View Full Version : Aire Valley Adventure

19-08-2013, 10:32
It's a while since I wrote up one of these so here goes.

Being a bit bored with the usual places I chose an easily accessible place at random and came up with Bingley, unpromising I thought but was pleasantly surprised by the choice and quality this small town near Leeds had to offer.

Bingley is in the Aire Valley between Leeds and Keighley and can be reached by bus or train from central Leeds, I went by train and our story starts at the railway station. Leaving the station the first bar to be seen is the Foundry Hill Bar, poor planning meant I arrived a little before noon and this bar wasn't open so it was left till later. Carrying on round the road to the left past the Foundry there is a short flight of steps leading up onto Chapel Lane, directly opposite to the right you can just see Off The Tap which also wasn't open until noon so I went to the left and found the Harvester (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39907/) was open. A modern boxy place, the staff and punters looked desparately sad, five hand-pumps beckoned but only Tetleys cask was on sale, I decided to risk a half which was about a quarter of a pint of misery and another of hold your nose. Obviously the first one out that morning judging by the warmth and lack of condition, and the landlord was obviously confused about the price, probably doesn't sell much of it, I'm still not sure what I paid for the beer or if I got the right change. The pub was in the GBG in 2011, oh how things change. Not the best of starts however it was now after twelve and I set off round the corner for Off the Tap (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/79058/) catching sight of empty casks at the back of the nearby Wetherspoons as I entered. Not the most promising exterior but the sign saying "Real Ale Freehouse" looked worth investigating. It's not quite a micro pub but it is stripped down to the baiscs, all the beers plus cider and perry are stillaged behind the counter for gravity dispense although there are two hand pumps on the small bar. Good prices, friendly landlord and decent quality beer so what's not to like? Not for everyone of course, two guys came in looking for somewhere to watch the football season's opening game (Leeds-Sheffield Wed) but were disappointed , I guess the lack of lager would have upset them even more. I had a pint of Redwell EKG, don't tell Redbull about that name, which was a nicely balanced beer, plenty of hops but balanced with some nice chocolatey malts and a creamy texture. No head of course being straight out the cask. There was also Summer Lightning and a Thornbridge on one handpump with a White Rose beer just going on the second pull. Quite a wrench to leave but my list had about a dozen pubs.

Just round the corner next, passing a very tempting pie shop on the way, to The Myrtle Grove (JD Wetherspoon) (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/53653/) , a small, by JDW standards, shop conversion but beer quality was good and the staff although a bit elusive were on the ball. Just across the road is the former HQ of the once mighty Bradford and Bingley Building Society destroyed by the greed of some bank or another. Enough politics, I had a pint of Mary Jane mainly because of the low strength and the opportunity to use a 'spoons voucher. A decent pint and there was a bit of banter between the regulars and the barstaff to enjoy. It's quite a popular place as well. Down the road now to the right on leaving, I noticed some tables and chairs on the pavement further down and came across the Loft Cafe-Bar, a quick look showed it was all cafe and no bar so onwards to what my list called the The Old Library Wine Bar (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/53654/).

The name put me off a bit but when I got there it had been renamed to the Library Tap and inside was a large busy bar with six pumps on the counter. One was clipless but the others had a good range of localish micros products so a half of Bingley Beer Works Five Locks was bought and I took a seat to write some notes. Everyone else was engrossed in the football being shown on about five screens around the place so I took a few snaps as well. Having enjoyed that beer I set off across the road towards the The Ferrands Arms (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39901/) calling at a market stall on the way to buy a delicious pork pie. The Ferrands is a nice looking two storey stone building forming part of one side of the open space, it's actually called the Town Square, being used as a market place. Inside the pub of course is a different story. Taylors have modernised the inside to an open plan style, first thing I noticed was actually the very sticky floor, I got a half of Boltmaker. Surprisingly for Taylors only Boltmaker and Landlord were on the other other pumps had guests from Copper Dragon and Ossett. The pub was a bit quiet, the screens had running on rather than the local football derby other pubs were showing, the only others in the place were a middle aged couple playing pool and a dodgy looking bloke at the bar. So obviously a short visit, the beer wasn't bad just average. Outside and round to the right through a bit of a carpark area I spotted the Suburban Bar (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/55633/), not looking like a real ale kind of place I prepared for a half of some cold tasteless lager but was pleasantly surprised by a couple of handpulls. I ordered a Saltaire Blonde and again was pleasantly surprised by a well kept drop, I must reign in my prejudices rather more.

After a quick exploration I was off again just up the road, leaving the Suburban you come to the back of the Locks (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39909/), once called the Midland it was obviously a big impress the natives type project for the Midland Railway in the 19th century. Once designed to attract the better sort it has been unsympathetically modernised and the beer wasn't up much either, I didn't stop long.

Once outside on the main drag again I spotted what looked like a pub down the road on the right which was not on my list. Reaching the pub it turned out to be the Old Queens Head (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/55344/) and so it just had to be checked out. Nice interior looking freshly refurbished, the cask choices appeared to be just Tetley cask but not even that was on. I later discovered when talking to the new landlord that he had just moved in and the cask delivery hadn't arrived. We had a good long chat about the pub ghost, pubs in general and Bingley in particular so I knew the The Fleece (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39903/) and The Old White Horse Inn (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39911/) which were next on my list were closed. After finishing my half of Carling I set off to the right to photograph the two closed pubs and try out the Brown Cow.

Both the closed pubs look quite good, the White Horse being an especially attractive old building, the Fleece is a large Victorian edifice. The street past the White Horse looks much older than other bits of Bingley and the presence of the church and the type of street names make me think this was the original village and the railway station moved the centre of gravity away from here up the slight hill to the south east.

From here the road to the left goes over the bridge to the Brown Cow (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/39900/) just on the other side of the river, my views of the place are pretty much like Quinnos when he was here in August last year, he wouldn't have noticed the middle class punters as it was empty then but hopefully there was some paper in the Gents when he called. From here it isn't much of a walk back to the station and a chance to visit the last pub which is just outside the station. The Foundry Hill Bar & Lounge (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/60101/) is a modern sort of place with limited space and beer range, four pulls but only two in use, I had some Bobs White Lion which wasn't bad at all, the other choice was Saltaire Strawberry Blonde which I certainly wasn't in the mood for or the keg lager from Leeds Brewery Leodios or another keg rejoicing in the name Quaffing Gravy. Another middle class haven but quite pleasant and a nice place to wait for the next train.

So is Bingley worth a visit? A qualified yes, the odd delights of Off The Tap, a good pub in the Library Tap and a decent 'spoons are backed up by a small collection of decent places all in a short distance; I would only avoid the Locks and the Harvester next time.

19-08-2013, 10:50

sheffield hatter
19-08-2013, 12:11

Yeah, like Hondo was going to say, nice one!

Bucking Fastard
19-08-2013, 13:54
That's a very thorough survey of Bingley,well done ob :cheers:.Sad that a couple of pubs have closed,was there any word about The Star (http://www.pubsgalore.co.uk/pubs/55345/) which I always thought was a decent place but in a very unpromising location ? I have stopped in Bingley virtually everytime I've been on the L&L as you have to be seen through both the Three Rise and the Five Rise Locks by lockkeepers who work modest hours.Sounds like a town worth throwing the dice at rather than getting a cab straight to the Boltmakers in Keighley ,as was the case last year.:nishelypished:

19-08-2013, 15:53
Thanks Chaps, reviews now posted for all the pubs.

Yes BF I should have made the effort to visit the Star but it doesn't fall as easily in a group with the others.

Off the Tap and the Library Tap are heartily recommended and I will be visiting again to see how the people at the Old Queens Head get on (and see if the cat returns!) as well as checking up on the Fleece and Old White Horse. I might even try the two awful places again in a case of hope over experience, then again....

Al 10000
19-08-2013, 17:25
Sounds like a good crawl Oldboots,

I had a quick session there back in 2003,i only went to do the Tim Taylors houses but i did pull in both the Fleece and Old White Horse,the Fleece was a Tetley tied house and the Old White Horse was a Bass tied house.
All of those new bars/pubs makes the place seem even better for a pub crawl.