Believe me or not, but this punishing 3 posts-a-day routine is paying off, and I might even catch up this week, if I can even remember why Dick took back those two pints in Leeds.

Before Leeds, Harrogate.  (Slightly) overrated by retired gentlefolk and cake lovers, underrated by folk who like good beer.


While I like walking 15 miles for 3 new ticks as much as BRAPA or Duncan, sometimes you can’t beat 3 pubs in 5 minutes walk from the station, as here.

A great sunny Sunday lunchtime to enjoy the scenery and dodge the shops.



I left the micro till last, on the sensible basis that it was shut, and headed for Betty’s.

Not because the home of the Fat Rascal has added a Brass Castle tap, but because I like watching people queue for cakes.

A few yards away, the Montpellier was filling up, despite the least readable lunch menu of the year.

Use spaces !

Inside it’s the Harrogate house style.  Open plan, light, upmarket comfort food for casuals in Laura Asheley florals and shades,


and a reassuring beer range including Tim Taylor, Bradfield and our second favourite Masham Best.


I sat down close to the newspaper rack and the comfort of the Harrogate Herald.  Oh.


It’s good to see proper beers in Beer Guide pubs, but Sauvignon Blanc and San Miguel were winning the battle with cask here about 10-to-1, and the Theakston was cool but sweet (NBSS 2.5).  Mr Coldwell will have a scathing explanation.

Quite a contrast virtually next door in the Blues Café Bar, which I eventually realised I’d been to years before as the completely different Blues Bar.


So, technically a good but wasted half of Salamader (don’t see that much these days), but a cracking bar with top service and proper drinkers.


Some came in and expressed astonishment at the rare beers.

Is that local mate ?”

Yes, it’s from Ilkley

I’ve heard of that mystical land, in a song

Name that shirt Richard

Others came in for their keg Tets, or their San Miguel and Rose.  You could have been in the Duck and Drake in Leeds, of which more later today.  A gem of a drinker’s pub

Willie Nelson lookalike winner of the day

And finally, a real highlight.  And not just because the Little Ale House seems to be located within a top curry house.

Chairs outside a good sign

Not just because it was open, despite placing a sign over the Sunday opening times to suggest I was going to be disappointed.

Rare reflected retiredmartin

And not because of the “exciting” beer range, thrillingly displayed to maximise my disorientation.


It’s a winner due to the service, from the barman of the year, who actually seemed pleased to see people. And had spent the morning to keep the beer cool, and was obsessed with beer quality.

And happy to recommend a beer without being a “beer bore”.

Always go for North Riding, folks

I don’t like small pubs, but this place was filling up within 5 minutes of opening (the queue outside wasn’t for the curry), and with a better age range than your average Thanet micro.


I’ve had fantastic beer in half a dozen Harrogate pubs; this was the best so far (even better than the Bass in Hales, the North Riding an easy 4.5.



With twenty minutes till the train left for Leeds and a date with destiny (well, Dick and Dave), there was just time for a possible pre-emptive craft bar tick.


No, you’re not falling for that, are you ?


  1. One of our best beers was in the Coach and Horses in Harrogate. Our avoiding micros obviously was not a good idea in Harrogate based on your post though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And the Bass we had at Hales that day was at best average. Possibly because it was preceded by an excellent Ram Tam.


    1. You’re right. The places I’ve had really superb beer (NBSS 4 up) are quite new; No. 10 Devonshire. Harrogate Tap, Little Ale House, Major Tom, Old Bell. Will be fascinating to see if quality drops as cask sales continue to slowly decline.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. “Use spaces !”

    They’re using spaces; it’s bloody paragraphs they need!

    “for casuals in Laura Asheley florals and shades,”

    Get out! They’re wearing flowers and lamp coverings? 😉


    With regards to the magazine on the right; does she have one of her legs bent up behind her head?

    “I’d been to years before as the completely different Blues Bar.”

    Back before they had a Green Room (indicated by a blue sign) upstairs?

    “Willie Nelson lookalike winner of the day”

    Ironically, he just walked past the sign saying (Upstairs @rehab). 🙂

    “Rare reflected retiredmartin”

    Unless you constantly put ‘pm’ in white mascara over your right eye I’ll never recognise you again. 😉

    “NO NO NO”

    I expect you to break into Bohemian Rhapsody any second now. 🙂

    “No, you’re not falling for that, are you ?”

    To be honest, I can never tell when you’re joking. (rolls eyes) 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  3. We loved the Little Ale House when we were there earlier in the year. Top barman even offered us gravity beer from the cask fridge at the side, which was even better!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There was a second rate team in Manchester that for a good while had a purple 2nd or 3rd shirt. Presumably Sheik Etihad Airlines has adopted the same shirt for his new team?

    Don’t know what it is about Theakston’s? Nowt wrong with it. I’d just never order it and prefer to leave that to the Doom Bar, John’s Smooth, Marston’s type drinkers. That way I don’t become disappointed.

    I can only sing the praises of Harrogate, particularly Dani and Richard at Little Ale House which is so much more than a micro. In fact to call it a micro is deeply offensive. It’s a small modern pub. A bit like a micro, in so far as there is no beer cellar, but there has been so much financial investment, passion and attention to detail invested that it elevates itself to something much better.


    1. It is true that Stockport were better than City for a while, but Mudgie will confirm that Edgeley Park is in Cheshire.

      You’re spot on to say the Little Ale House is far more than a micro. Like much of Harrogate, classy and impassioned (good grief, did I really say that ?). The name says “micro” though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Harrogate goes under most peoples radar in terms of ‘beer and pubs’ when it is in reality a proper ‘her and pubs’ destination, be that for real ale and trad style pubs or progressive brewing.

        Pre-emptive tick for you would be Harrogate Brewing Tap Room for GBG 2020 (it only opened recently).

        Liked by 1 person

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