I now turn my attention to West Yorkshire, with a night in Halifax and the prospect of some irritating suburban Bradford pubs this weekend.
But first a pre-Christmas visit to the “clearing in the rhubarb fields” that is Wakefield.
two three reasons to visit Wakey.
1.Pub exteriors, particularly John Smiths and Tetley’s;
Oddly, the local Tourist office don’t seem to have a self-guided tour of old men’s pubs, preferring instead to push the Cathedral and sculpture gallery. As soon as I’ve saved up enough to park at the Hepworth I’ll let you know what I think of it.
I stocked up on pork pies and scotch eggs at Hofmanns, possibly the essential Wakefield. If it had looked as old-fashioned as the Pie Shop it would be perfect.
3. Nightclubs and bars called things like KoCo Bongo
I don’t think I’ve been to KoCo Bongo but, as with Wigan, nearly every other bar here has made it into the Guide.
Arriving by train before my 11am opening, I also got to try the authentic Yorkshire breakfasts at Marmalade on the Square, whose invitation to nudity I ignored.
The fruit loaf and flat white were cheap and tasty, as is the city.
Two new Guide pubs, the first for what seems ages, and both in the Wakefield house style that suggests it comes alive well after I’m tucked up in bed.
And cheap at £2.90 a pint. The cheery young barman delightedly tells me he’ll be off-shift before the Wakefield Friday Frenzy, and also that cask outsells keg. Value, dear boy, value.
The place itself is a bit too thin for me, I like fat pubs with hidden corners, but I’d also like one in Cambridge to complete against the Pint Shop.
The Old Printworks was a bit thin, too, but slightly more “trad pub” in other respects. I thought I was in for the classic “opening hours fail” when I tipped up at noon to find a pub full of tradesmen doing some trades, but the cheery landlady just wasn’t expecting anybody at such an unholy hour. She put on a soundtrack of Lionel Richie and Damian Rice just for my benefit.
The beer range was even more typically Yorkshire;
and a fairly plain interior had some decent seating. And, yes, beer mats laid out.
I went for the Abbeydale, of course. Cool beer here, too, again well above NBSS 3 and again £2.90 a pint. These cheap prices are killing craft beer, you know.
Once again the barlady was keen to assure me she’d be gone by the big rush, and assured me Wakefield only wakes at night, which makes these lunchtime openings so welcome for the pub ticker.
If only Wakefield had a Sam Smiths…