Calderdale produces an excellent weekly “Pub Paper” listing all the beers at the local pubs, an excellent way of finding out about potential pre-emptive ticks for the likes of BRAPA and Pubmeister, though sadly giving no obvious outlets for the Draught Bass fan.

Morretti on in Stainland lads

Prompted purely by curiosity, I made for the Alexandra, stopping only to admire the trees growing out of the top of buildings, always a sign of a great town.

As is a Victorian jewellers lit up with fairy lights.


WhatPub also shows how much cask there is any central Halifax now, but it doesn’t show just how many new bars have opened up recently.

Halifax WhatPub
A sea of craft, apparently

Things change so quickly that the newish Alexandra had already opened up a sister outlet next door called the Lantern, which the redoubtable Chris Dyson had beat me to.

Lantern & Alexandra

Another bright Shiny  bar, this time with an upstairs so you don’t have to sit on a high stool.

Upstairs view

No John Smiths Cask, so I went for the lovely Black Iris.  As you’ll note, this was Evil Keg so I’ll have to come back for some cask when it gets in the Beer Guide.

Evil Craft Keg
Pub Art


A sizeable circuit is emerging in Halifax, linking up the traditional places like the Three Pigeons with a host of micro bars.

It’s all great fun, though time will tell if it’s more Middlesbrough than Margate.  All the town needs now is a metro line to get you to and from the Big 6 quickly.

I finished with the classic crispy shredded beef and Singapore rice from Xin Ying, aTop 10 Chinese Takeaway.

Bleak Piece Hall

In the morning the Piece Hall looked less magical, but at least I found out what it was for. Hipster brunches;

Bubble & Squeak

This is what you call a breakfast menu;

Proper food

It was very decent grub, though just a little too early in the day to wash it down with one of their keg beers.  If I take Mrs RM back to Halifax she may not show such restraint.




  1. I see from Chris’ post that it’s plastic glasses upstairs in the Lantern, I’m guessing when bands are playing.

    And what’s with the Gl, Da, Eg etc. on the menu? At first I thought it was the days of the week, in Welsh, when the item was available. 🙂

    But on second thought, I’m guessing it’s something to do with Gluten and such? Totally new one on me. 😉


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Take it as a compliment, Russ, but you put more effort into reading this stuff than I do writing it, and your points are always interesting. I’d have made you BRAPA Person of the Year instead of the Yank, I would, but money talks of course.


      1. “We are feeling a bit of a Canadian bias here”

        As #2 I have to try harder. I’m merely laying the groundwork for a run at this year’s BRAPA Person of the Year. 😁

        Besides, Martin is engaging in misdirection. Notice by his praising he never answered my question about those menu short forms. 🤔😉

        Are we certain he’s not a retired politician? 😋



    2. I’m guessing “Eg” = Egg, “Da” = Dairy, “Su” = Sugar and “Fi” = Fish, but I prefer Russ’s Welsh solution. Looks like good breakfast scran anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ll still drink and enjoy it, but it’s a rare new pub in the Beer Guide that stocks it.

      Lots of smarter pubs in Yorkshire used to sell it alongside smaller brewery beers, but less so since the Smooth version of the beer took off (that’s as popular as Doom Bar). The accolades are as much to do with Sam’s uncompromising but attractive pubs and cheap prices !

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, with Sam’s it’s as much about the ethos of the pubs than the beer itself. John Smith’s Cask is a decent beer in that distinctive malty Yorkshire style, but you don’t seem to see it very much any more.

        Didn’t the late Sean Liquorish used to write a column in that Pub Paper?

        Liked by 2 people

      2. On John Smiths, I once (early ’00s) visited 4 John Smiths pubs in a five mile radius on the A635. Two just sold John’s, the other two had one j
        Guest (Wentworth). I made good use of Mrs RMs inability to drink while pregnant 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. ean Liquorish used to write the Northern Beer Blog, which I think was mostly reproducing his columns for Pub Paper. He had some kind of insidious terminal cancer, but seemed to be making the best of what time he had left. I think (as often happens) he went downhill quickly at the end and died early last year – his last entry was on 2 January. Only in his early forties IIRC 😦


      4. Sean Liquorish used to write the Northern Beer Blog, which I think was mostly reproducing his columns for Pub Paper. He had some kind of insidious terminal cancer, but seemed to be making the best of what time he had left. I think (as often happens) he went downhill quickly at the end and died early last year – his last entry was on 2 January. Only in his early forties IIRC 😦

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You can still get it Mark, unfortunately it is another casualty of globalisation. I used to drink it in the John Smith’s tied house opposite my home ‘The Bay Horse’ – John Smith’s Bitter OR Magnet (a premium and stronger Bitter). It was brewed in Tadcaster (3 miles from our village), the John Smith’s brewery is next door to the Sam Smith’s brewery, they were one family company until a schism in the 19th century. Sam Smith’s are still independent, the Riley-Smiths (John Smith’s) were taken over by Courage in the 70’s and then by Scottish & Newcastle and then by … etc. The John Smith’s brewery in Tadcaster no longer brews beer and is simply a canning/bottling plant for many brands (not only beer). John Smith’s cask beers are brewed by Cameron’s in Hartlepool now and your best chance of finding them is in the North East. Essentially it’s the same tale as with Tetley’s and Bass and they are all brand names tossed around between contract brewers according to the lowest bidder. Some may think this is acceptable. Personally I take the view that the French term ‘teroir’ applies to beer; water, grains and actual place. Consider that originally the grains for Tadcaster ales would have been local and certainly from Yorkshire, the water is of a similar quality to Burton upon Trent and suited to brewing English ales. Large companies bulk buy grains and much will be the same across all of their range, hence a loss of individuality and whose yeast are they using? The key point for me is that what we put up with in terms of beer would not satisfy the French Appellation laws for wine and with many ‘mainstream beer brands’ we are drinking the equivalent of ‘vin de table’. Personally I prefer ‘Un Grand vin’ and there are many, many beery equivalents currently available that just blow these ‘tired’ brands away.

      Rant over! I really should set up my own website to present views like this?


  2. Thinking about it a bit more; John Smith’s had their own Maltings in South Milford and produced all their own malt. I was privileged enough to know Colin Froggatt, the father of an old friend, who was Head Maltster for a good number of years. He loved a pint and for years he told his wife, Ann, that he had to go to the maltings on Christmas day to check everything was in hand and to allow everyone else a day off. She confided in me after he had passed away that all along she knew he had gone to The White Swan at Wighill for half a gallon with his mates, as he did every Saturday & Sunday lunchtime! He fully understood all the nuances of brewing and keeping a good pint and everywhere he went he would give his opinion (quietly and only to those in his company, he never pontificated or said anything publicly) on the quality of the pint, both the actual brew and the condition in which it had been kept. A full post on this charming and erudite man who sported a beard that would outdo any modern hipster, long before they were even born, would be a nice thing, I think. Stuff like the time I drove us all home from a pub in his car. If you’ve never driven a car converted for a man with only one leg to drive, you have to be very careful braking when using your hand on a steering wheel mounted lever! Oh happy days. Watch my space for further details, I’ve got an idea!

    I guess the point I’m rambling around is, how can you exactly replicate a beer that was always brewed with ‘in house’ malt using another proprietors malt (or even in another brewery)? You can’t, can you?


      1. Yeah, maybe I’m too territorial? But, the French Appellation laws were introduced to ensure you couldn’t pass Irn Bru off as Champagne. I would be happier if it said ‘John Smith’s – brewed by Cameron’s in Hartlepool’ on the pump clip. It would be interesting to see what went on the Doom Bar pump clips in terms of who and where?


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