Tryanuary is about three things for me; trying new beers, trying new pubs and revisiting pubs or bars that you may not tend to frequent with an aim to ‘rediscover’ them. The latter is what I got up to in my local town, Guiseley, and here I share my experience with you.
Guiseley is to the North West of Leeds, less than 15 minutes on a train from the city centre. A bit of local trivia; Harry Ramsden’s was set up in the town back in 1928. Also, Harry Corbett (of Sooty and Sweep fame) lived above a local chip shop that used to be called Springfield and is now our local; Midgeley’s. So, yes, we like fish and chips in this part of the world.
Back to the pub tour, I’ve been to all the pubs in Guiseley at least once before, but me and Leanne only tend to ever go to two on a regular basis. The Ings and Coopers are regulars for us and we’ve visited them for many years. I wanted to use the upcoming #tryanuary to think about why we don’t visit any of the others, and call in to see what we might be missing. There are 8* pubs in total to visit.
This is the pub we visit most and have been patrons for many years. This is a Market Town Tavern run pub, a Northern pub chain that has 19 run pubs. The biggest selection of draft beer in Guiseley can be found here, with eight cask pumps, one cider pump and ten keg lines. One of the cask pumps is taken by a permanent Timothy Taylor, one by a Rooster’s beer and one by an Okells beer, leaving five ever rotating guests. Locality is key here, with the produce from the kitchen all coming from local suppliers. Coopers offer a great food menu and this seems to be a big pull for many people.
When I popped in on my visit last month Brodie’s Prime from Hawkshead was on cask which turned out to be the best beer of the day by far. The atmosphere is always chilled and you’re guaranteed to see a pub dog or two.
This venues previous incarnation was Cellar V (great name), which closed down over three years ago. It was a popular venue amongst locals to go for a bite to eat. Later in the evening it turned into more of a ‘night out’ venue with DJ and cocktails taking centre stage. The owners of the Yard in Ilkley invested £250,000 in the premises to bring it back to life in September 2016.
I’ve tried to get on with this place a few times, forcing myself to go in on a different day of the week, but it just doesn’t work for me. It’s a strange combinations of cafe-come pub-come loud music venue that just isn’t a pull for me.
They have three cask pumps all dedicated to local breweries. When I visited one was unfortunately off so it was Ilkley Mary Jane or Baildon Blonde. I opted for the latter, a very basic blonde beer, which made me wish I’d gone for Mary Jane to be honest. There are ten keg taps here, with the likes of Meantime Pale or Brooklyn Lager. They also have a Bavarian Punk Pilsner which comes with a scantily clad ‘punk rock chick’ on top of the tap handle. Disappointing to see. Their bottle offering is supplied by Matthew Clark’s basic craft range package.
One major plus is that there are coat hooks everywhere in here – something we also look out for in a pub!
This is a place that caters for a large amount of tastes, just not for me personally.
This pub, for me, has the best beer garden in Leeds. Nestled on the edge of a housing estate near the Leeds > Ilkley train line, you get transported to a quaint oasis. After Coopers this is where we tend to go for a pint. This pub has survived several recessions and it’s brilliant to see it keeps going. Only a wet offering behind the bar, no food here (unless you go on a Friday late afternoon where they’ll put on a free spread for all pub goers).
The beer here isn’t anything to write home about, five hand pulls that don’t rotate; Landlord, Wainwright, Theakstons Best Bitter, Saltaire Blonde and Tetleys. What I will say is the beers are kept superbly – one of the best pints of hand pull you will ever have the pleasure of drinking. Aside from the cask there are seven keg taps hosting four lagers, John Smith’s, Cider and Guinness. However, you don’t really come here for the beer. Spring and Summer is all about the beer garden and then Autumn and Winter are all about the cosy fire inside and the warm homely feels.
I can’t remember last time I went in here to be honest, it must be at least 12 years ago. A pub that has opened and closed a few times over the years. There is no polite way to put it – this is probably the worst pub I’ve been in. Putting the poor beer choices to one side, it was cold, not just in temperature but in decor. It hasn’t had a lick of paint or a face-lift in about 25 years. They have two cask pumps here, both were off. At the time when I was in there, there was myself and another guy who had control of the TV remote playing whatever he fancied. I opted for a Guinness, which was super chilled and just gave me brain freeze. Really struggled to find a positive for this place which is an absolute shame.
Just over the road from the New Inn is the Red Lion and as above, it has been a while since I’ve been in. The pub has a very ‘local’ feel about it, you could come back in 10 years and everyone would still be sat in the same seat. Not necessarily a bad thing but my point is that the place doesn’t feel welcoming to newcomers.
There are four hand pulls here, one of which was off when I went in. Rotating cask at a very cheap price of £2.50 a pint. I went for Wadworth 6X which was OK. When it’s £1.25 a half what more do you expect?
Their USP is that you can watch a Leeds United game on one of the many TV’s dotted around the place. It was just after 3pm on a Saturday when I was in, make of that what you will.
The third most frequented pub in our local area, but not for a while to be honest. A few years back there were not that many places to go watch Sky in a pub (locally) This was and still is one of them. TVs still dominate the walls here.
The bar is lined with lots of keg taps offering mainstream lager, John Smiths and Guinness. The four cask pumps (one of which looked to be permanently off) hosted London Pride, Black Sheep and Purity Bunny Hop. I was surprised to see Dead Pony Club and Tiny Rebel Club Tropicana cans in the fridges nestled amongst the usual bottled culprits you would expect to find.
As an example of the clientele this place tends to attract, there were six lads getting shots of jager at 1pm on a Saturday afternoon whilst watching the football. Not the best place for a quiet afternoon pint.
This isn’t my kind of place, but I definitely can see the pull; drinks, sport, and homemade pizza from an open kitchen. If you like that kind of thing.
Another pub we don’t really get to much as its in the opposite direction to basically anything else in Guiseley. An Ember Inns run pub, so straight away you know what you are going to get. Ten cask pumps across two sides of the bar, however there are a lot of duplicates. I was happy to see the Adnams / Yeastie Boys collab, White Lies, on the bar. A white chocolate stout which was sweet and bitter. Then, your standard lager and Guinness taps here, but you will also find Kirkstall Three Swords on keg here too.
A warm, cosy, pub that you tend to find from this pub company, not bad for a nice local venue.
The Yorkshire Rose
Closed and re-opened, with more licks of different shades of grey paint more times than I can remember. Anyone who gets the licence to the place never seems to be able to pull in a steady crowd. Another place where you walk in and everyone seems to stop their conversations and stare at the ‘non-local’ who has just walked through the door. It’s small things like this that make it easy to see why they fail to pull new punters through the door.
The Yorkshire Rose had four hand pulls but only one was on. The beer was awful which I suspect was down to the pub rather than the brewery so I won’t mention what I had. Once again a place you will find all the ‘normal lagers’, but they did have a Guinness Open Gate Lager on. It was kitted out rather nice inside, neutral colours, everything was new, and I found myself thinking what a great place this could be. It needed a real shakeup, not just another lick of grey paint.
RIP (Rest in Pub)
This was a place that had Sky, Pool, Darts then became a nightclub until the early hours. It closed down around five years ago now, probably due to too many police call outs dealing with late night trouble. It has now has been redeveloped into an office space.
Martha’s Old Ale House
This was situated in the same area as the New Inn and Red Lion but closed down over five years ago. Just never was popular unfortunately. The pub has since been redeveloped in to flats.
The Drop Inn
Sadly a pub that I never got to visit, but I do remember it well. This was a pub since 1870 and sadly closed around 2010 and has now been redeveloped for houses.
So what did I learn from my visits? That it’s fine to stick to what you know and like but it’s good to at least try new/old places – you may just find a hidden gem. All venues won’t suite everyone and these locals that I didn’t enjoy seemed to at least know their market. At the same time though, it would be nice to see local pubs doing really well, progressing and reaching their full potential.
*Locals reading this may disagree with this figure. I based this on public houses. There are three working men’s clubs you could visit, with a member. Then there is Fusion, this is more of a night venue. I’m not going to call in a night club cos it most definitely isn’t! Then there is Morrison’s Cafe where you can get a pint of Saltaire Blonde. Definitely not allowed on this list.