Google Maps decided it knew a better route to Hunslet than me, and it was right. 1.9 miles later and I was there, as I strode past the rush hour traffic and the huge amount of pedestrians who smiled at me, almost as though they knew I was back on the pub trail ......
Garden Gate, Hunslet, Leeds
If ever a pub has fallen into the "oh my god Si, how have you never been here you idiot!" category, it is this one. To be fair to me, it was closed when I walked here last April due to a burst heating pipe and peering in through the window, the pub looked in a serious state of disrepair. No such problems today, I was gobsmacked as I walked into the long corridor with etched snob screens and rooms to each side. So much so, I realised my gaping gob made me look like a total pub tourist, especially as all other locals either had a Krzb Britain style "air of the what of it" or were just plain miserable. Shame on them, what a building! There is currently some debate as to whether this pub is still owned by Leeds brewery or not, 2-3 in terms of beer to the opposition suggested not, as did the fact my Leeds Pale was uncharacteristically fizzy and a bit lame. Having been served in the back bar, I sat in the front room as my heritage guide says this is the room that matters! A couple near me didn't say a word to each other in half an hour and looked thoroughly depressed as "Innuendo" by Queen came out of the jukebox. Judging by the pub I peered in at on April '14, I had to chuckle at the "most improved pub" award I saw on the bar. A local 'character' came in and demanded that the other local Hunslet Hawks season ticket holder MUST know any other Hunslet fan who exists! They soon got onto the subject of the 'Championship' and Hull City were about the only team they didn't mention. I stayed for another half, a Rudgate Ruby Mild - delicious but too cold and despite the amazing interior, I'd have to say the jury is out beerwise on this famous, superb pub.
|It's been a long time coming ..... the Garden Gate in Hunslet!|
I was soon in "urban" Holbeck (or Hipsterville as it should be known) and back on Water Lane where I visited Midnight Bell on my first ever West Yorks BRAPA night last year. This next pub I was well aware of as a work drinks night was held there last Nov which I almost went to.
Cross Keys, Holbeck, Leeds
Luckily, I'd read about the unpromising frontage and front door errrm somewhwere(?!) so having taken my BRAPA pic, I was not discouraged and pushed it open. And in a New Adelphi Club type way, the buzzing lively indoor atmos was unexpected. I was greeted by a crazy friendly young brunette, who gave me a beer run down and a taster of the "Foggy Morning" ale, a weird taste but I went with it. She was the kind of girl you could fall in love with on a first date, marry a day later, but her body would be found in the river on day three and you'd have to plead guilty, but citing provocation through irritation. I got both her and blonde backgrounder to help me trace my ale for my Untappd check in, and they did a decent job. It was quite a modern cafe bar feeling place, the average age older than I had first thought but everyone seemed friendly and the atmosphere was very good indeed, in fact it wasn't too different to Midnight Bell just down the road. The ale wasn't quite to my taste, but all in all, a positive experience.
|Unpromising frontage, but what's behind the white door?|
So, two pubs done, no numbers of course as, even if they DO get in the 2016 GBG, I cannot number yet as I'm cross-ticking and we are "locked down" on 742. Phew, one month reverse owl syndrome is hard! Just finished Leics, Lincs and the London's and I have say, no major losses yet, only an average of 2 or 3 per county so will be interesting to see how things pan out. Last year, it was West Yorks that really screwed me with a 30ish drop alone.
The number will be announced on 10th September in a special blog outlining some of my thoughts, highlights, lowlights and surprises of the ticking exercise. There will be more archives to come, I have identified about 20 pubs already that I've been to pre-BRAPA but weren't in the 2015 GBG. And some pre-emptives are coming good for the first time, which helps immensely.
For now, business as usual as we march on to Leighton Buzzard on Saturday. Again, we won't be numbering any pubs visited or commenting on their GBG status!