 Jul 2009 21:04

The Rose and Crown, Halstead

Before I even entered the Rose and Crown I had a good feeling about the place and I wasn’t disappointed. From the flint fronted exterior onwards, almost everything proved a delight.

There are two bars, at right angles to each other and a third room that houses a pool table (not locked on our visit, as mentioned below). The front room is narrow, low-ceilinged and almost completely wood lined, in pine cladding. (Hmm.Not sure about that). A nice touch is the large collection of photos lining the walls, depicting village life. There’s a dartboard, a couple of fruit machines and an overhead TV. The second bar is a plainer, white-walled affair, but features a large collection of horse brasses.

There were five real ales on our visit: Larkins ‘Traditional’, Whitstable ‘East India Pale Ale’ as the regular beers. Also, Moorhouse’s ‘Black Cat’ seems to be the (semi) permanent dark beer. The two guests were Cottage ‘SS Great Britain’ and Sharp’s ‘Special Ale’. The Larkins and Whitstable were in tip top form and served at just the right temperature. I was impressed how the ‘Traditional’ punched above its weight flavour wise. With the Cottage I had a ‘is it me, or is it the beer?’ moment. On balance, I think it was a little tired.

As a rugby fan there was a great atmosphere when we called on Saturday afternoon. The second Lions test was being shown on TV and a lot of passionate support was being shown. I think it’s fair to say Halstead has one or two characters in the village!

Bar staff were friendly and welcoming. Several of the regulars ordered drinks from their tables, the landlord happy to bring them over, along with their change.

Outside, there is a pleasant beer garden to the rear, with a large sheltered area. The garden features a small play area for young children.

It’s been pointed out many times down the years, perhaps most famously by Orwell, that the perfect pub does not exist. However, as a quintessential village pub the Rose and Crown is up there with the best of them. Excellent.

2 Jul 2009 11:14

The British Queen, Locksbottom

A medium sized, open-plan community local nestled amongst the parade of surrounding shops. It has been described below as unpretentious and uncomplicated and that sums it up nicely. Certainly, the decor and fittings are all pretty plain, the best feature being the large tables in front of the main windows. There’s a dartboard, several TV screens for sport and a quiz machine for the more cerebrally minded. Outside, there is a small beer garden to the rear.

Three real ales on this visit: Dark Star ‘Best’, Harvey’s ‘Sussex Best’ and Courage ‘Best’. Quality was reasonable if, ironically, not the best. The Dark Star just shaded it.

The subdued young barmaid appeared to have taken a vow of silence. Several pints over various rounds were topped up without comment.

Pretty quiet when we called early Saturday evening, so not much of an atmosphere. One or two of the locals were amazed to hear that the place had been mentioned on BITE as a gay venue. An educated guess would say the local scene has moved on, if it ever met here, those comments having been made two years ago.

The Queen is a ‘does what it says on the tin’ sort of venue. It’s adequate and distinctly average. If I lived in the area, I’m pretty certain I wouldn’t drink here regularly. The current rating of 2.8 does seem a little harsh though. On my scale between five and six would seem fairer.

1 Jul 2009 13:06

Albert, Keighley

The Albert has now reverted back to being a Taylor pub. Unfortunately, there were some contractual wrangles between Ossett and Taylor. Plus, the young disruptive crowd started causing trouble again. Barely financially viable, Ossett decided enough was enough.

20 Jun 2009 21:08

The Harp, Covent Garden

Like ‘Bucking Fastard’ I am aware of the level of passionate support that The Harp evokes. I was slightly hesitant about visiting, on a recent trip to London, in case I had to point out the emperor was naked. However, it’s a fantastic little pub

The interior has all been described in great detail before, so I will just limit myself to stating I couldn’t believe how small it was and how unfeasibly narrow the area is opposite the bar! There were about fifteen punters when I called at about four o’clock, on a Thursday afternoon, just enough to give a nice chatty buzz and to set off The Harp’s almost conspiratorial cosiness. However, I would struggle at peak times, no doubt finding it oppressively claustrophobic.

My barmaid was friendly and welcoming but could have been a little bit more product savvy. Several of the beers I’d not come across before and she struggled to describe what style they were.

Quality of the beer was excellent, crystal clear served in squeaky-clean glasses. Disappointed with the much-lauded Harvey’s, but found Dartmoor ‘Jail Ale’ much more to my taste. (I couldn’t bring myself to try ‘Landlord’ served in the ‘southern style’!)

Will definitely call again next time I’m in central London. It’ll be a fantastic refuge when the distaff side of the family do their usual trudge down Oxford Street.

19 Jun 2009 09:51

The Masons Arms, Ackworth

A traditional stone built community local, just off the Pontefract Road. There are two large rooms, with one leading into a raised area housing a pool table. Décor and fixtures are all very comfortable, including some unusual narrow tables in the right hand room.

There’s obviously been some modernisation over the years, replacement beams, for example, mixing with the originals. However, it remains cosily low ceiling-ed and not all the nooks and crannies have been ironed out. Two large stone fireplaces look impressive.

Two real ales on offer: John Smith’s as the regular beer and Sharp’s ‘Doom Bar’ as a guest. I’m not a fan of Doom Bar but it was fresh tasting and nicely cool- not cold. The friendly barmaid topped it up without asking.

It’s hard to comment on the atmosphere of the place, as I called early afternoon on a hot weekend and nearly all the other drinkers were outside. One thing that definitely grated was the R&B music drifting from the pool room at high volume.

There is a sizeable beer garden to the rear of the pub, but it needs more seating and lacks a little TLC.

On balance, a comfortable, if unremarkable, village local. I suspect I won’t be calling again.
.

15 Jun 2009 20:33

The Fox and Hounds, Wakefield

After recently being voted top UK pub in the trade journal ‘The Morning Advertiser’ I was curious to call again and see what, if anything, had changed to bring about the award.

The pub has been redecorated and the new muted colours give the place a more relaxed feel. The larger room, that previously housed the pool table, has been re-vamped with lots of leather sofas and chairs and is much more comfortable for it.

There are now three real ales on offer. Jennings ‘Cumberland Ale’ and Taylor ‘Landlord’ as the regular beers and an ever-changing guest. On this visit it was Copper Dragon ‘Golden Pippin’. Despite the barrel just being connected and the serving temperature not overly cold this normally aromatic beer had very little on the nose and was strangely lacking in flavour. Storage?

I’m pretty sure it was the landlady that served me and to her credit she was friendly and welcoming.

Food is now a big deal at the Fox and much has been made of the dining area being converted into the sixty five seater ‘Vixen Restaurant’. (Ouch). Although heavily influenced by Italian cuisine, it’s essentially all very safe, featuring the usual suspects. A close friend, an ex-professional chef, ate there a few days ago and she felt the food was very average with disappointing service. I’ve no reason to doubt her.
Cream teas are also offered between three and five o’clock.

Live music is becoming more prominent, with jazz and accoustic nights. Quizzes are held two nights a week

Outside, the beer garden has been tidied and augmented with a decent decking area. Not sure about the children’s tuck-shop though.

On balance the Fox has definitely improved, debatably even enough to be best pub in Wakefield, but the best pub in the UK? Not by a country mile.

10 Jun 2009 09:48

The Northumberland Arms, Goodge Street

Trundled into here, like hundreds must do, after a meal on Charlotte Street. Admittedly, I was a little ‘tired and emotional’ on arrival, but I found it to be warm, friendly and a little quirky.

The wooden partitions and fixtures lent the place a real cosy feel.

Two real ales on this visit: Deuchars and Landlord. Unfortunately, the IPA went off just as we arrived. However, I did manage to grab the last half and both beers seemed well kept and served at a decent temperature.

Friendly barmaid. Chatty locals.

P.S. They definitely serve Laphroaig in doubles, as I found out to my cost the following morning!

8 Jun 2009 22:52

The Royal George, Charing Cross Road

After a flying visit to The Harp in Covent Garden beforehand, my visit to The Royal George proved to be going from the sublime to the ridiculous. The approach via the glass showered yard seemed ominous, as indeed it was:

A seedy, dingy interior over two floors. Young, narcissistic, disinterested bar-staff. Loud, intrusive music. Only London Pride as a real ale, stale tasting and too cold.

It’s not very often I can’t wait to get out of a pub, but the RG induced that feeling in spades. Very disappointing.

8 Jun 2009 22:07

The Blue Anchor, Hammersmith

I came away with very mixed feelings about this place.

It’s undoubtedly a tidy little pub with an impressive riverside setting and friendly welcoming staff. However, the barmaid seemed to know very little about the beers she was selling and the temperature of the beer was way too cold. The Doombar seemed on the turn anyway, but the Betty Stoggs would have been fine, if it had been served a degree or two warmer. At an eye-watering £3.32 a pint punters deserve better.

In short a nice pub, but not quite as good as it thinks it is.

8 Jun 2009 16:06

The Eagle, Shepherds Bush

Not as grim as I was expecting, but the first thing I wondered on walking through the door was what the hell had they spent all that money on?

I found the open-plan interior all a bit bland and soulless. It felt a bit like some old style colonial watering hole, particularly with the verandah at the back.

Average Pride, slightly better Doombar, but both served too cold.

Young friendly staff, with the exception of some tall shaven headed Irish guy, who seemed to be giving a punter a hard time for no apparent reason.

The saving grace of the place is the decent beer garden at the back. Yes, it’s annoying that it closes at 10.00pm, but given the closeness of surrounding housing it would be churlish to argue.

A reasonable community local, but could be so much better. An opportunity lost.

8 Jun 2009 15:31

The Vine Tree, Wakefield

An imposing brick built pub, situated on the edge of a busy roundabout, just beyond the northern edge of the city. On entering I was expecting a traditional layout but the place seems to have a minor identity crisis- it can’t decide whether it’s a pub or a wine bar.

The two front rooms have been largely opened up into one space. A third room to the right of the bar houses a pool table. The louvred blinds and the minimalist look don’t quite work, if anything the pub just feels spartan. A couple of wall benches covered in duct tape, were just plain shabby.
Two real ales on offer: John Smith’s Cask and Leeds Brewery ‘Best’. The ‘Best’ was clean tasting well poured and served nicely cool. The young friendly barmaid topped up my pint without asking.

Surprisingly lively for a Wednesday night, with a good atmosphere. Trade was undoubtedly boosted by a football club using the place as their post-training watering hole. However, there were enough other punters there to suggest the Vine is a decent community local.

Food is available, but I couldn’t spot a menu to describe what’s on offer. Pizzas appear to be a speciality.

There is a large grassed drinking area to the side of the pub.

Large overhead Sky T.V.

The landlord must feel he’s doing something right to have such a busy pub midweek. However, I still came away thinking the pub has unfulfilled potential. Undoubtedly solid and friendly, but just lacking something to make me want to go back.

11 May 2009 12:54

The Hop, Wakefield

A new addition to the Wakefield drinking scene, The Hop is a joint venture between Ossett Brewery and Embrace drummer Mike Heaton. It’s a multi-purpose venue on two floors, featuring regular music and comedy nights and a soon to be opened dance studio. (Original promotional features also suggested The Hop was going to house a fish and chip restaurant! Fortunately, that seems to have died a death). Most important of all, it’s also a fine addition to the local real ale trail.

Situated down a side street, just off Westgate, it’s a fine old nineteenth century brick building that has been renovated and refurbished to a high standard, as one has come to expect from Ossett. The bar area is quite narrow, with a small raised stage at one end. It does feel as though it needs more seating, but I guess standing room is deemed more important when bands are playing regularly. The room behind the bar is all exposed brickwork, art-deco prints and a huge ornate mirror above the fireplace. It has a relaxing feel to it, but doesn’t quite work as a quiet alternative to the bar.

There are nine real ales on the go, usually four Ossett / Fernandes beers and five guests. Beer quality is excellent, as in all the Ossett pubs I’ve been to. However, with the place being run by Ian ‘Fish’ Fisher, who did a sterling job at Harry’s Bar for several years, high standards are virtually guaranteed.

Staff are predominantly female, young and friendly. It makes such a difference when you get a welcoming smile on entering a bar.

I’ve visited several times now and The Hop always has a good atmosphere. It seems to attract an older, more mature crowd and Hallelujah to that. Long may it stay undiscovered by projectile-vomiting seventeen year olds doing the Westgate run.

The standard of the music acts seems high, from those I’ve seen.
For outdoor drinking there is a paved area in front of the entrance and a more enclosed area, with tables, to the side.

I really like The Hop and will undoubtedly become a regular visitor. Recommended.

11 May 2009 12:29

The Crown, Pateley Bridge

A traditional medium sized, stone built pub nestled away on the high street. There are two main rooms- a stone flagged tap room and a split level lounge. There is also an area to the rear housing a pool table. (Be aware that the dart board is in the corridor leading from the tap to the toilets!)

The pub is cosily low ceilinged, featuring original beams alongside exposed stone walls.

Three real ales on offer during our visit: Black Sheep Bitter, John Smith’s Cask and Copper Dragon ‘Golden Pippin’. Despite ‘Cask Marque’ accreditation the temperature of the Golden Pippin was way too cold. A shame as it looked clean and was well poured.

Staff were friendly and welcoming.

Food plays a big part at the Crown, but as we didn’t eat it’s difficult to comment. However, the smell of fried scampi (fish?) drifting out from the kitchen, into the raised area of the lounge, was rather off-putting. Something that needs addressing.

Family friendly. Popular with locals.

27 Apr 2009 12:45

The Royal Oak, Pateley Bridge

A traditional roadside pub, on a steep hill, at the edge of the town centre. The original two rooms have been largely opened up- what remains of the dividing wall houses a large stove. (There is also a real fire to the left of the bar).

The pub is cosily low ceilinged and features a sizeable tankard selection hanging from the beams. Also, lots of pictures hanging on the walls. However, despite several merits the interior felt slightly seedy to me, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on.

There were four hand pumps on the bar, but only two real ales being offered: ‘Landlord’ and Theakston Bitter. The ‘Landlord’ was well pulled and served at a decent temperature, but lacked a little freshness. At three pounds a pint I thought it was a bit steep even for a tourist honey pot like Pateley.

The young barman was friendly and obliging, once he’d finally extracted himself from a prolonged discussion over a food order with the chef and another customer. Although we didn’t eat, there looked to be some interesting dishes on the specials board.

Although the pub was busy when we called mid-afternoon, the atmosphere felt quite muted. I suspect the large overhead TV, showing the football, didn’t help.
Several picnic benches in front of the pub, for outdoor drinking.
Family friendly.

27 Apr 2009 12:40

The Duke of York, Wakefield

Currently boarded up. To let.

3 Mar 2009 11:30

The Kings Arms, Heath

A traditional stone built pub, owned by Clark’s brewery, in the impressively grand village of Heath. (Once known as the ‘village of mansions’, many of the large properties are Grade II listed buildings).
The pub features a corridor entrance, with two small side rooms, a tiny snug and a larger main bar. There is also a modern conservatory to the rear. Dark wooden panelling is used extensively in the original rooms with lighting from old fashioned gas lamps.
There are three real fires, one of which is incorporated into a lovely old range. The fire surrounds are thought to have been salvaged from the long demolished Heath Old Hall. It’s hardly surprising therefore, that the ‘King’s Arms’ appears in CAMRA’s National Inventory Part II of heritage pubs.

Seven real ales were on offer during our visit. Tetley Bitter, Taylor’s ‘Landlord’ and Clark’s ‘Classic Blonde as the regular beers and four guest ales: Everards ‘Sleighbell’, Salopian ‘Oracle’, Black Sheep ‘Special Ale’ and Clark’s ‘Henry’s Harvest Special’. (Be aware that the hand pumps for the regular beers are in the snug, whilst those for the ‘guests’ are in the main bar).
We tried the ‘Oracle’ and the ‘Harvest Special’ and both were excellent: Clean tasting, well pulled and nicely cool, not cold.
The landlord has gained ‘Cask Marque’ accreditation and the pub has been a Good Beer Guide entry for many years.

Bar food is based largely on traditional pub staples. From what we ate (sausage and mash, beef filled Yorkshire pudding) the quality is solid and honest rather than inspirational. For serious diners there is an adjacent restaurant.

Bar staff were friendly, if a little subdued. However, the landlord was more than willing to talk about the beers.

A good relaxed, chatty atmosphere when we called. The King’s Arms is one of those pubs you just want to snuggle down in, particularly when the fires are lit. For fair weather drinking there is a grassed drinking area to the side and a more ornate raised beer garden to the rear. There are also several benches in front of the pub.

A ‘must visit’ pub if you’re in the Wakefield area. Highly recommended.

22 Jan 2009 13:20

The Silver King, Ossett

The twelfth outlet for the Ossett Brewery, described by them as ‘a bar and bistro’. Converted from a former pub (The Victoria), it’s situated in a residential street a few minutes walk from the town centre.

Recently opened after a major refurbishment, the four rooms look very handsome indeed: Features include stone-flagged and wooden floors, exposed brick and stonework, original beams and wood burning stoves. Plus, decor and fixtures to the usual high standard, expected from Ossett.

The balance is very much in favour of food, with three of the rooms being designated as dining only. The bar is obviously a holding area for diners, although attractive in its own right. Following a certain logic, no food is eaten in the bar.

There were eight real ales on our visit, four from Ossett and four guests. The quality of the ‘Excelsior’ and particularly the ‘Silver King’ was superb. However, you’d really expect no less, with the brewery only being a mile away.

The young barmaid was warm, welcoming and chatty. The atmosphere was quite relaxed when we called on Wednesday lunchtime, although with that slightly subdued ‘newly opened’ feel

I’m not normally one to stray into ‘A.A. Gill territory’ on BITE. However, as so much importance is placed on food at the Silver King, I feel I need to pass some comment. On the basis of what I ate, the menu promises much but doesn’t deliver. A goat’s cheese and vegetable tart had woeful cardboard pastry, even being charred underneath. The filling was tasteless, with no hit from the goat’s cheese whatsoever. To serve a four inch tart, a two inch ‘tumbleweed’ of salad leaves and four roasted cherry tomatoes on a deep rectangular plate, fifteen inches by eight struck me as overly fussy and even a tad pretentious. ‘Stylish’ presentation cannot disguise indifferent food.

Being generous, the kitchen may still be finding its feet. I hope so.

There was a reasonable wine list and the young waiter was friendly and attentive.

In short, I would definitely return for the beer, but the jury’s still out on the food.

30 Oct 2008 19:25

The King George IV Inn, Eskdale

A large, multi-roomed, split-level inn, situated on the edge of Eskdale Green village. The area is surrounded by glorious Cumbrian countryside.
Very traditional in its decor and layout, but with a slightly seedy, run down feel to it.

Three real ales were advertised on the hoarding outside: Jennings ‘Cumberland Ale’, ‘Snecklifter’ and Coniston ‘Bluebird’, although only the Jennings beers were available. However, the ‘Snecklifter’ was excellent, fresh, flavoursome and cool-not cold.

A subdued and seemingly disinterested barman. He was sat watching TV, outside the bar, in between serving customers. There was also local radio blaring out in the main bar. As I’ve said in other reviews I think there’s a whiff of desperation when pubs have radios on. Not surprisingly, the atmosphere was rather muted when we called. As the nearest pub to a large campsite, experiencing appalling weather conditions, I expected it to be a lot busier than it was.

Food looks to be based on traditional pub staples.
Like many pubs in the area, it features a huge collection of malt whiskies to try.

There are a couple of benches to the front of the pub and a larger outdoor drinking area to the rear.

Child friendly. Accomodation available.

30 Oct 2008 18:58

Plough, Worcester

A small, traditional pub, just off the city’s high street. There are two cosy rooms with original features and a small enclosed patio, for fair weather drinking.

We received a smile and a warm welcome as soon as we arrived and immediately felt accepted by the young, friendly staff. There was a lovely, mellow atmosphere when we called late on Saturday afternoon.

Six pumps on the go during our visit, predominantly featuring local beers. The Ludlow ‘Gold’ and Church End ‘Rusty Dudly’ were both in tip-top condition. It wasn’t hard to see why The Plough was voted Worcester CAMRA Pub Of The Year 2007.

The food menu looked really interesting, but meals are only available Fridays and Saturdays. (Roast dinners are served on Sundays). On the snack front, a nice touch is to serve nuts and olives by the glassful. No ‘pissy peanuts’ here!

Had a short, but better than average, wine list. Also, a good collection of malt whiskies.

In short, we really liked it here. Definitely a bit of a find. It will undoubtedly become our adopted local when visiting the city.

Recommended.

17 Oct 2008 15:19

The Dragon Inn, Worcester

A medium sized, open plan pub, just a few minutes walk away from the high street. It has quite a plain interior, to the extent of even having the dreaded ‘Artex’ on the ceiling, in the main room. Benches line the wall as well as traditional round tables and chairs. There is a partially covered outdoor drinking area to the rear.

There were seven real ales available when I called and the quality of the MHB ‘Swedish Nightingale’ and particularly the Oakham ‘Endless Summer’, on this visit, was excellent. There were also Belgian beers and a good selection of malt whisky available. Huge sandwiches looked good value.

The young barman was friendly and obliging.

As an infrequent visitor to Worcester, I’ve always headed to The Dragon on ‘automatic pilot’, because of its glowing reputation and Good Beer Guide listing. However, on this last visit I finally admitted to myself that I don’t really like it as a pub. Despite all its good points, it just doesn’t do it for me.

Out of curiosity I tried The Plough, also GBG listed, on the same weekend. If you like your pubs a little more cosy and intimate, like I do, I suggest you try there instead.

17 Oct 2008 15:11

The Cow and Calf, Ilkley

A large, imposing, stone built pub, sitting high on the hill above Ilkley Town centre. On the edge of the famous moor, it faces the eponymously named rocks beloved by the local climbing community. It is owned by Vintage Inns.

The interior is essentially one opened out space, but with several discernible drinking areas. Although decorated to a high standard, it’s all a bit too slick and corporate to have any real character. Having said that, the atmosphere was quite relaxed when we called late afternoon.

The three real ales on our visit were the ubiquitous Black Sheep Bitter, Taylor ‘Landlord’ and Greene King ‘East Green’. The ‘Landlord’ was curiously lacking in flavour. It was fresh enough and served at a decent temperature, but totally bland. After a good walk on the moor, it should have tasted wonderful. Bizarre, especially for a Cask Marque accredited pub.

Our barman was rather cool and far from welcoming. Being generous, he may have been frazzled from the Sunday lunchtime rush, but he definitely seemed to have an attitude problem.

Much emphasis is placed on food at the Cow and Calf, but from the snacks we tried the quality was very average. It’s obviously a ‘destination’ pub for Sunday drivers, so be warned.
Cars parked on grass verges suggested it can get horrendously busy.

One real plus is a large patio area with fine views over the valley towards Addingham and Menwith Hill.

Accomodation is available.

17 Oct 2008 13:24

Albert, Keighley

As of 16.10.08, The Albert is to be managed by Ossett Brewery. Ten real ale pumps are promised. Considering Ossett's track record and previous reviews of the pub, things should, hopefully, improve considerably.

16 Oct 2008 13:32

Crown Hotel, Pateley Bridge

A quintessential Dales pub, surrounded by stone cottages and cobbled streets in a pretty hillside village, seven miles from Pateley Bridge. The Crown has three cosy, low ceilinged rooms, two of which have stoves. The main bar is stone flagged.

Dating from the 18th century, it was a shooting lodge in a previous life.

Just Black Sheep Bitter and ‘Special’ when we called. The ‘Special’ was clean tasting and fresh, but a little cold for my taste. However, it was such a relief to have an alternative to the omnipresent BSB.
Food tended to be traditional pub fare served in huge portions. Quality variable, but undoubtedly good value.

The landlord and the young waitress were friendly and attentive, but a young shaven headed barman was off-hand and abrupt.

A relaxed and chatty atmosphere when we called early Saturday evening.

Benches in front of the pub offer fine views down Nidderdale, towards Gouthwaite reservoir.
Obviously popular as a finishing point for fell walkers visiting the area, ourselves included.
Accomodation available.

8 Sep 2008 14:42

The Drovers Inn, Kirkby Malzeard

Friendly, small, one-roomed pub, in a remote moorland setting. Cosy and low ceilinged, it features a real fire and has a large bottle collection lining the walls.

Run by a married couple, the husband works the bar whilst his wife prepares food in the kitchen. Despite its isolated position and the fact that we called early on Friday evening, it was absolutely heaving during our visit, with a relaxed, chatty atmosphere.

Three real ales on offer: Hambleton Bitter, Old Mill Mild and the ubiquitous Black Sheep Bitter. The Hambleton was excellent, fresh tasting and served at a decent temperature.

Good value food, served in typical Yorkshire trencherman size portions.

Welcoming and helpful landlord.

If visiting, look out for the bell set into the roof of the pub. It’s used to call shooting parties off the moor, but also to see in the New Year.

20 Aug 2008 19:01

The Bridge Inn, Ruswarp

A small, traditional, village pub backing on to the River Esk. Originally with two small, cosy rooms, its been extended to the rear. However, not entirely successfully as it feels out of character with the rest of the pub.

John Smith's and Wells' 'Bombardier' as the regular real ales. Neither are my favourites, but the quality of the Bombardier was reasonable, if a little cold. Although lucky to have a Good Beer Guide listing methinks.

The landlady was friendly and welcoming, but a young barman was rather curt and sullen.

Very quiet when we called early evening. The atmosphere wasn't helped by Radio Two playing in the background.A radio playing in a pub always whiffs of desperation I think.

The enclosed beer garden, behind the pub, is quite small. Although next to the river, the view is disappointingly dominated by a low railway bridge. Henley on Thames it ain't.

In short, an adequate village boozer, but nothing exciting.

11 Aug 2008 23:47

The White Horse, Emley

A two roomed, traditional village pub, with adjacent restaurant. Recently acquired by Ossett Brewery, the eleventh pub in their stable.

A cosy main bar -stone flagged and low ceilinged. The second room is a comfortable, designated family area and better than average. As is usually the case, when Ossett acquire pubs, the refurb is to a high standard.

Eight real ales on our visit. Ossett's own 'Silver King' was excellent: Fresh as a daisy, well pulled and a good temperature.

Unfortunately, a rather sullen and unhelpful young barmaid, when we called.

There's a small enclosed garden to the side of the pub. What a shame the fencing spoils the grand view, when you're sat at a table.

However,on the basis of this visit, another cracking real ale paradise to go at. Will definitely return.

11 Aug 2008 22:39

The Wilson Arms, Sneaton

What a disappointment. We visited recently on the strength of a glowing Good Beer Guide entry. As we approached, the half-timbered exterior certainly looked very promising and on entering the main bar it was undeniably cosy and comfortable. However things went rapidly downhill from there.

We knew that John Smiths and Black Sheep were the regular beers, but we were enticed by the promise of 'guest beers'. Great. Something from a local micro we thought. Imagine our disappointment when we saw Greene King IPA on the pumps! Quite possibly the three most boring beers in the UK under one roof.

Furthermore, children weren't allowed in the bar and the family room was horrible, dominated by a pool table. The outdoor drinking area was a few scruffy tables and chairs next to the car park.

I'm afraid we voted with our feet, vowing never to return.

11 Aug 2008 19:13

The Grosvenor Hotel, Whitby

A residential hotel with a restaurant and public bar, just up the road from the nearby Victoria.

Although we didn't get a chance to visit during our stay at Robin hoods Bay, I noticed that there were three real ales, including Landlord and Deuchars, on offer.

Children are admitted into the bar and the menu seems to feature more choice for children.

Just passing this info on, for what it's worth. Possibly worth a try.

11 Aug 2008 17:58

The Victoria Hotel, Whitby

An imposing cliff top pile that sits near the steep bank down into the old village. The Victoria is a residential hotel incorporating a public bar with an adjacent family room.

Beers were from Camerons and Daleside on this visit. The quality of the 'Old Leg Over' was OK, but served way too cold for my taste.

Friendly barstaff. Food looked good quality, but wasn't cheap.

The bar was rather bland and 'hotel-y', but didn't admit children in any case. The family room was overrun with diners unable to get a table in the bar and so we were forced to sit outside, on the patio, in the drizzle. All rather frustrating.

Despite a Good Beer Guide listing, not the sort of place I'd stay for more than a pint.

11 Aug 2008 17:31

The Sportsman's Arms Hotel, Pateley Bridge

Called in again recently, whilst on another walking weekend in Pateley Bridge. However, we had a very different experience this time. Our two pints of Black Sheep were very short. When we asked for them to be topped up, it was done so very grudgingly, accompanied by a look of total contempt.

It’s obvious that food and wine take priority here. However, if they are going to sell beer they should at least do so in the right spirit. All very disappointing after our last visit. I doubt that we’ll return

15 Jul 2008 14:54

The Plough Inn, Wakefield

A medium sized, traditional village pub, just off the A655 Wakefield- Castleford road. Essentially, it’s one large U-shaped drinking area, with the addition of a small room, opposite the bar. Quite a dark interior, but the extensive wooden panelling, low ceilings, exposed beams and discreet lighting all combine to give the place a nice cosy feel.

Although technically a free house, it basically features Theakston’s beer: Best Bitter, XB and Old Peculier. Also, John Smith’s for those that don’t like anything too tasty. The OP was very good, fresh tasting, well pulled and a perfect temperature.

A young, friendly, welcoming barmaid. When she couldn’t answer a query, about how the layout of the pub had changed, she called over the landlord, who was enjoying a laughter filled game of darts with his regulars. He was soon talking passionately about his beer and the large extension that was under way, which will provide a new dining area. If the quality of the food is anything like his enthusiasm, it should be a good place to eat.

Had a good, lively atmosphere, particularly for a Sunday evening.

The only downside I could see was the lack of a decent outdoor drinking area.

In short, a classic, friendly, community local. Will definitely return.

9 Jul 2008 17:29

The White Horse Inn, Sharlston Common

A large, traditional, stone built pub, which was a manor house in a former life. Hidden away between two arterial roads, it is one of those places that feel very rustic, even though it is just a few hundred yards off the beaten track.

It has three rooms, two of which have been refurbished to a high standard. The main lounge, in particular, feels very comfortable with its exposed stone wall and original wooden beams.

Two real ales on this visit: Tetley Bitter- a regular fixture and Wells’ ‘Bombardier’ as the ‘ever changing guest beer’. The ‘Bombardier’ was a decent temperature and well pulled, but unfortunately tasted a little old.

Food looked to feature highly and seemed good value for money. Traditional pub fare and plenty of it seems to be the ethos, judging by the portion sizes. There was also a ‘children’s menu’ and a short, but safe, wine list.

Bar staff were friendly and attentive.

There’s a large beer garden in front of the pub, affording a fine view over towards Emley Moor. The garden also has a play area for small children.

I liked this pub, but if, as I suspect, the guest ales are going down the boring Pedigree / Greene King / Bombardier route, then I would be unlikely to return. Something from a Yorkshire micro? Then yes, definitely.

3 Jul 2008 18:47

The College, Wakefield

A comfortable, traditional pub, on the northern edge of the town centre. Although it’s opened up into one big space there are several discernible drinking areas.

Just Marston’s ‘Pedigree’ as a real ale. Not my favourite by any means, however the quality was fine- clean tasting, served at a decent temperature and well pulled.

A chatty, friendly landlady/ barmaid on this visit.

Quite a decent buzz for a Wednesday lunchtime. Had a mixed clientele: Regulars propping up the bar and office workers spending their breaks there. Pub food looked to be no-nonsense traditional fare.

Quiz night Thursday. Karaoke night Friday. Has a pool table and Sky TV.

Another solid, if uninspiring, boozer. Once again, a guest ale, or at least a second regular choice, would probably work wonders.

25 Jun 2008 15:06

The Harewood Arms, Wakefield

Traditional city centre pub, on the quieter side of Wakefield. It’s warmly and richly decorated, but the horseshoe shaped interior is perhaps let down by a rather under-whelming bar.

Two real ales: Tetley Bitter and Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’. The ‘Landlord’ was served at a decent temperature, but wasn’t the freshest. I suspect turnover is very limited, as the place was absolutely dead when I called on a Thursday evening. Just five people in the place. Being sandwiched geographically between the Fernandes Tap and the Six Chimneys probably doesn’t help.

Friendly, welcoming barman.

Limited, but interesting looking, lunchtime menu.

A pub with huge potential.

29 Apr 2008 20:21

Six Chimneys, Wakefield

One of the blander, city centre Wetherspoons’ I’ve been in. Essentially, just a long narrow room. The usual inofensive decor and mixture of seating styles, including a banquette section.

Eight real ales on this visit, the quality of my Magpie ‘Early Bird’ was adequate, but not the best.

Friendly, helpful barstaff.

Good chilled atmosphere, when I called on a Thursday evening.

28 Apr 2008 15:02

The Black Horse, Wakefield

Not quite cosy, traditional town centre pub. Three drinking areas, on two levels. Good standard of décor, but the lighting is too bright to be truly relaxing.

Just John Smith’s as a real ale. Quality OK. However, the landlady’s reception immediately turned cool when I expressed my disappointment about it being the only beer they had on!

Seems to attract a broad clientele. A gentle, chatty buzz when I called on a Thursday evening.

Pub food looks better than average.
Pool table. Good size patio area.
Very close to Westgate station.

In short: A solid, if uninspiring, boozer. A guest ale would probably work wonders.

28 Apr 2008 14:32

The Swan With Two Necks, Wakefield

Once a traditional city centre pub owned by Tetley, before getting the ‘Oirish’ treatment as Scruffy O’ Murphy’s a few years ago. It’s reverted once again to the original name, but the interior is now a bland, soulless, open-plan space: Think laminate flooring and mini halogen spots above the bar. Only the acid etched and stain glass windows hint at its former glory.

Its obviously designed to pack in roaming gangs of ‘vertical drinkers’ doing the ‘Westgate Run’. That probably explains the lack of real ale and just the usual smooth-flow and super-chilled suspects on offer.

The barmaid was friendly and welcoming. However, there were some truly obnoxious punters, spouting racist rubbish, on the evening that I called.

Has a pool table. Beer garden to the rear.

I certainly won’t be darkening its doorway again. Disappointing.

20 Apr 2008 22:40

Prince Of Wales, Leeds

Two roomed, city centre pub, tucked away in a side street at the feet of Leeds station.

The wedge shaped main room is quite plainly furbished, bordering on the Spartan, with traditional chairs, tables and wooden backed benches. The only ‘reckless’ touch being the four fisherman’s lamps hanging above the small bar. The back room is more ornate and parlour like, featuring leather sofas etc. but it seems to clash with the overall character of the pub.

Four real ales on this visit: Ossett ‘Pale Gold’, Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’, Leeds ‘Ascension’ and ‘Prince of Wales’ Special’- basically Taylor’s ‘Golden Best’ on offer. Excellent ‘Ascension’: Fresh tasting, well pulled and a good temperature. Worthy of a ‘Good Beer Guide’ mention, if it’s consistently as good as this.

Friendly, helpful old-fashioned landlord. (Hails all new punters as ‘Gentlemen’ as they walk through the door!)

Good early evening atmosphere, when I called. Seems to attract a mixed, if dominantly male, clientele.The only downside, for me, was the video jukebox, which I found rather intrusive.

Worth trying as an alternative, if the nearby Scarbrough Hotel is packed.

Will definitely call again.

18 Apr 2008 14:03

The Joseph Bramah, Barnsley

A huge town-centre Wetherspoons, with four distinct drinking areas, over two floors. Overall, it has a solid, traditional feel, no doubt influenced by the liberal use of wooden panelling. The interior is mostly low ceilinged and quite dark. There is a tiny outdoor drinking area to the front of the pub, but a larger enclosed patio to the rear.

On entering via the Market Hill doors, you almost feel as though you’re going underground. Given Barnsley’s mining heritage that somehow seems quite appropriate!

My visit coincided with the International Beer Festival and seven of the eight hand pumps were on the go. The Everard’s ‘Sunchaser’ was fresh tasting, well pulled and a good temperature, unfortunately it was just a dull beer.

The young barmaid was very friendly and welcoming and enjoyed a bit of banter.

A good, friendly, chatty atmosphere when I called late on a Friday afternoon. Surprisingly broad clientele, despite the chain’s reputation for cheap beer.

13 Apr 2008 14:46

The Chequers Inn, Ledsham

A superb example of a traditional English village pub. There are four small rooms with exposed beams, wooden panelling and real fires. All of them are slightly dark and envelop you with a wonderful, almost conspiratorial, cosiness.

Four real ales on our visit: Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’ and ‘Golden Best’, John Smith’s and Theakston’s Best Bitter. The ‘Landlord’ was truly outstanding, fresh as a daisy. There’s an awful lot of mediocre Taylor’s about these days, but this tasted just how I remembered it from years ago.

The Chequers is famous for its food and it certainly looked to be of a high standard, judging by what was being served to diners. Of course, that was reflected in the prices, the top end of acceptable. The chips we tried as a snack were amazing. Proclaimed the best ever, not just by us, but also the adjacent table! (There is also a separate restaurant above the bars).

The place was very busy and had a good atmosphere on a Saturday lunchtime. Because of the six day license, I guess many visitors substitute a visit at this time for Sunday. (One hundred and seventy years ago the lady of the manor, who owned the pub, closed it on Sundays as she was unhappy with her employees’ over indulgence on the Sabbath! The same family still own the pub and they have maintained the tradition down the years).

Pleasant, if slightly prickly, barmaid / landlady, probably owing to the rush.

Has a very comfortable outdoor drinking area, with seating on several levels.

Although very rural in feel, it is actually only half a mile or so from the A1. It would make a great ‘pit stop’ if you’re on a long journey. Handy for the RSPB reserve at nearby Fairburn Ings.

Highly recommended.

6 Apr 2008 19:06

The Dam Inn Toby, Wakefield

Situated next to the lake, in the pretty village of Newmillerdam, the original Dam Inn was a fine, free standing, stone building. However, as a Toby Carvery, it has expanded over the years to become a vast corporate cavern.

The original pub part still feels quite cosy, but the newer areas are rather soulless. Most of the interior has that over-furbished, yet bland, ‘McPub’ look.
Maybe the punters latch onto that, as it was a strangely subdued atmosphere for a busy, bank holiday lunchtime.

No real ale, only keg and smoothflow beers. Trying a pint of ‘Old Speckled Hen’, out of sheer desperation, it was as woefully over-chilled and disappointing as I imagined it would be.

Staff lacked warmth and seemed undertrained. E.g. my barmaid was stood about three feet away from the ‘Hen’ pump but didn’t know where it was! They were also clueless about trying to serve people in order.

It’s hard to find ‘positives’, but there are several benches next to the pub, for outdoor drinking.
Overall, very disappointing.

As an alternative, go to the Fox and Hounds, just the other side of the dam. At least it sells cask beer and feels like a proper pub. Judging by the menu, the food looks more promising also).

1 Apr 2008 21:13

The Sportsman's Arms Hotel, Pateley Bridge

Lovely old country hotel and restaurant, with a comfortable public bar, nestled away in beautiful Nidderdale countryside. You’ll cross a fine old pack horse bridge, by way of greeting, if arriving by road. Alternatively, you can build up a thirst by walking over the fields, following the river, to get there.

The bar is decorated to a high standard and in the style you’d expect from a high class country hotel.
The Sportsman’s Arms has been a family business for years and that probably explained the warm welcome we received at the bar, despite our less than spotless walking gear

Just the ubiquitous Black Sheep Bitter as a real ale, but it was kept well enough, if a tad cold.
Food looked to be high quality, ‘top end’ traditional. Mind you at £9-10.00 for starters and £18-20.00 for mains it should be .It certainly made £2.50 a pint seem a bargain!

There is an outdoor drinking area in front of the hotel.
Worth a visit for the scenery alone.

31 Mar 2008 22:08

The Bridge Inn, Pateley Bridge

Unpretentious, family friendly pub, a short way out of the town centre. The three rooms with stone floors and low ceilings have a certain cosy charm. There is also a patio for outdoor drinking when the weather’s decent.
Reasonably kept beers from the Black Sheep Brewery: Bitter, ‘Ale’ and ‘Riggwelter’. Unfortunately, served a little too cold for my taste. Evidence of occasional guest ales.
The young barman that served me was rather sullen and off-hand.
Food available, with several vegetarian options.
Can get horrendously busy at times, owing to nearby camping and caravan sites.

28 Mar 2008 14:27

The Three Houses, Sandal

The pub has gained ‘Casque Marque’ accreditation since my last visit. Beer quality seems more consistent.

25 Mar 2008 18:21

The Town Hall Tavern, Leeds

A medium sized, city centre pub, opened up into three drinking areas. Decorated to a high standard, with photos of old Leeds on the walls and interesting memorabilia on the shelves. One of Timothy Taylor’s stable of pubs.

Reputedly the only pub in Leeds to offer a regular range of Taylor’s ales, besides Landlord. On my visit there were also Golden Best, Best Bitter and Ram Tam. (What a shame they couldn’t offer Dark Mild to complete the set and be a true mecca for Taylor fans).
The’ Landlord’ was as fresh as a daisy and served nicely cool, not cold.

A pleasant barmaid, who topped up my pint twice, without asking.

The pub was fairly quiet and lacking in atmosphere when I called on a Thursday evening. Always known as a watering hole for the legal profession, I suspect it is still busiest during the day.
Handy for concerts at the Town Hall. (A good alternative to the nearby Victoria Hotel, which can get rammed on music nights). Also handy for the city art gallery.

Cask Marque accredited. Has Sky TV.

26 Feb 2008 12:59

The Graziers, Wakefield

A small, traditional street-corner pub. It feels cosy, with an L-shaped floor plan, on two levels.

A warm welcome from the young barmaid, but unfortunately, none of the four hand pumps had any real ale on, I suspect permanently. Instead, I was directed towards John Smith’s ‘Smoothflow’. I voted with my feet and retreated out the door.

A few years ago, The Graziers sold a half decent pint of Landlord and it was a genuine shock to see such a decline and lack of choice.

A great shame.

26 Feb 2008 12:57

The White Hart, Denby Dale

A small, traditional roadside pub, set back from the main road that runs through a village of some character, dominated by an engineering marvel of a viaduct.

The interior is open plan and mixes old and modern, not altogether successfully. Charming heavy wooden beams and pale laminate flooring. Mmm. Similarly, traditional pub seating and leather sofas. However, the coal fire is a real plus.

Three real ales on this visit: Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’, Black Sheep Bitter and Tetley Bitter. The ‘Landlord’ was very average, obviously from an old barrel and served too cold.

The young barmaid was very friendly, nothing being too much trouble.

Food available. Sky TV. Outdoor drinking areas. Child friendly. Some pleasant walks nearby.

26 Feb 2008 12:54

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

Called in the other night, my first visit for a a few weeks.Needn't have worried, the beer quality was great as usual.Also ended up catching a later train... as usual!

18 Feb 2008 17:37

Harrys Bar, Wakefield

A small one roomed pub, tucked away fifty yards or so from the main road. (Not the easiest place to find if you’re a casual visitor, it’s best approached via a passageway, just up the hill from the nearby Elephant and Castle).

The interior is cosy and very relaxing. Wooden beams, exposed brickwork and partitioned drinking areas all contribute to the intimate feel.

Six real ales on this visit: Ossett ‘Excelsior’ and ‘Silver King’, plus Taylor’s ‘Landlord’ as the regular beers. Also, Red Lion ‘Oregon Gold’, Little Valley ‘Red Dyke’ and Fenland ‘Smokestack Lightning’ as guest ales. Both the Ossett beers were excellent: Fresh tasting, well pulled and served cool, not cold.
There were also several high quality lagers and Hoegaarden on draught.

Not the friendliest barman ever, but he was very efficient.

The size of ‘Harry’s Bar is one of its strengths, but also a weakness. Fantastic, when fairly quiet, but it can be horrendous when busy, particularly weekends and live music nights. It was originally a refuge from the locally infamous ‘Westgate Run’, but it is now unfortunately part of it.

Handy for several nearby restaurants, including the ‘Spice Cottage’ next door. Westgate station is also very close. If looking to kill time before a train, the beer is far superior here to the Elephant and Castle and Henry Boon’s. However, be aware that the pub doesn’t open until five o’ clock, Monday to Saturday.

Highly recommended.

13 Feb 2008 16:07

The Swan and Cygnet, Wakefield

A modern roadside pub, owned by Marston’s, situated on the edge of a busy roundabout. It has an almost cavernous, L-shaped interior, sub-divided into several drinking areas.

Its position on the edge of a business park, also opposite Pugneys Country Park and a mile down the road from the local Asda probably explained why it was surprisingly busy when I called on Wednesday lunchtime.

Three real ales on my visit: Marston’s ‘Pedigree’, Jennings ‘Cumberland Ale’, Jennings ‘Cocker Hoop’. My first pint of ‘C-H’ was like vinegar. Although it was replaced, no apology was given by the rather sullen, young barmaid. The second pint was drinkable, but the barrel was obviously way past its best. Very disappointing.

Food looked to be standard pub fare, all pretty safe. However, the clientele of mostly over fifties seemed to be lapping it up.
Commercial, mixed bag of a wine list, bizarrely featuring both the execrable ‘Black Tower’ and the excellent ‘Casillero del Diablo Carmenere’.

Apart from the young barmaid, the other staff seemed friendly and helpful.
There was an outdoor drinking area, on a patio in front of the pub, but so close to a busy arterial road into Wakefield I can’t believe anybody would want to drink there.

Although quite light and spacious, The Swan also felt very bland and corporate, slightly ersatz. Nothing offensive, but nothing inspiring either.
I suspect that food is deemed more important than ‘wet’ sales and my score reflects that. Five I’m afraid.

5 Feb 2008 16:23

The Woodman Inn, Kirkburton

Tucked away, in a small hamlet, just off the A629, ‘The Woodman’ is an up market pub and restaurant, also offering accommodation. The pub interior is narrow and linear, comprised of four drinking areas. Décor is to a high standard and the rooms are cosily low ceilinged.
The restaurant is housed on the floor above, although bar meals are available downstairs.

There were three real ales on offer, on our visit: Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’ and ‘Golden Best’, also Black Sheep Bitter. The ‘Landlord’ was clean, fresh and served at a decent temperature. Unfortunately, it was a lively barrel and the young barman was clueless how to deal with it. Ordering a round was an ordeal.

Eating in the restaurant, the food on the Christmas menu was mainly to a high standard. However, the service was, at best, rather erratic e.g. wine arriving half way through the main course. Partly due, I suspect, to the sheer number of waiting staff. Also, the maitre d’ appeared to be one of those resentful, passive-aggressive types. In fairness, the place was absolutely heaving and any shortcomings may well have been down to the Christmas rush and temporary hirings.

Service aside, I came away with the impression that everything at ‘The Woodman’ is all very tasteful, if a little lacking in soul, particularly in the bar. However, it would be interesting to compare notes after a visit on a normal weekend.

29 Dec 2007 16:28

The Shepherds Boy, Dewsbury

The Shepherd’s Boy is a large, traditional, roadside pub about two thirds of a mile from the town centre. It is one of ten pubs owned by Ossett Brewery. Originally with four rooms, it has been sympathetically opened up into three drinking areas, two of which have wood burning stoves. There is an interesting bottle collection lining the walls.

Most Ossett pubs have eight real ales and there was a full range on this visit: ‘Excelsior’, ‘Silver King’, ‘Pale Gold’, ‘Shepherd’s Boy Bitter’ all from the Ossett brewery itself. Plus Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’, Fernandes ‘Brewer’s Gold’, Oakham ‘Raucous Reindeer’ and Nethergate ‘Old Growler’. The ‘Old Growler’ was a satisfying and warming porter, perfect for a freezing cold day. Very fresh and well served.

The landlady was welcoming and friendly. She was more than happy to talk me through the beers.

I called on Sunday lunchtime and found it surprisingly quiet, but put that down to the pre-Christmas shopping rush, in town. Special mention must be made of the free bread and dripping, black pudding, pork pie and scotch eggs available on platters, at the bar . A nice touch. As was having four pint takeaway containers for the beers. I wish more pubs had this facility.

When you consider The West Riding Licensed Refreshment Rooms is also only a few minutes away, Dewsbury is very well served for quality real ale outlets.

Highly recommended.

21 Dec 2007 14:50

The Walnut Tree, Sandal

Externally, one of the ugliest pubs I have ever seen. Originally an half decent, brick built Tetley’s house in the 1970’s, it has been unsympathetically extended several times, over the years, to become the vast, sprawling mock-Tudor monstrosity it is today.
Internally, it is a huge, split level open-plan space, with little soul or character. A vast chunk of the floor space is given over to a dining area.

Make no mistake this is a real ‘Marmite’ pub: You’ll either love it or you’ll hate it.
That will depend on how you feel about only smooth-flow beers and cheap lagers being available and a food menu that largely features the words ‘dippers’, ‘combos’ and ‘steaks’. In short, the fare is various combinations of saturated fat, lumps of protein and chips.
The pub proudly offers a ‘2 for 1’ deal whereby the cheaper of the two adult main courses is free. However, you don’t have to be Stephen Hawking to work out that the cost of a meal is artificially high by at least 50% to accommodate this.
The pub also has a ‘Wacky Warehouse’ soft play area, for children. Birthday parties are commonly held here with their meals been eaten in the dining area. It can get pretty noisy.

One real plus is that the young staff are friendly and welcoming.

Debatably, a fantastic family pub, or a corporate hell hole? I do know it’s definitely not for me.

15 Dec 2007 00:43

Mr Foley's Cask Ale House, Leeds

Until recently known as ‘The Baroque’ and owned by Okells Brewery. Now part of the York Brewery stable.

A split level, multi-roomed pub of considerable character, with décor to a high standard. The view towards the bar is particularly impressive.

Ten real ales on this visit, with several from the York Brewery, as you’d expect, but also three from Leeds Brewery. A pint of their seasonal brew ‘Ale Mary’ was faultless: Rich, warming and a perfect temperature.
There are also several high quality lagers on draught and a good stock of ‘world’ bottled beers.

The young(ish) male bar staff were friendly and efficient. However, there was an awful lot of ‘effin’ when talking amongst them selves, but still in earshot of the punters. Not the greatest advert for the place lads.

Overall though, I loved the place. Will definitely be back for a return visit.

9 Dec 2007 12:22

Whitelocks, Leeds

A contender for the title of most famous pub in Leeds and rightly so. Like several nearby pubs, it is approached by a long, narrow, almost Dickensian alleyway, part of which is used as an outdoor drinking area.

The interior is cosy and atmospheric, consisting of a small bar and a separate dining room. The décor is all wood and mirrors, which gives the place great character.

Seven real ales on my visit: Old Peculier, John Smith’s, Speckled Hen, Black Sheep Bitter, Deuchars IPA, Theakston’s Best and Milestone ‘Olde Home Wrecker’. The quality of the OHW was good, if not the best. It was served a tad cold, which may have contributed to my sense of it being relatively tasteless for a beer of 4.9%.

Young, friendly bar staff.

Fairly quiet on my visit, though I can imagine how busy it gets at times.
A ‘must visit’ pub though.

9 Dec 2007 12:20

The Three Houses, Sandal

Large, historic roadside inn, undergoing something of a renaissance, under the new ownership. There are two drinking areas in the main bar, with a small room housing a pool table at the back. There is also a separate dining room. A recent refurbishment has made the pub feel very comfortable.

Four real ales on this visit: John Smith’s, Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’, Deuchars IPA and Black Sheep Bitter. This is a pub where ‘John’s’ is king and the quality of the other beers sometimes suffers accordingly. Thus, my Deuchars was served at a decent temperature but tasted a tad stale.

Rapidly gaining a reputation for good food, particularly Sunday lunches.
There is a better than average wine list.

The bar staff are predominantly young, friendly and enjoy a bit of banter.

There is a decent sized patio for outdoor drinking, but you’ll have to share it with the smokers. Their covered areas are so good that many of the nicotine-addicted regulars only go inside the pub to order at the bar!

27 Nov 2007 17:07

The Abbey Inn, Newlay

Lovely old pub, a former 18th century farmhouse, situated between the River Aire and the Leeds-Liverpool canal. Feels very rural, although just several hundred yards off the A65. The rooms are cosy and low ceilinged.

Visited here in August for a music and beer festival. The place was heaving, so it was hard to get a true feel of the place. However, the quality of the real ales was excellent.

A popular venue for the local music scene, there is a regular 'singaround' on Tuesday nights. Quiz night Sunday.

27 Nov 2007 11:37

The Fox and Hounds, Wakefield

A large, traditional roadside pub, recently re-opened after a refurbishment. There are two drinking areas and a third dining area that opens out into a conservatory.

Just John Smith's as a real ale on this visit, the Deuchars was unfortunately 'off'. As with Tetley's, I find it hard to get excited about such a bland beer. However, the quality was fine- clean tasting and a decent temperature.

Food looks to be standard pub fare. Sunday lunches served between 12-8.Fridays and Saturdays are 'Curry Nite' (sic).

The young barmaid was friendly and helpful.

A good starting point/ ending point for walks around the lake opposite. Considering the amount of potential trade from visitors to this local beauty spot, it all feels a bit subdued and unexciting. Could offer far more.

To end on a positive, the pub does have a pleasant, sunken beer garden.

26 Nov 2007 13:47

The Black Rock, Wakefield

A small, traditional city centre pub. An attractive tiled entrance opens into a comfortable L shaped bar.

Disappointingly, just Tetley Bitter as a real ale on this visit, even though the pub is mentioned in the Good Beer Guide as having a regular guest beer. On querying this with the barmaid she said there wouldn't be one 'until tomorrow'. Great.

I can't get excited about Tetley's so I will just say it was fresh and well pulled, if a little too cold.
The barmaid was pleasant enough.
Can't see myself returning if the guest ale policy is such a gamble.

22 Nov 2007 21:58

The New Inn, Wakefield

The New Inn is a friendly, traditional, village pub, serving the whole community. As is often the case, it’s a bit of a ‘curate’s egg’.
The pub itself is cosily low ceilinged and divided into two drinking areas, with a third dining area. Outside, there are tables immediately in front of the pub and a decent grassed beer garden to the side.

The present landlord has worked hard to improve the quality of the beer and was awarded a first entry into the 2007 Good Beer Guide for his efforts (maintained in 2008). There are four regular real ales: John Smith’s, Jennings’ ‘Cumberland Ale’, Timothy Taylor’s ‘Landlord’ and ‘Leeds Pale’ from the new local Leeds Brewery. There is also an ever changing ‘guest ale’, usually from a Yorkshire micro. Quality of the regular beers is good but variable, no doubt owing to the uneasy relationship between choice and turnover. The guest ales, dispensed from nine gallon barrels, don’t usually have that problem.
There are also several lagers and Hoegaarden on tap. Plus, the usual ‘smooth-flow’ and ‘super-chilled’ suspects.
The short wine list looks dull, comprised of mostly uninspiring ‘factory wines’ but in fairness it was probably imposed on the landlord.

Food hovers between standard pub fare and ‘gastro-pub’ cuisine. The landlord is gradually trying to move things up-market. However, local opinion has it that the quality is inconsistent and sometimes disappointing.

There are quizzes on Sunday and Monday evenings, but if you’re not a fan they are noisily intrusive. Live bands are featured on Tuesday evenings.

One real bonus is the pub’s proximity to the Trans-Pennine Trail. The path, along the old Barnsley Canal, is virtually opposite. It soon opens out into farmland and wooded areas. It is possible to walk to fellow CAMRA listed pub ‘The Anglers Retreat’ at Wintersett through the countryside. Pleasant walks around the reclaimed Walton Colliery site are also close by.

Staff are friendly and efficient and you are virtually guaranteed a warm welcome.
The pub in general is also quite child friendly.

20 Nov 2007 22:18

The North Bar, Leeds

A narrow, one-roomed, city centre bar close to the Grand Theatre. Low ceilinged and quite plain, the understated decor contrasts markedly with the well stocked and attractive counter area.Intimate and friendly, it has an almost arty, bohemian feel.

Three real ales on my visit: Wentworth'Peacock', Wylam 'Haugh' and Outlaw 'Chinook'. I tried the 'Peacock' and the 'Chinook'. Both were fresh tasting and well pulled, but unfortunately a little too cold. However, as they were cellared with eleven different draught continental beers, it's maybe expecting too much of such a small place.
Bar staff were friendly and welcoming, if not quite product savvy. (On asking for a pale beer was served the mid-brown Wentworth rather than the Outlaw.A few brownie points lost there I'm afraid).

Loved the atmosphere though and will definitely return again.

15 Nov 2007 23:48

Becketts Bank, Leeds

Huge, hangar like, city centre Wetherspoon's. (The ceiling must be 25-30 feet off the floor). A mezzanine helps to break up the box like space, but is only partially successful. With its glass wall tiles and huge exposed 'air-con' pipes it's obviously going down the 'urban chic' route.

Nine real ales on my visit. I opted for 'Lord Simmons' from the new, local Leeds Brewery. A rich, warming, nut-brown ale, it was fresh, well pulled and a good temperature.
Staff were young and enthusiastic, although too busy for any banter.
Despite being busy with students, 'suits' and a pre-clubbing crowd, I found it curiously lacking in atmosphere and slightly sterile.
Decent enough beer, but not for me.

12 Nov 2007 12:11

The George Inn, Hubberholme

A wonderful, small, two roomed pub set in a picturesque hamlet. The rooms are low ceilinged, oak beamed and full of character. There was also a lovely real fire when we called.
Two real ales on our visit: Copper Dragon 'Golden Pippin' and Black Sheep Ale. The Golden Pippin was excellent- fresh, cool and well pulled. After a superb pint in the nearby 'White Lion' at Cray, I think, amazingly, this was even better!
A friendly if somewhat subdued landlord.
Several local walking routes pass close by.
Highly recommended.

6 Nov 2007 14:12

The White Lion, Cray

A lovely, traditional roadside inn, surrounded by majestic Dales countryside. There are three drinking areas with a real fire in the large room opposite the bar.
Four real ales on our visit: Timothy Taylor's 'Landlord' and 'Golden Best'.Copper Dragon 'Golden Pippin' and 'Scotts 1816'. The Golden Pippin was faultless- flavoursome, fresh tasting and served cool NOT cold. (After climbing Buckden Pike the hard way,the first pint barely touched the sides of my throat!)
The hearty portions of food were good value and I'd recommend the filled giant Yorkshire puddings.
Bar staff friendly and attentive.

Apparently, the pub has now been taken over by Enterprise Inns. It will be interesting to see if the character of the pub changes.

However, at the moment highly recommended.

6 Nov 2007 13:42

The Wrens, Leeds

Three roomed city centre pub, virtually opposite the Grand Theatre. Two of the rooms are quite plain, with the Theatre Bar much more ornate by comparison.
Three regular ales: Timothy Taylor's 'Landlord', Black Sheep Bitter and Deuchar's IPA. The guest ale was Okells 'Dr. Okells IPA', which tasted fantastic, if a tad cold. It was so full flavoured it was hard to judge the quality of the 'Landlord', but it was served at a much better temperature.
The young female barstaff were both friendly and helpful.
Obviously popular with staff from the Grand.
Slightly lacking in atmosphere, on this Thursday night visit, but worth another punt.

21 Oct 2007 15:40

The Victoria Hotel, Leeds

Splendid three-roomed city centre pub, between the Town Hall and the Infirmary. Only the main bar open on this visit, but a feast for the eyes in itself: High ceilinged with lots of wood, leather, mirrors and a warm red decor. Almost reminiscent of a classy French brasserie.
Four regular ales: Acorn 'Barnsley Bitter', Taylor 'Landlord', Tetley Bitter and Mild. (The barman assured me that the Victoria is one of only three pubs in Leeds that now sell Tetley Mild). There are normally up to three guest ales, but only Hambleton's 'Stud' this evening. The Acorn and Stud were both nicely cool, flavoursome and well pulled.
Young, friendly, enthusiastic barstaff.
The only downside was the piped music being intrusively loud, (also 70's and 80's funk seemed totally out of place). However, that's a small quibble.
Still highly recommended.

16 Oct 2007 10:28

The Spread Eagle, Wragby

Traditional three-roomed, roadside, village pub. Wonderful snug and lounge, with low ceilings, exposed beams and wooden panelling.
Unfortunately, no real ale. Only keg Sam Smith's bitter and lagers.
The food menu looked impressive initially, but I suspect the kitchen probably hears more 'pings' than a submarine sonar room.
One welcoming barmaid, one offhand.
A further example of lovely pub, shame about the beer.

5 Oct 2007 00:05

The Windmill Inn, Crofton

A large roadside pub with an open plan interior, offering three drinking areas, complete with unsettling, mishmash decor. The new stone pillars were particularly unpleasant.
The pub no longer serves real ale, just the usual super-chilled and smoothflow nonsense. (As the pub was busy and with virtually every drinker over fifty, I can't believe the demand isn't there).
A welcoming barmaid/landlady and one very sheepish looking landlord when I enquired about cask beer.
Called on a Wednesday evening, which was live music night. Unfortunately, the pre-band music, played through the PA system, clashed with the overhead TV.
There are karaoke and quiz nights.
Very disappointing.

4 Oct 2007 23:31

The Angel Inn, Leeds

Tucked away down an alley, between two shopping precincts, The Angel is a large city centre pub comprised of four rooms over two floors.
Decor is unashamedly traditional and with the leather chairs and high ceilings feels almost like a 'gentlemens club' from a bygone age.
As it's a Sam Smith's pub there was just Old Brewery Bitter, as a real ale, on my visit. Unfortunately, it was the familiar tale of decent beer served far too cold. Couldn't argue with the price though, at £1.33 a pint.
Food looked pretty standard, but with a few Mediterranean twists and spicy touches.
The barman was pleasant enough, if oozing world weariness.
I was struck by the real mixture of punters: Shoppers, professionals, builders etc but primarily those there for the cheap beer. As was mentioned below, some of those drinking at the tables in the alley would be off-putting for a casual visitor.
In short, I liked the pub, but the temperature of the beer would stop me returning. Price isn't everything.

2 Oct 2007 13:53

The Redoubt, Wakefield

A wonderful traditional pub, on the edge of the city centre. Comprised of four small, low-ceilinged rooms, it has a truly cosy, comfortable atmosphere.
A regular Good Beer Guide entry for many years.
Three regular ales: Tetley Mild, Tetley Bitter and Timothy Taylor's 'Landlord'. Good 'Landlord'- fresh and well pulled, but just on the edge of being too cold, for my taste, to be perfect.
Unfortunately, a rather sullen, unwelcoming barmaid on my visit.
As the start of the locally infamous 'Westgate Run', it probably gets horrendously busy at times over the weekend.
Highly recommended.

23 Sep 2007 19:17

The Elephant and Castle, Wakefield

A city centre pub with a wonderful tiled facade, still advertising 'Warick Ales'from long ago.
The two front rooms have been 'opened up'into one drinking area. Low ceilinged and sumptuously decorated, complete with historic photos of old Wakefield, it has a great atmosphere. (A back room has been retained for the pool table).
Unfortunately, only John Smith's as a real ale, which was served far too cold. However, it was fresh and well pulled.
Traditional pub food is served both at lunchtime and in the evening. It looked good value.
Offers B&B. Bang opposite Westgate station.
A classic example of lovely pub, shame about the beer.

20 Sep 2007 14:12

The Courthouse Station, Barnsley

A large town centre pub, with a modern, open plan interior. There is a substantial horse-shoe shaped drinking area,including a raised section opposite the bar. The high ceiling makes it feel roomy and spacious. Unfortunately, the music competing with several large screen TV's, tuned to Sky, negated the calm atmosphere.
Two real ales on my visit: Caledonian '80 Shillings' and Theakstons 'Black Bull'. The '80 Shillings' was pretty average, but served at a decent temperature.
Bar staff were friendly, if not very efficient. (No idea who to serve next, even when it wasn't busy).
Seems to attract a mixed clientele.
On balance, a slightly better ambience than the nearby 'Gatehouse', although the beer quality bears no comparison.

15 Sep 2007 11:06

The Angler's Retreat, Wintersett

A small, traditional two-roomed pub, on the edge of a village undergoing substantial gentrification. The interior is pretty plain, verging on the drab.
Three real ales on my visit: Sam Smith's Bitter, Tetley Bitter and Acorn Barnsley Bitter. The Acorn was clean tasting and a decent temperature. Also, pretty cheap at £1.76 a pint.
The barman was friendly and efficient.
There is seating in front of the pub and a decent beer garden to the side.
Handy for 'The Heronry' country park and good walking, including part of the Trans-Pennine Trail.
As the character of the village is changing,I wonder how long the pub will stay in its present form?

13 Sep 2007 20:02

The Lord of the Manor, New Crofton

Lovely 17th century, stone built farmhouse, incongruously surrounded by modern housing.
The three roomed interior has great character, including such features as low ceilings, high wooden benches and a range fireplace. All contribute to a real cosy atmosphere.
Just Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Bitter on draught. At £1.29 a pint, it feels almost churlish to criticise it, but the serving temperature was far too cold, nigh on that of lager. A shame because it tasted fresh and well kept.
The barmaid was very friendly and welcoming.
There is a beer garden to the front of the pub, under mature trees.
Even on a quiet Monday evening there were one two characters exchanging some typically dry Yorkshire humour.
Could be an absolute gem. Please,just turn the cooler down a bit eh landlord?

3 Sep 2007 23:22

The Cottage Inn, Dunstan

Friendly village pub based on a single storey cottage, before being extended outwards. Set on the edge of several acres of land, it's a roadside pub from the front and approached via a wooded drive from the rear.
Four real ales on our visit: Black Sheep Bitter, Mordue 'Workie Ticket', 'Hedonist' and 'Gold Tankard' from the Wylam brewery. The 'Tankard' was very good. Fresh and cool without being cold.
Staff were warm and welcoming.
Food pricey and slightly disappointing. Generally underseasoned and overly reliant on bought in industrial ingredients.
Pleasant, large beer garden. Decent adventure playground for kids.

27 Aug 2007 17:25

Jolly Fisherman, Craster

Slightly dark and dingy,verging on the tatty, but without an accompanying cosiness. Overlooks the harbour, with a beer garden virtually on the sea's edge.
Two real ales: 'Speckled Hen' and the ubiquitous Black Sheep Bitter. (The brewery certainly has Northumberland sewn up). The'Hen' seemed fresh but was served way too cold, a common criticism of many Cask Marque accredited pubs I feel.
Staff were enigmatic and stony faced. No attempt at a warm welcome or any banter, but quietly efficient. Bizarre.
Food was limited to just fish and chips during our visit. However, they were superb, with melt in the mouth fish.
In short, a bit of a curate's egg.

27 Aug 2007 16:24

Grey's Inn, Embleton

Small one roomed pub, with adjacent dining area, set in a pretty village. Three real ales on our visit: Black Sheep Bitter and two from the Wylam brewery 'Hedonist' and 'Summer Magic'. Quality O.K. but not the best.
Service was friendly, but not particularly efficient. At one stage there were four people behind the bar, but only one serving. However, to be fair, I suspect that at least one of them was a waitress.
The beer garden was small, but the pleasant raised terrace was a fantastic late afternoon sun-trap.
The food menu looked 'top end' traditional.
Handy for the superb local beach.

26 Aug 2007 18:23

The Red Lion, Alnmouth

Small and cosy one roomed pub, set in a charming coastal village. There is a separate dining area just off the bar.
Three real ales on our visit: Black Sheep Ale, Houston 'Peter's Well' and Derwent 'Parson's Pledge'. We tried the latter two and they were excellent: Flavoursome, a decent temperature and well pulled.
The beer garden was lovely with a raised decking area at one end. Unfortunately, the adjacent hedgerow was so overgrown that you could only see the estuary if you stood up!
The young lady behind the bar was friendly and efficient.
We could quite happily have stayed for hours.

26 Aug 2007 17:51

The Oddfellows Arms, Alnwick

Distinctly average two roomed town pub, near the north entrance to the castle.
The street hoarding advertised the 'Oddfellows' as a real ale pub, yet with only ONE handpump, serving Deuchar's, I thought they were stretching the description somewhat. It was actually a poor pint as well, far from fresh.
The pub's saving grace was the large, walled beer garden, offering terrific tree-lined shade on a hot, sunny day. Shame about the upturned plastic tables and scruffy piles of wood.
The landlady was pleasant enough.
A pub with huge potential.

25 Aug 2007 17:48

The Star Inn, Sandal

A pleasant medium sized, open plan pub, next to a busy main road. It's obviously had a recent(ish) refurb to a good standard, which combined with the low ceiling gives the place a cosy feel.
Three real ales on offer: John Smith's, Courage Director's and Theakston's Best. The Director's was very good- well pulled and nicely cool, NOT cold. Someone obviously knows what they're doing.
The wine list was short and dull as ditch water. Stowells? Ye Gods.
Food served every day apart from Sunday evening.Traditional pub food with no gastro-pub pretensions. Lasagne, mixed grill etc.
The young lady behind the bar was very chatty and welcoming.
Handy for Sandal RUFC and local restaurants.

17 Aug 2007 18:20

Wetherspoons, Leeds

Having drunk here several times over the past few months I have to admit that the beer quality has only varied between 'good' and 'excellent'.
However, I have never found it relaxing to on my visits. The decor is of the 'bleached wood and bland' variety and so is not really the problem.
Ultimately, I think it's the mix of punters. Basically, it's agitated, clock-watching commuters/ train catchers versus large, raucous crowds of 'vertical drinkers' out on the pish.
Sometimes there's an almost palpable tension in the place.Fortunately,the pleasures of match day have passed me by.
One saving grace is that Rooster's 'YPA' is a regular beer.

16 Aug 2007 22:27

Castle, Wakefield

Large roadside pub, part of the Ember Inns chain. Huge interior, 'tastefully' fitted out with lots of wood, leather and abstract art. Felt slightly artificial.
Three real ales: Tetley Bitter, Landlord and a guest beer. On my visit it was York 'Guzzler.' It was too cold and tasted old.
Food served all day, but from a suspiciously long TEN page menu.
Reasonably long wine list, but mostly 'factory wines'- Gallo Brothers etc.
The young barman was friendly and obliging.

16 Aug 2007 12:27

The Fernandes Brewery Tap and Bier Keller, Wakefield

So far, it would appear to be business as usual at the Fernandes Tap. The actual number of handpumps has increased from six to eight. Beer quality remains high. Fernandes beers will continue to be available, but they will not be brewed by David James. Two to three Ossett beers will always be on the pumps, which still allows for guest beers. Marvellous!
Some refurbishment work has begun.

16 Aug 2007 12:11

The Royal Hotel, Runswick Bay

Correction to July 4th review: With apologies to The RUNSWICK Hotel, it was there we found the beer much better, not the Cliffemount as stated.

9 Aug 2007 14:46

The Old Ship, Hammersmith

A largely characterless interior saved by its superior location. Frankly,the worst pint of Pride I have ever drunk: Cold, flat and suspiciously watery.
'Strongers' review suggests that the 'Old Ship'is a haven for families. However, our experience was the exact opposite.
We discerned more than a whiff of contempt for the punters. Or is that just London?

7 Aug 2007 15:04

The Packhorse, Woodhouse

As per 'karloff' another review based on a trip down memory lane! I used to drink here between 1986-92. It was my first visit for fifteen years.
A great surprise to see the multi-roomed lay out still intact and the old place pretty much as I remembered it, although it took me a while to work out the back room partition had gone.
Even with older, more critical eyes, the place still has a cosy, slightly tatty charm. However, the strips of duct tape on the leather benches were slightly disconcerting. A worrying sign I always think.
Also the decor is past its best and needs touching up. Having said that I'd rather the place stay as it is than have it subjected to being ripped apart and a soulless refurb.
The two female bar staff were friendly and welcoming.
There were three real ales on my visit- Deuchar's IPA, Tetley Bitter and Black Sheep. The Greene King IPA was 'off'. The Deuchar's was clean tasting and a decent temperature, although lacking that 'new barrel' freshness.
The food menu looked to cater for hungry students and was largely based on industrial stodge. I wasn't tempted.
Ideally, I'd like to return on an evening to get a true feel of the place, although I suspect I'd get slightly maudlin!
Still a gem.

20 Jul 2007 12:26

The Gatehouse, Barnsley

An unpromising grey and red exterior belies a comfortable modern town pub. Several different drinking areas and seating styles- leather sofas v high stoools etc. OK it's not a 'traditional' pub,but a pared down, clean look doesn't necessarily make it 'characterless'. It was certainly not as bleak as I was expecting.
Six real ales on my visit, all from micros. The quality of my Kelham Island 'Easy Rider' was excellent.
The only real downside to my visit was the intrusive 'R&B lite' music in the background.
The entrance to the new interchange is literally 20 yards away, which is great if you're not driving!

19 Jul 2007 10:14

The Fenton, Leeds

After a fifteen year hiatus, pretty much how I remember it, as regards the lay-out.It's a shame the original features that 'karloff' mentions have been largely negated by a bland, unsympathetic decor.
Quite busy for a Monday lunchtime,there was a lively crowd in the lounge, probably made up of staff from the nearby university.
Just two real ales on my visit- Tetley's and Greene King IPA. (The Deuchar's was 'off'). A surprisingly good pint of IPA.
The barman was friendly and obliging.
Judging by the pinned up flyers, it's a popular music venue these days.If you're 'of a certain age',as I am, it's probably not the place to go for an evening drink, unless you want to be made to feel very old.

16 Jul 2007 15:08

The Fernandes Brewery Tap and Bier Keller, Wakefield

STOP PRESS: Fernandes Tap to be taken over by Ossett Brewery!

If you wish to visit the Fernandes Tap in its current form,then get your skates on.You have two weeks before Ossett Brewery take control on July 30th. The James' are moving on to start a new micro in Filey- 'Five Leys'.

If the Tap is run along the lines of the excellent,Ossett owned, 'Rat and Ratchet' in Huddersfield then it should continue to be a fine pub.However, it's definitely the end of an era.I suspect we'll never see the same varity of guest ales again. I hope to be proved wrong.

I'll review the new set up ASAP.

If, by some chance in a million, David and Maureen read this, many thanks for the best beer I have ever drunk.It has been consistently good since the day you opened.

14 Jul 2007 17:09

Talbot and Falcon, Wakefield

An impressionistic review based on a five minute pint! The Talbot is a narrow, one roomed bar, with a variety of seating areas including two raised banquette sections.
It's had a refurb since I was last there and it has a curiously sterile feel. There's an awful lot of white to contrast with the dark red and pale green.That coupled with very loud music didn't make it a particularly relaxing experience.
The place was like the Marie Celeste.Only four punters, including myself, at eight p.m.
Two real ales on offer: Tetley's and Speckled Hen, neither my favourite. However, the 'Hen' was clean tasting and a decent temperature.
The barman/landlord was friendly and obliging.
In short an adequate boozer, but nothing inspirational.

12 Jul 2007 15:22

The Labour Club (Red Shed), Wakefield

Called here a few days ago, pre-smoking ban, when the nearby 'Fernandes Tap' was particularly carcinogenic.
On the plus side the beer was well kept, as you'd expect with strong links to the local CAMRA branch and a Good Beer Guide listing. There were three beers from Yorkshire micros on the go,although normally there are four.It was also pretty cheap. The barman was friendly and welcoming.
However, it was pretty spartan: Formica topped tables, plastic chairs and fluorescent strip lighting.The piped seventies rock music was slightly depressing. As my drinking partner noted it was like stepping into a time warp.
I'm certainly not agin a basic boozer,but this was certainly out of my aesthetic comfort zone. The only way I could see myself returning was if there was an artist I wanted to see on the popular accoustic music nights.

10 Jul 2007 20:50

The Scarbrough Hotel, Leeds

Firstly, to be pedantic, it's actually the SCARBROUGH Hotel, named after a previous owner Henry Scarbrough and not the coastal resort! (If you're a fan of local history check out the back of the food menu for a fascinating account of the place).
It's a good sized, one roomed, L-shaped bar largely fitted out in wood and leather.Its slightly theatrical feel doffs a cap to its previous incarnation as a music hall venue.
I find the left hand side far more relaxing, without the three glaring fruit machines and the overhead TV.
Beer quality is consistently good and that is reflected in a Good Beer Guide listing for several years.There are 6 hand pumps, with 'Tetley's' as a regular and up to five guest ales. Yorkshire micros are featured heavily.Disappointingly, there were only three guests during this visit.
The food appears to be based on a 'safe' menu, but from what I saw was well presented.Certainly two 'suits' at the bar were raving about the steak and ale pie.
The Scarbrough can get horrendously busy.If you're not a football fan and United are playing at home, I'd avoid like the plague on a Saturday tea time.However, as a regular Thursday night visitor it's been four or five deep at the bar when I've called in the last few times.
Definitely worth a punt though. I've lost track of the number of trains I've missed whilst drinking here!

10 Jul 2007 11:17

The Fernandes Brewery Tap and Bier Keller, Wakefield

As 'Alerover' hinted at, the casual visitor to the Tap must approach feeling slightly wary.There's more than a whiff of a villains drinking den as you climb the staircase.Please persevere.
Once inside you enter a small(ish) one roomed bar that has been cleverly partitioned into three drinking areas by cleverly using large pub signs as screens. These and the exposed beams give the place great character.
Most importantly For BITE members the quality of the beers is second to none and this is reflected in the numerous CAMRA awards. The Fernandes beers are brewed about twelve feet below the bar, so they don't have far to travel! There are usually two 'home' beers on the six pumps, the others are drawn from far and wide.
Although David James brews a broad spectrum of beers, its probably fair to say the pale, hoppy and citrussy 'golden ales' are the punters' favourites eg 'Centennial', 'Cascade', 'Ale to the Tsar'. A brew called 'Boy's Bitter' has incredible flavour for around 3.2% and is a real testament to the brewer's art. By contrast the dark chocolatety 'Malt Shovel Mild' is also excellent.
The pub also keeps high quality lagers, Belgian bottled beers and fruit wines and beers.The choice of table wines is limited.
Food is virtually non-existant, usually limited to sandwiches on a Friday lunchtime, although with extended weekend hours I think hot-dogs are some times provided.
There has been a strict no TV and piped music policy in the pub, although the latter is starting to be eroded.The USP has always been good beer and good conversation.There is occasional live music with bands often comprised of pub regulars.
Staff are friendly and knowledgeable.
In short a cracking real ale paradise.To steal shamelessly from another BITE member, all that's missing is St. Peter at the door!

5 Jul 2007 13:04

The Captain Cook, Staithes

Called in here whilst walking the Cleveland Way on a scorching hot day a couple of weeks ago.It was far too nice to sit inside, so I couldn't soak up the atmosphere. However, I remember it being large and roomy with a certain 'tatty charm' and a good Sunday lunchtime buzz.
The beer was very well kept and certainly the best of our weekend.I always think it's a good sign when there are several beers from micros you've never come across.
Clientele were very friendly- one even dashed out of the pub to take photos when he saw we were constantly rotating the picture taker role!
In short a lovely old fashioned beer drinker's pub.
N.B. Didn't try the food, but an earlier report said it was nothing special. We thought the cafe just down the hill, virtually opposite, was very good.

4 Jul 2007 14:53

The Royal Hotel, Runswick Bay

I wonder if this pub has recently changed hands? For a CAMRA listed pub in the 2007 Good Beer Guide, I came away very disappointed.
Both the Black Sheep Ale and Black Sheep Best Bitter were woefully over-chilled to nigh on lager temperature, killing any flavour stone dead. More disconcerting was the way the head sat separated and scum like on top of the beer, similar to those awful cappuccino mixes in sachets.
The food was no great shakes either, althought to the pub's credit they did serve us ten minutes after the kitchen had supposedly closed.( Bizarrely closing at 8 p.m. on a Saturday evening in June. In winter I could understand it.)Most of it was bog-standard pub fare but the vegetarian ravioli was particularly unpleasant industrial gloop and stodge.
Yes, the setting is wonderful but that in itself is not enough. Incidentally, the village had a ghostly feel to it owing to all the unoccupied holiday homes.
Having staggered up the bank, on the way back to the campsite, we popped in to the Cliffemount Hotel for a night cap and found the beer, from a ocal micro much tastier.

4 Jul 2007 13:20

The Duck and Drake, Leeds

To add to the 'D&D's woes, I have to agree with 'birstallblue' and 'leedspenguin'.I used to drink here regularly, some years ago, when I lived in Leeds and the Duck was THE pub for real ale in the city.
Out of curiosity I called in on a lunchtime a couple of weeks ago and was stunned by its decline.Yes, it's always been a basic pub but it used to have a vitality and buzz about it. From what I saw it looks to be dying on its arse.
I had to ask for my pint of Boon's 'Classic Blonde' to be topped up twice and when I finally tasted it, it was far from fresh. I was also disappointed by the number of ales on offer.
I also tried the nearby 'Palace' whilst in the area and found the beer far superior on my visit.If in that part of Leeds I'd recommend you do the same.
A great shame.

4 Jul 2007 12:31

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