I am catching up with this stuff. Honest. But the fact this report on Leeds arrives nearly a fortnight after Richard’s report tells you how far behind I am.
Legal proceedings against Mr Coldwell for unflattering photography continue. Just to illustrate the impact of this intrusion, I was approached last night in the Waterman by @steamjam. “I recognise you from that picture in BeerLeeds ! You’re that retiredmartin” . That really happened. Mrs RM was mortified. Oddly, she wasn’t recognised so I’m doing something right.
Anyway, Leeds. A small city built in 1996 for 3 purposes;
- To provide custom for North Bar
- To provide alternate chip shops for Headingley residents when Bryan’s is busy
- To provide remunerative employment for BRAPA
I arrived at their station (even Marple has two) to be told the train people were on strike, which put my evening in jeopardy before it started. It could be a long walk back to my Ibis Budget in Bradford.
You all know Leeds. Unless you live in London.
The brown tiling is a match for Walsall;
And the bench seating is posh.
But never mind all that. I was hungry, having not eaten since Salford.
Leeds Market never disappoints, though you can’t eat flowers.
A quite wonderful place, almost as good as Halifax. Most of the takeaways were closing down for the day, but the bizarrely named “Hot Bites” was on hand to sell me a healthy looking portion of chicken pakora, smothered in chilli for £3 (London price £6).
I know the advice is to eat before you drink, but I don’t think that advice applies to deep fried chicken in batter. It was another inadvisable move, and Leeds is a bit short of steps to run up and down to wear off the calories.
One new GBG tick tonight, and inevitably it’s in one of those new modern craft-led places that Leeds pulls out every year. Leeds GBG bingo would include the words “Artisan” , “Café ” “mushy” and “Coldwell“.
Having travelled furthest, I of course got there before Richard and Si, and then had that heroic task of saving one of those tables for six that everyone covets at 5pm.
My Beer Guide came out of the box, ready to protect space and mark me down as a weird guy to be avoided.
This was one of those “tap takeover days“, so beloved of everyone except me. What’s wrong with a pint of Boring Brown Bitter ?, say I.
Nigel from Sunbeam Ales may be horrified to hear I thought his Passing Showers was a classic BBB. Served in it’s own Sharp’s glass with a Leeds head, it reminded me of one the brews from Cornwall’s finest (not Doom Bar). NBSS 3.5, as most of Leeds’s pubs are.
Not much BRAPA-style drama before BRAPA himself showed up, though of course someone had to fall down the steps while reading the “Watch tha step” sign, and a couple next to me were wrestling hard with the concept of “Order at the bar“.
Simon and Richard showed up together, disproving any theory they’re the same person. Being a respectful pub photographer, I only took a picture of Simon’s hand (the only part of him not subject to recent medical intervention).
You can read about our dull conversations on Richard’s blog. He also coined the phrase “Wapetake yer money“, possibly a comment on Leeds pricing but unfair here with well-priced beer. Even better new words were to follow.
You’ll know of Simon’s love for classic late ’70s M.O.R., so how appropriate it was to hear “Sultans of Swing” and “Hotel California” played especially for him. If only all pubs could tailor their playlist to their audiences so sensitively.
More to follow…