Keighley gets a bad press in Bill Bryson’s “Notes From a Small Island“, but then so do Milton Keynes and Worksop, so you can ignore him.

And no town that boasts Eric Pickles, Dennis Healey, Kiki Dee and Terrorvision among its famous sons can be that bad. That would have been a supergroup and a half.

Even by the standards of Bradford Metropolitan Borough, it’s a lively place.  One foot into the new Guide pub that drew me out from Forster Square Station, it was clear that Sunday night was the new Friday in Keighley.

A couple of wobbly lads were clearly trying to do all the town pubs in a day, or perhaps celebrating finding a micropub open on a Sunday,  and resembled that poor blogger who didn’t last the pace at last months Manchester Beer Fest.


The Lord Rodney over-plays its dining credentials a bit, but the Landlord was the best I’ve had in a while (NBSS 3).  That’s not saying much, I’ve had some very dull Tim Taylors in GBG pubs in recent years, I suspect more down to low volumes than the brewer.


The neat little tourist leaflet suggests 45 minutes to explore Keighley, which by coincidence is how much time I had before the train back to Shipley.

That was enough time to admire the pleasant cobbled streets that almost compensate for the drab shopping centres.  To be fair, I remember spending a fortune on cheap sweets here a decade ago, so the shops can’t be all bad.  There was also a nationally renowned Hi-Fi shop (The Den) with a vinyl collection worth travelling for, but even Sainsbury sell vinyl now.

The 43 minutes I had left were enough to revisit the Brown Cow, one of my better drinking decisions of recent weeks.


I fancied another Landlord here, but the Super Saver Sunday beer from Ashover was, as they say, selling like hotcakes at £2.40, and rather magnificently dry and tasty it was. NBSS 4, a rarity for me.

The pub is even better, with a micropub feel in a proper pub setting, reminiscent of Ossett’s best houses. That means it’s as good for reading your Tyke Taverner as it is for pointless conversation.

Folk of all ages and gender in proper seats, with proper beer mats, and proper chat about Tinker Bridge (?), Police Chiefs and other old codgers. It was BRAPA heaven, if you know what I mean.  Someone even said “Ey-up“.


A young couple contemplated their options; go home to the beer in the fridge (probably Cloudwater DIPA v12) or  stay for another pint of Golden Best.  They made the right call.

Pale ale heaven. Erlanger Nick will love it, if he hasn’t been already.

I made the train with 22 seconds to spare. Not quite enough time for a half at the Boltmakers.

28 thoughts on “TOP 100 PUBS – BROWN COW, KEIGHLEY

      1. That ‘s wonderful! Apparently the pub is older than the present church building. The Albion in St. Peter Port, Guernsey claims to be the closest pub to a church, but not necessarily door to door – by the looks of it the Lord Rodney has it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Some people love a challenge like this, I have a short memory ! There was a pub in Old, Northants (of Knights of Old fame) that had one entrance pointing off 2 ways – with a pun about spirits/Spirit. I’ll dig it out.


      3. Not quite a challenger but isn’t the Bell at Harborne on consecrated ground? As for choosing City over a session in the wonderful Boltmakers I’m shocked. Few greater pleasures than a long lunchtime there sharing the full TT range with good company. Sadly the excellence of Landlord here shows up the dreadful Landlord in most pubs. Never sure that it’s been a good idea for TT to let allcomers serve it.


      4. Bell at Harborne new to me.

        Agree on TT, same could be said of 6X, Bass,Pedigree, Adnams, even Doom Bar ! Perception of quality much reduced by being served a duff pint of a good beer in a poor pub.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The Ring O’Bells in Kendal is on consecrated ground right next to the parish church. Slight walk door to door though. Thought this was the only such pub but maybe not!


  1. Re poorly served classics …I had a very good pint of 6X on Saturday at the Stretton Social Club (near the mighty Brewers). This season they have also had good Pedigree and Bass amongst others. Definitely worth a look if you’re in Burton…visitors welcome


      1. If I may be as bold as to set you a question RM — I had a cracking night last night. It started with the offer of jug or hand pump for my Bass (the only real ale available) and ended with a thrilling football match nearby. Which pub? (I wasn’t at the Etihad.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was much enjoyed by all (ages 18-60 of both genders). I should of course have tried a handpull and jug side by side. I had to held back from the woman behind me at the bar who complained that the Tribute was off and ONLY Bass was left.

        Liked by 1 person

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