I really wanted to visit Budapest as I’d heard some great things about the growing beer scene as well as there being lots of touristy things to do. Budapest is a great city; large, eclectic, relaxed, beautiful and welcoming. We fit a lot into our trip; boat trips down the Danube, the Castle, St. Stephen’s Basilica, Fisherman’s Bastian and a trip to Margaret Island to name a few. We did, unsurprisingly, also find time for beer.

Here is a list of bars that we managed to visit, breweries to look out for and a few other things to do if you decide to visit the wonderful city of Budapest.

Castle View2


Hops Beer Bar

This was one of our favourite bars from the holiday. We headed here three times in four nights. It had a great local vibe to the place, with eight taps and a big Belgian beer selection in the fridges. They also had a lot of Brewdog and a large amount of Tempest, which was one of a very small handful of places in Budapest to stock any UK beer. We came across a beer from our (yet undiscovered) favourite Hungarian Brewery here; Brew Your Mind. The beer was ‘Peach Please’, an American IPA and was absolutely delicious. Just what we wanted to quench our thirst during the muggy Budapest evenings.


Labor only opened in September 2017 and is a fun/quirky/gimmicky craft beer bar, but in a really un-naff way. It still had a unassuming, low key feel about it and certainly didn’t disappoint when it came to quality of the beer. For 1000 FUT (about £3) deposit you can have your beer served in a conical flask. This bar on the top floor of Szimpla Kert is run by Mad Scientist Brewery. The beers are listed above the bar as items on the periodic table and the bar staff are wearing white lab coats and safety goggles. I’m not sure whether in England this would have come across as anything more than a bit of a draw to disguise over-priced, low quality beer. This certainly wasn’t the case here – the beer was excellent and the crowd seemed to be there for that very reason. We loved it and would recommend it as a must visit for anyone visiting Budapest.

Szimpla Kert

This is not really a place you will find any good beer (aside from Labor), but head upstairs grab a conical and go for a wander round.  This is a classic ruin pub that opened in 2002. Here you will find little rooms crammed with various bars serving cocktails, spirits etc. It’s a really popular touristy place but still worth the visit. Go a bit earlier if you don’t like it too busy. The music is good and there are a million different things to look at attached to the walls and ceiling.

Csak a jo sor
(means ‘Only Good Beer’)

This place is a bottle shop with six taps of amazing beer. It’s one of those places that you will go and never want to leave. Pricing is all relative to what the locals earn, but it didn’t half seem cheap here. Like a few places you will encounter when visiting the city, there is a certain mix and match with the furnishings to the place adding to the relaxed atmosphere. You will find a mix of local and beer from afar gracing the taps. When we visited we were lucky enough to be drinking Selassie on tap. The shop closes at 9pm and we only managed to fit in a couple of hours. If you can, go earlier in the afternoon and give it a bit of time – well worth the stay.


As Csak a jo sor is only open 2pm-9pm they have a larger premises round the corner that is their bar; Hopaholic. The tap list is bigger, there are more fridges but it still has a bit of a bottle shop feel. Before our visit Leanne had seen Thai Speedway Stout was on tap and was desperate to try it. Luckily it was still on and we managed to have a couple of small glasses! One thing we did notice was that the turnover of beer wasn’t even close to that in the UK. The Speedway was on a couple of weeks before our visit and was still on when we left. I can’t imagine that would have hung around had it been on in Leeds.


Most people in Csak a jo sor headed over the road to Kandallo at closing time to carry on their evening of beer indulgence. This place has ten taps of all local brews. The staff were really friendly here and there looked to be dinning space upstairs.


Like Labor, Polyhistor, is a new opening for 2017. They opened back in April and are located a ten minute walk away from most of the other bars on our list, but it’s most definitely worth walking out to. Very unassuming from the outside, you walk through a narrow door, down the wooden staircase where the place opens up and you enter the basement bar. The owners were really passionate about the beer and insisted we have tasters before making a decision on what to drink. We got talking to a local in here, Zoltan, had a couple of beers and chatted about each of our beer travels and the beer scene in Hungary. It made for a really interesting evening, we almost didn’t want to leave. We really hope this place does well and becomes a prominent venue for great beer in Budapest.

Belga Sorozo

We didn’t visit many bars on the Buda side of the river, but this one was great! I pretty much had to drag Leanne away when it was time to leave. Serving Belgian beer and food it was like we had been transported away from Hungary and straight into Belgium. A great menu and wonderful atmosphere makes this a must visit.

Jonas Craft Beer House

Back on the Pest side of the river past the Central Market, you will find Jonas.

We went during the day and were fortunate that the weather was glorious so we were able to sit out. People watching by the river with a beer is a perfect way to spend an afternoon in Budapest. The inside of the bar does feel a little soulless and cold. It’s a bit industrial like some of the Brewdog venues but you won’t get a better view sat outside. The beer selection is rather good, with most of the taps dedicated to Rekeyte. We had some great beers from these guys when we were there, their lager was perfect for the day.


Eleszto is another ruin bar towards the south of the city. It’s a 15 minute walk from Jonas and is a nice walk through the built up back streets. Here you will find over 20 taps of local beer. Having read up on this place I was really looking forward to checking out the cask bar as Roger Protz even wrote about it, but unfortunately it was not open. We were here in the afternoon shortly after opening but I’m sure it came to life as the day went on.

Krak’n Town

A steampunk saloon. What is not to love! Great decor inside and like most places, the food looked brilliant. The beer list may not be the best in town, but it is definitely worth visiting.

Start Craft Beer Bar

An interesting bar located next door to Karavan street food market. From the outside it may not look like much, but inside there is a great bottle selection and a small tap selection of great local beer. Call in for one and make your own mind up.

This is not an extensive list of places to go, there are a lot more places to look out for. Part of the fun of going somewhere new is walking into random bars and potentially finding a hidden gem, but these were our favourites.

Neked Csak Deszo

This place may pop up on a few articles as a place to visit, but when we visited in in Oct 2017 this is now closed down unfortunately.


There are over 130 active breweries in Hungary, here are the ones that we got round to trying: Monyo, Mad Scientist, Brew Your Mind, Reketye, Horizont, Csupor, Roth Beer.

Stand-outs for us were Mad Scientist and Brew Your Mind. Brew Your Mind have started canning, so who knows, we may seem them hit our shores soon.



There are plenty of places to eat in Budapest with a massive focus being on BURGERS. Burgers are everywhere. We stuck with our usual eating style of grabbing some street food or a bite to eat at a bar. Sure there are more formal dinning alternatives but here is where we enjoyed eating.


This is a street food market next door to Szimpla Kert. There are nine food traders here and this style of eating is our favourite. As a result we ate here a grand total of five times, three times from the pizza/pasta place because they had so much to offer. The pasta was the most wonderful post-drinking midnight snack we’ve ever had.

Tuning Beer and Burger

As previously mentioned, burger joints are everywhere in the city and Tuning Burger Bar pops up in the top 10 of places to eat when in Budapest. Leanne’s mum and dad went here in 2016 and loved it, so we had to go. Probably one of the biggest burgers I’ve ever seen! To add to the dining experience they have a TV and a projector showing #livescenes of them cooking your burger.

Tips & Tricks

Social media

You wont find many places on Twitter, if you do they aren’t very active. After speaking to a local we found that no-one in Budapest really uses it. Their main social media outlets are Facebook and Foursquare. Most places will have a Facebook account. For all the Untappd geeks out there, there are quite a few places that are a verified venue so you can keep up to date with what’s on the taps.

When to go

Don’t go in the summer, it will be far too hot (unless you like that kinda thing but Leanne’s a ginger so it’s an absolute no go for us). October – May would be our recommendation. It was 20c at the back end of October when we went, shorts and t-shirt weather day and night.

Transfer from the Airport

There is a shuttle bus that won’t cost you a lot, but it is a fair trek from the Airport to the City.  A taxi will set you back around £20, depending where you stay and are very easy to use. As soon as you walk out of Departures at the Airport you will see a Taxi Booth, they ask where you are going, give you a ticket with an estimated price and your taxi then shows up. We tend to use public transport for our airport transfers when we travel but would really recommend taxi’s in Budapest as the city is so vast.

Margaret Island

We’re not going to tell you what touristy things to go see as everyone likes different things and most places of interest can be found in the usual travel guides. An exception to this rule is Margaret Island. A lovely lush green space located in the middle of the Danube between Buda and Pest, no cars are allowed here so the air feels completely different to being in the City (it was quite smoggy). Hire a bike and get exploring, look out for the musical fountain too!


This is most definitely going to sound like an anal thing to mention, but before you go make a note of what you want to do and see.  Budapest is a massive city so you may well find yourself missing something if you just go wondering aimlessly about. On the first full day we were there we walked over 9 miles, so get some comfy shoes!

Opening times

Before you go, make sure you Google opening and closing times for each bar. They are all quite irregular. Also, some places may be closed on a Sunday and/or Monday.

Would we go again to Budapest? Probably not, we managed to do most of the things we had planned. Would we recommend it? Most definitely. We enjoyed our trip so much and it was great to visit somewhere new.


The Pubs of Guiseley

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.

Coopers - Hawkshead

Everybody’s Social

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.

The Ings

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.


New Inn

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.

Red Lion

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 Station

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.

White Cross

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)

The Regent

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.

Tryanuary Pub Crawl

On the 6th January 2018, the social media for #Tryanuary will be taken over by the West Yorkshire team.  We thought about what to do, with the amount of great pubs and bars in the area, what better thing to do than have a pub crawl.

We’ll be heading to two places in Bradford then back in to Leeds.

Train from Leeds at 11.10am, getting to Forster Square just after 11.30am. Anyone in the Bradford area / not getting the train from Leeds, be at Venue 1 from 11.45am.

Venue 1 – The Sparrow (11.45am)

The original bier cafe, recently celebrating their 5th birthday.


Venue 2 – The Record Cafe (12.30pm)

An independent record shop, beer cafe and charcuterie.


Then to head to the station for the 1.30pm train in to Leeds.


Venue 3 – Decided by a Twitter Poll Northern Monk Refectory (circa 2.15pm)

Get some juice from the team Monk.


Venue 4 – Decided by a Twitter Poll Tapped (circa 3.30pm)

Maybe time for a slice of pizza?


Venue 5 – Decided by a Twitter Poll Whitelocks (circa 4.45pm)

Some of the best kept cask in Leeds is served in Whitelocks, great bottle at keg selection too!



Venue 6 – North Bar (circa 6pm)

All good things finish at North Bar.


Please feel free to join at anytime in the day, and / or dip in and out.


Leeds Beer Week 2016

With Leeds Beer Week 2017 just round the corner, we take a look back at 2016. Last year was great and we tried to get to as many events as we could – here’s a look back and a few of our thoughts. If 2016 was anything to go by, you’re in for a great week!


Sunday : Launch Party (Northern Monk)

The launch party was held at Northern Monk Refectory, which was a relaxed affair with friends just kicking back and having a beer or two. It wasn’t so much of a party, but more of a chilled-out get together on a Sunday Bank Holiday to ease us all in to the week ahead.


Monday : Exhibition (Brunswick) and Chimay Tasting (Head of Steam)

We were lucky enough to be asked by Mark Newton to be involved in the Yorkshire Beer Photography Exhibition. On Monday afternoon, we went up to the Brunswick to go have a look at the amazing pictures Mark had been collating over the past few months leading up to LBW. Mark has subsequently continued with his photography of all things Beer Yorkshire, you can see his website here.

In the evening we went to Head of Steam for a Chimay tasting.

If there was ever an event that was undersold; this was it. We felt the communications from Head of Steam were quite confusing leading up to the event and we weren’t really sure what we were in for (but loving Chimay and HoS we just had to go). However, for our £20 per ticket what we got was amazing value for money. There were five different Chimay beers each paired with food. Upon arrival we were greeted with a Geuze Mariage Parfait as a welcome drink and there were some appetizers on our tables to keep us going in the form of Chimay cheese brushcetta (yum).


The first pairing was Chimay Doree with ham and cheese croquettes. Absolutely delicious and a sure sign of things to come.

Next up was a Chimay Première with sausage egg sliders and a Chimay brown sauce. The brown sauce was exceptional and really worked with this particular beer.


We also got round to pairing Chimay Grand Reserve with chicken ciabatta, Chimay 1997 no need to pair due to how amazing & dusty this was,  then to finish, a Chimay triple with a Kerb Edge burger. Thanks to Chris and the team at HoS for a great evening. Looking back we both agreed this was our favourite and best value for money event of the week.

Tuesday : De Molen (Northern Monk)

The Dutch brewers had sent over some big beers for this tap takeover.


It’s not very often we get to see this many De Molen beers on draught, so we had to pop along. After a few Impy Stouts and Barley Wines, things became slightly hazy! It was pretty busy as it also coincided with their weekly quiz hosted by A Tribe Called Quiz.

Wednesday: Rest day 

You need a rest day!

Thursday : Bottle Share (LLBH) and Legitimate Industries (North)

Before heading over to Little Leeds Beer House for the Bottle Share, we got some scran at Tapped and filled up on one of the lovely 18 inch pizzas.


Bottle Share here is always one of our favourite things to do, you get to bring out those big bottles that you just cant drink on your own or you have saved for a special occasion. As always there were too many to get through! The guys at Monk had recently been over to the USA working and they brought a can of Tree House and a Trillium double IPAs for us to try.

As it’s a 9pm kick out at the Corn Exchange, it meant we all had time to head to North Bar for the Legitimate Tap Takeover. Having tried the APA and Pilsner, I was looking forward to trying their IPA and their Wheat Beer. What we didn’t take in to account was how busy it would be! It was crazy, so much so that by 9.30pm they had sold out most of their beer and the Wheat was the only one left. Lesson learned – don’t leave it too late if you want something, the events prove to be very popular.

Friday : Rodenbach Dinner (Northern Monk)

Before heading to Northern Monk we wanted to get to Tallboys for a beer or two and to pick up a special Leeds Beer Week/Tallboys collaboration tote.


We had said to ourselves that we were going to have one big blow out event for LBW and when we saw that a Rodenbach Dinner at Northern Monk was on the agenda, we stamped this in the diary straight away.


There was a party of around 20 of us all sat down in the actual brewery. The hosts from Rodenbach were Max and AB who talked us through the history of Rodenbach as well as each beer that was paired perfectly with the food.

The guys at Monk tried the beers beforehand and were drinking the first one of the evening with a packet of crisps and found out that this worked rather well(!). So the first course was loosely based around the concept of cheese and onions crisps; Shropshire Blue, Apple, Wood Sorrel on Hop Toast went superbly well with a Rodenbach Classic.


Next up we had smoked goats cheese with the Grand Cru.


For the fish course we had mackerel and raspberries which for me this was an unexpected delight. I do love fish, but not fruit and fish, many of the diners struggled to enjoy the fish aspect of this one. For the meat course we had venison chorizo paired with Caratiere Rouge, a beautiful pairing.


Dessert was the best dish of the evening. Rossa with Mocha Porter ganache. I’m still drooling about this right now.


Saturday : The Curious Summer Social (North Bar Social) and Mega Import Extravaganza (Veritas)

In the evening we had booked tickets for a beer and food matching at Veritas, with Andreas Falt to talk us through the beers. For £25 you got to biggest sized portions of food you have ever seen each individually paired with a beer to match.
We were all shown to our tables and once we were all sat down, it became quite apparent that this was a different crowd to the other LBW events.  There seemed to be a few Veritas regulars along with a few that claimed to not like beer! Great to see people trying the beers though. Another great value for money event.
Sunday – Uniting Cities (North Brew)
On Sunday we headed up to North Brew Co for the Uniting Cities event. This was 2 x Leeds breweries and 2 x Manchester breweries; North Brew Co and Northern Monk vs Squawk and Track taking over the taps. Mango Lassi Heathen aside, the Track Double IPA was tasting rather spectacular. This was a proper Sunday, relaxed vibes, great tunes, Parm Star and the Magic Cycle also finished here with the riders starting to flow in from 3.30pm.
The LBW team only gave themselves 10 weeks to somehow pull-off this master stroke of a week, so they couldn’t get round to doing as many things as they wanted. We guarantee that this year is going to be even bigger and even better.
Keep an eye out for magazines due out this coming week. They’ll be heading to the cities and towns of the North with further details on this year’s events.
You can also look out for announcements of what’s happening on their websiteFacebook, or Twitter.
P.S. Matt Gorecki – we are still waiting on that badge of honour you promised us….

The bar is set

We’ve all been there. Sat in the new bar in the local town or city, thinking why have I brought myself here. I for one am sick of places opening promising so much, but failing to deliver on so many fronts.

There have been a fair few places over the last year that have opened, we’ve been in to give them a try and they’ve been such a let down. A regular feeling is that they have so much potential and could have been so much more. But they’re not. The likes of Everybody’s Social in our local town, Editors Draught in Leeds city centre and most recently Cafe Choux Choux at Keighley station. There is now another place to add to the ever growing list, Ten Bar, Duncan Street, Leeds. I am not one to often feel the need to post after every disappointing visit to a new venue, but I’ve had enough.

Their mission statement:

Ten Gins
Ten Vodkas
Ten Rums
Ten Craft Beers/Ales
Ten Cocktails

From the outside you can definitely tell that they have spent some money on the stripped back style decor. This is where the positivity stops and it unfortunately went downhill for me.

Below is Ten Bar’s offering of 10 Craft Beers/Ales. It was disappointing to see that they had no taps, absolutely nothing at all on draught – not even a lager.


I have seen better beer selections in pubs in the middle of nowhere (a perfect opportunity for me to drop that we had Geuze Boon at The Three Stags’ Head in Derbyshire!). Its just embarrassing. The guys that have opened this have been in Leeds bars for years, but I get the feeling that they haven’t been out and looked around. Do some market research to go see what your competitors are offering, surely that’s common sense? I completely understand that every bar in Leeds doesn’t have to offer the same thing or appeal to the same audience but at least deliver what you’re offering as a base standard – and do it well.

I opted for an Easy IPA, safe choice. After what seemed like a lifetime the poor bar tender didn’t seem to know which of the eight beers was the Easy IPA and brought out a Punk IPA from the fridge; “is it this one?” Now I’m not having a go at her, its not her fault she hasn’t been properly trained on the eight (not ten) beers that are on offer here. “Would you like a glass”. Yes.


Leanne was not swayed by any of the beers so opted for a gin. Her G&T was served in a tumbler with ice. No botanicals, no nice gin glass (although a couple of other patrons had large gin goblets with what looked to be sage). The Gin scene is really strong at the moment, not just in Leeds but in the UK. Everyone has raised their game and this was just disappointing. The only plus to this was at least she got Fever Tree Tonic.

Now to pay, how do you normally pay in a bar? Oh yeah, that’s it, the server puts the amount in the till and informs you of the price. Common sense? Not here. They have decided to adopt the arena/music venue style of payment where the bar tender has to spend ages finding the bar code stuck in various locations across the back of the bar, scan the correct one then use the till to take the cash. It didn’t make for an efficient serving experience, despite being the only group at the bar, with a small three drink order. What is this madness!

You are told to support your local gaff, which I am all for, but how can you do that when places cant even get the basics right, when they promise more than they offer. Pre-opening they seemed to be doing the right thing and talking to the right people but this doesn’t seem to have followed through to fruition.

There are too many places advertising ‘craft’ when describing their range, getting away with it and thinking the job is done. Stick to the audience you want in your bar and stop trying to draw people in under false pretences. If you’re not a bar that specialises in beer then fine,but don’t tell me you are.

Leeds has set the bar, aim to meet it.


Back to Amsterdam & Haarlem

We had a bit a of dilemma at the start of the year, I wanted to go to Budapest and Leanne wanted to go to Haarlem. We settled on doing both! Our previous post on what we got up to in Amsterdam / Haarlem can be found here.

This time we wanted to stay out in Haarlem (rather than our usual central Amsterdam) and explore more after loving our day trip there last year. We choose to say in the Lion D’Or Hotel which is right by the train station; we would highly recommend it.



The train journey to Haarlem from the airport (with a change) is only 30 minutes, or is 20 minutes direct from Amsterdam Centraal. After checking into the hotel and dumping our bags we were on our way, set to explore. Having only booked a brief stay we wanted to make the most of the trip, so I made an agenda that we did actually stick to!


Our Friday afternoon plan was to head to Jopen Waarderpolder and Het Uiltje’s respective tap rooms.  Both are only two minutes away from each other, however they are a good 30 minute walk from Haarlem central station.


We used Google Maps and they were both pretty easy to find – a nice walk along the canal made for a pleasant afternoon mooch.


Waaderpolder is the brew tap of Jopen’s, so you are sat above the actual brewery. On a hot day this made the tap room rather stuffy inside. We were both dehydrated from the walk so their wit beer was our first and obvious choice here (water? what’s that?!). A strong tap list; ten of their own beers, five collaborations and five guests. The food that was coming out from the kitchen looked superb, but on this occasion we were more thirsty than hungry so didn’t sample any of the offerings. A few more beers, a game or two of Fluxx and we were on our way to Het Uiltje.

Walking between these two venues very much felt like you were on a UK industrial estate, with a mixture of warehouses and offices. The Het Uiltje Tap Room has only been open just over a year and already has that nice cosy warn-in feel about it.

After speaking to Robert from Het Uiltje last March about his plans for cask, I was looking forward to trying some. Their Session IPA and Summer Wheat were both available and I opted for the Session, perfect for the weather.

The food offering here is pizza, cheese & meat boards and bagels, the latter being what we went for. Three cheese for Leanne and a BLT for me. Perfect for soaking up some tasty beverages.

Next beers up, we opted for a flight. Six beers from the menu for 15 euros, 15cl pours, which was great value for money for when you are wanting to try as many beers as possible! There is also a bottle shop selling a range of their beers and gifts for take-out.

Now, you can either make the walk back to the hotel/station or do what we did and get an Uber costing about 10 euros. This was more of a time saver though – it’s absolutely a walkable distance.

Once we had freshened up it was time to head to the local bars in the centre of Haarlem; Jopenkerk and Het Uiltje Bar. There isn’t actually a massive selection of beer pubs and bars in the centre of Haarlem but there are plenty of places to grab a drink and an abundance of gorgeous looking eateries. We just chose to re-visit this two as they are both great venues for an evening of good beer.

It was a busy Friday night out and about in Haarlem, with seats being at a premium in Jopenkerk. Luckily we managed to find a seat by the DJ booth (music wasn’t on until late into the evening so this wasn’t a bad spot).  Jopen serve a good selection of their own beers and have guest beers on too – probably at least 20 taps in total. Their own beers are really good and they offer a solid range. We like their glassware too! After having a few here, along with cheese and bitterballen we headed on to Het Uiltje’s bar in the centre of town. Its only a two minute walk down a (very pleasant) alley from Jopenkerk.


Once we had got our money’s worth at the hotel breakfast, we walked down the main street linking the station and central Haarlem to Grote Markt where we had a relaxed wander around the market. Here you will find many cheese stalls trying to tempt you in with samples, flower stalls, bread stalls and a number of food traders. After a quick stop off at Melgers (huge) bottle shop to get a few beers and a Mikkeller Botanicals Gin, it was time to get the train into Amsterdam.

We haven’t been to Amsterdam in the height of summer before, so we weren’t prepared for the sea of people when we stepped off the train. Not going to lie, it was stressful. We darted down a quiet side street to find our way to the safety of In De Wilderman. This is an old favourite for us – really relaxed atmosphere and a great selection of beers. It has always been quite quiet when we have visited during the day and didn’t seem over-run with tourists (who were all outside soaking up the sun and taking selfies!). Leanne had a mint flavoured De Koninck!

Next on the agenda was to head to Oedipus a brewery tap room located across the water from central Amsterdam, an area we hadn’t been to before. After a couple of drinks in Wilderman we headed back to Amsterdam Centraal. To find the passenger ferry you need to walk right through the station to find the ferry that will connect you to Amsterdam Noord. I say ferry, it’s a large passenger boat for people and bikes. We had just missed one when we arrived but they are very regular and you only have to wait 15 minutes until the ferry comes back. Tip : head for the IJ Plein stop, you will have less distance to walk on the other side.


Walking through the suburbs of Amsterdam Noord seems worlds away from the centre; blocks of flats dominate the skyline dotted with the odd mini supermarket, and that’s about it. It has none of the quirky charm and mis-matched wonky housing you find across the water. It is however more calm and away from the hussle and bussle.


It only takes about 15 minutes to walk to Oedipus, and like most breweries it’s on an industrial estate. However, soon as you step inside, you are transported to a tropical themed oasis.

It was far too hot for a ginger to be sat outside so we sat indoors, played a few games and sampled their seasonal range of beers.

It just so happens that there is a food market right next door in a big warehouse. It’s basically a big independent supermarket, however there are hot food counters where you can get freshly made pizzas or various Thai dishes. The brewery didn’t have any food on offer during the day but as we left later on, they did have a food truck. The supermarket is handy if you need it.

Back in bustling Amsterdam we headed to a place that we shamefully had not visited during any of our previous trips; Cafe Arendsnest. The premise is simple; Dutch beer only here with over 50 taps and over 100 bottles in the fridges. It is easy to see why this cosy bar is a must visit.

After a short walk down Herengracht, we arrived at Beer Temple. This was strangely quiet for 6pm on a Saturday evening but it meant for a good window seat for people watching. They always have a great selection of beers on here, sometimes it’s hard to leave! However, after a few beers it was time to head back to Haarlem.

Earlier in the day we had seen some promo flyers for an event in Haarlem that evening. It was Haarlem Shopping Night. On this particular evening shops stayed open late (until about midnight) and they were offering discounts and deals, while some were hosting special events. Down at Grote Markt there was a small night market with food stalls and craft stalls, where Leanne was enticed to buy a necklace (unsuprisingly!). There was also band playing out of a caravan while the locals danced the night away.

After a long day we only had a few at Jopen and Het Uiltje then it was time to retire for the evening.



We woke on Sunday to what seemed to be the hottest day of the year, which is never ideal when having to lug around a suitcase. Flight times weren’t all that good going home, so we didn’t have as long as we would have liked in the Dam. Like our last trip, we decided to finish at De Prael. We were so eager to get there that we actually turned up 30 minutes before opening so just hung out in the sun for a bit and enjoyed the view of Amsterdam’s beautiful canals.

Soon enough 12pm came and bam! In we went and headed straight to the air conditioned corner. It’s very relaxed in De Prael and very near the train station so is a good place to hang out without being too far away when you need to start making your journey home. They serve their own beers only, along with some delicious looking food platters. Their shop is also round the corner if you want to pick up any treats to take home. Sadly we only had time for a couple and it was soon time to make our way to the airport.

As always after every Holland adventure, we say that next time we will go somewhere else and try visit somewhere new. This isn’t going to happen, we love the Dutch culture too much. Until next time proost!


Golden Pints 2016

2016 has been a big beery year for us. We have been lucky enough to get to Manchester more times than usual, along with trips to Newcastle, London, Amsterdam and Barcelona to name but a few great cities. As a result I (Simon), thought I would do my first ever Golden Pints contribution.


Best UK Cask Beer: Track  – Sonoma

Like quite a lot of people this year, it has to be Sonoma. It has become a go to beer whenever I see it on. Whether it be fresh from the tap-room, a Saturday pint at the Turks Head or a celebratory beer at Stalybridge Buffet bar for Mark’s birthday it is always on top form.

Honourable Mention:  Magic Rock – Common Grounds

Best UK Keg Beer: Magic Rock  – Big Top

Tough one for me; Heathen or Big Top? Big Top just edges it. I suppose it’s because they brew this beast so rarely that I always make sure I get it whenever I see it. It still excites me.

Honourable Mentions:  Northern Monk – Heathen. Magic Rock – Bearded Lady Barrel Aged Bourbon Dessert Edition

Best UK Bottled Beer: Thornbridge : Days of Creation / Love Amongst the Ruins

I remember trying these beers for the first time at Manchester Beer Week’s Big Party at a Thornbridge tasting – they seem to have come from nowhere and just blew me away. I picked up two bottles of each and hope to enjoy one or two over the Christmas period.

Honourable Mentions:  Pressure Drop – India Rubber Ball. Buxton – Battle Horse.

Best UK Canned Beer: Northern Monk – Heathen

Probably one of the hardest categories as I think there have been a lot of great UK cans to come out in 2016 (and a lot of bad ones, but we wont go in to that). Heathen has to win it for its consistent, dank, juicy appeal.

Honourable Mentions:  Chorlton – Yakima Sour. Verdant – Pulp. Marble – Black Sunshine.

Best Overseas Draught Beer: Goose Island – Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout (2014)

We were lucky enough to be over in Amsterdam when the Goose Island guys came to town for a tap takeover. After spotting them in all the bars we visited around Haarlem we then headed to a jam-packed Beer Temple in the evening to find  BCBCS on tap. Such a complex and enjoyable Imperial Stout.

Best Overseas Bottled Beer: Oude Gueuze Tilquin a L’Ancienne

We seem to see more of this in the UK now and its such a pleasure to drink. I always seem to find myself adding it in my basket when in a bottle shop.

Best Overseas Canned Beer:  Evil Twin – Even More Jesus

I’ve drunk quite a lot of Tool cans this year and really enjoyed the Sur beers, but Even More Jesus from Evil Twin wins this one. Leanne and I shared a can at Arcade Beers in Huddersfield. We just sat for a bit laughing about how good it was then sat in silence not really knowing how to describe how utterly delicious it tasted.

Best Collaboration Brew:  Naparbier/Lervig – Theories of Conspiracy No4 – The Secret Society

Naparbier did eight collaborations with breweries from all over the world and when we visited their tap-room back in November they had a few of them on. This one with Lervig was a 11.7% Impy Stout. Delicious.

Honourable Mentions:  Magic Rock/Cloudwater/J.W.Lees – Three’s Company

Best Overall Beer: Northern Monk – Heathen

A beer that has over taken Gamma and Cannonball as a fridge staple now.

Best Brewery Branding:  Cloudwater

The designs on their bottles and pump clips are just amazing – eye-catching, modern and ever-changing.

Best UK Brewery: Northern Monk

I think myself very lucky to have such an amazing brewery right on my door step in Leeds. 2016 has been a big year for them, over 24 new beers have been produced in total. The consistency of their beers is second to none, whether it be can, keg or cask. 2017 is going to be a big year for them – watch this space.

Honourable Mention:  Wylam. Just go visit their tap-room if you haven’t.  In fact, stop reading this and jump on a train and get there now. The beer isn’t half bad either!

Best New Brewery: Verdant

I’d like to thank Sam for bringing these cans back to LLBH early in the Summer. The beers taste fresh and really drinkable. We took a few down to the local river on a hot summers day and they were just so damn good.

Best Pub/Bar of the Year: Bundobust

This summer when we were out at a festival or just for drinks, we survived on a diet of vada pav and okra fries –  a winning combination. It’s been great to see them grow & grow and now they have opened a Manchester branch, how long before a London bar? Who knows.

Honourable Mentions: Friends of Ham

Best New Pub/Bar Opening 2016 : Turks Head

Great selection of kegs beers and even though there are only 2 cask pumps, they are always of the highest quality. A staple on any Leeds bar crawl now.

Best Brewery Tap: Naparbier

Who said it had to be a UK one? Some of the best beers on show and the food was exquisite too.

Honourable Mentions: Northern Monk RefectoryWylam

Best Festival of the Year: Leeds Beer Week

A week that lasts 10 days. This was the first time that Leeds Beer Week had been held and in six weeks everything was put together for one unforgettable celebration of beer.

Honourable Mentions: Leeds International Beer Festival, London Craft Beer Festival

Best Supermarket of the Year: Booths

Like most people, I don’t tend to do much actual beer shopping in the supermarkets and try to buy from independents. However, saying that, Booths do stock some great beers and in the summer they did six beers for the price five. Only thing is that you need to keep an eye out of those BBD on the bottles/cans!

Independent Retailer of the Year : Little Leeds Beer House

There’s not much to say on this matter – what Rich and Bryony do here is second to none and they continue to stand out in this category for me.

Honourable Mentions: The Curious Hop and The Triangle

Small note on The Curious Hop –  2017 will hopefully see the shop open more in the evening for drinking in. Currently being trialled the odd month with a view to open most weekends in the New Year.

Best Beer Blog:  Beer Compurgation

I look forward to reading all of Mark’s posts, they are open, honest, thought provoking and always informative.

Honourable Mentions: Brew Geekery and Hopzine; whether it be YouTube or Periscope.

Simon Johnson award for Best Beer Twitterer: @beerdoodles because we love Dave’s doodles and the lightheartedness he brings to the beer world.

Honourable Mentions: @msswiggy