View Full Version : a swift one - A quick trip round Leeds

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10-09-2010, 06:58
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Yesterday I had some time to kill, so I decided to revisit some pubs I had not been to for some time in Leeds. I have never classed Leeds as a brilliant drinking town, which is a shame because it offers some wonderful historic pubs to sample but none seem to have a range of beers to attract the 'ticker'. This is what I found.

I decided to start at the Palace which stands in the shadow of Leeds Parish Church. The pub was much as I remembered it, it is large and airy with plenty of room inside and outside seating as well. It is now part of the Nicholson's pub chain, more of which later. It offers 8 or so beers, but mostly regular beers from bigger breweries. There were beers there from Sharps, Caledonian, and Bass but I chose the only new beer on the bar to me, Thornbridge 'Brian Turners Golden Ale'. It was priced at £2.90 which was a bit of a shock, but in good condition. Not a bad start.

I then made my way up Eastgate, bypassing the Three Legs, and the Horse & Trumpet, and made my way to Whitelocks, in Briggate. This is a Leeds institution and is a pub steeped in history,apparently going back to 1715. Totally the opposite of the Palace, seating here was at a premium inside the pub. It is still rather gloomy inside, probably because it is situated in a small alleyway, but there is seating outside. I found a range of around 8 beers on offer here too, but again nothing out of the ordinary. I settled for their house beer brewed by the Leeds brewery, but there were beers from York, and Theakstons on the bar as well.

My next port of call was the North Bar. Another long, thin pub, this is easy to miss, as it just looks to be a shop front. It is in New Briggate, near the Grand Theatre. It is modern inside, and its decor gives it a fresh, clean feel. The bar is at the far end of the pub and alongside the 4 handpumps offers a vast array of foreign beers and bottles. I ignored these and settled down with Roosters 'Wild Mule' as I watched the workers of Leeds scurrying past the front of the pub going about their lunchtime business.

Onwards and upwards. My next pub was one I had not visited for years. The Victoria stands on Great George St, behind the Town Hall. A superbly ornate building with plenty of room inside and again a decent range of beer on the bar. Another in the Nicholsons chain, whose speciality appears to be food, and more precisely every sort of sausage you could imagine. The beer range again was a bit staid though, but I did manage to find a Morrissey Fox beer that was new to me to sample. It is worth a call just for its splendid interior.

Just down the road stands Mr Foleys, on the Headrow. It is the pub I usually visit because of its beer range, which is usually different to the rest of Leeds and which usually has something unusual to offer. Not this time. 4 York beers from their regular range plus some rather uninspired guests. Never mind, cannot win them all.

It was getting on a bit now so I omitted the Town Hall Tavern from my itinerary, (all Taylors beers usually) and heading for the Leeds Brewery Tap just down from the railway station. Again, a very modern pub conversion and one which always seems busy, probably because of its location. It has a basic core range of 3 Leeds beers and their seasonal special on offer plus a couple of guests. I was impressed to find Acorn 'Pacific Jade' on the bar and settled down with that to gather my thoughts.

In my opinion, if that counts for much, Leeds has plenty of interesting pubs to visit, and I only scratched the surface. I know other pubs that I could have called in and maybe will do next time.
However, for the beer enthusiast, the beer range on offer is somewhat bland and uninteresting, with larger breweries predominating. If I had been in 'beer ticking mode' I would have been disappointed with the new beers available. It is not in the same league as Manchester or Sheffield, and even in Huddersfield we offer a better range. Sorry Leeds, must do better, or it will be a while before I come back round your pubs again.


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