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.

There are two three reasons to visit Wakey.

1.Pub exteriors, particularly John Smiths and Tetley’s;

Pint of Johns
Black Rock
Elephant & Castle

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.

Wakefield Cathedral

2. Pies

Dull exterior, darn good pies

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

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.

Nudist cafe

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.

Beer Exchanged for money

The first pint out of the barrel at 11am is always an acid test, isn’t it ?  Despite being served in a mug,, the Blackout at the Beer Exchange is cool, chewy and tasty (NBSS 4).

Cool beer at 11am

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.

Far too cheap

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.

Old Printworks

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.

Proper seating

I went for the Abbeydale, of course.  Cool beer here, too, again well above NBSS 3 and again £2.90 a pintThese 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…







21 thoughts on “WAKEY WAKEY WAKEFIELD !

  1. Some lovely looking tile-work there, Martin. Not sure about the hot sandwiches, with crisps though!

    I’ve only drunk in one Wakefield pub, and that was close to the station, whilst waiting for a train. It might have been called the Commercial, but it was around 15 years ago, so who knows.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for your kind wishes, Martin. Eileen is still under sedation in intensive care, but is in good hands. The strong antibiotics she is on, should be starting to work now, so fingers crossed we will see an improvement soon.

        I can’t thank the NHS enough for the excellent care she is receiving.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. The Albion in Eastmoor is A Sam’s Pub, York St WMC also.

    Hoffmans! Best sarnies ever. I got my lunch from there at least three times a week when I worked at 95 Northgate.

    Please revise ‘the beer range was typically Yorkshire’. Hobgoblin is not from Yorkshire, it probably only just qualifies as real ale – filtered and fines to within an inch of it’s life. It shouldn’t be allowed and particularly in Yorkshire. I weep when you see so many ‘CAMRA types’ at beer festivals and other events wearing baggy, ill fitting Hobgoblin t-shirts FFS.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Apparently it was at the time of the floods and this bloke called Noah came over from the middle east to lend a hand.
        ‘What’s tha mean lad? Build it in an Arc?’ The locals said. Anyhow they followed his advice and built he pub inside this huge river barge. Suffice to say the pub survived the floods and the huge river barge can still be seen moored on the Calder near to the Hepworth gallery.


    1. Loads of good beer in Wakey, I echo the Red Shed. Unfortunately my liver will only survive doing the pubs I haven’t done before, though Tetley in the Black Rock did look tempting…😉


  3. “whose invitation to nudity I ignored.”

    LOL, well done sir! 🙂

    And with regards to that menu, who would order the toast when the crumpets or pancakes are cheaper?

    “I like fat pubs with hidden corners”

    I was thinking of saying something like “I also prefer my women that way” but if my wife ever read this I’d get thwacked around the head and have to sleep on the couch for a week! 😉



    PS – Have been out of town on work every bloody day this week since the New Year. Just catching up now. off to read Paul’s blog next.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. So many funny lines in this one it’s hard to choose a favorite, but I’ll go with the one about “saving up enough to park at the Hepworth.” I object to Hobgoblin on the grounds of (a) bit too sweet, the bottle version anyway, and (b) that label design makes me feel like I’m buying children’s toy, not a beer!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Agree exactly on Hobgoblin, in fact all of the Wychwood beers (owned by Marston) are an exception to my law that ALL beers can be good.

      It’s a fiver to park there. I never ever pay to park anywhere, so I may not be the best judge of value !

      Liked by 1 person

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