Tuesday, 17 November 2015

BRAPA - Headingley

My train approaches Headingley station in the rain

Pub number 742 might not sound like much of a landmark, but this was the number I reached back in late August in Newton in Ouse before I started 'cross-ticking' the new 2016 GBG and my numbers came down drastically.  So I'm back at par, less than 3 months on, and it is a good feeling!

My travel companion was my friend, work colleague and honorary student, the recently married Christina Sidery (Anderson at the time of our Kirkstall trip earlier in the year) and her knowledge of Woodhouse Lane busses had me paying £2 for a single and we were soon sat on a bumpy double decker with about a billion irritating students, as Christina pointed out local 'landmarks'.

742.  Woodies Craft Ale House, Headingley

I had a few reservations as I entered the building.  Firstly, the recent overuse of the word 'craft' was in evidence, whilst famous pub crawl, the 'Otley Run' starts here but as Christina pointed out, anyone doing it today would be gone by about 12 noon as it takes about 12 hours to complete!  I was delighted to see a nicely furnished warm pub, with a quirky selection of mismatched furniture including BRAPA chair of the year, huge and spinny and comfy, whilst the curtains seemed to be made of thin silver metal strands until you got up close.  A curmudgeonly old gent was stood at the bar blocking all 12 pumps and had no intention of moving for suspected students like us!  The barmaid was quite friendly and we had a quick chat about the little 'honey pots' which are there to show you the colour of each beer.  Apparently, the students assume they are 'tasters' and get stuck into this cloudy stale stuff!  I navigated my way around the old man to order a delightful Cascadia from underrated local brewery Ridgeside.  Meanwhile, Christina admitted defeat in her vague aims to enjoy real ale so we compromised on a fruit beer, but strangely, it was multi-fruited rather than just say, strawberry.  It tasted like over powering cherry to me.  Christina spied a selection of board games (a sign of a good pub I notice), and being the 'fun' character she is, demanded we play Battleships.  Well, I didn't know the rules but fluked an eventual win on the final ship though the lack of pieces hindered us both.  Nevertheless, a good march through Hedders  and dodgy, rapey muddy parkland meant I still made the 18:50 to Leeds in the teeming rain, where I changed for York.  A really good pub though, wouldn't mind coming here again some time when I have time to spare  and if it wasn't for distance, I'd suggest it for a pre-L**ds day on 5th December.

Chrstina arrives at Woodies, don't be put off by the Greene King sign.

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As you may have seen last night, only 16 more pubs to archives, many from Yorkshire with the next eight next Monday.  Fear not though, I've got a couple of specials coming up but they are, I'll warn you, quite specialist.  The first covers the birth of BRAPA, the second focuses on the music of BRAPA.

The BRAPA survival kit got a bit lighter, as my new portable charger turned up, and rather than being the size of a large smartphone like my old one, this is like a mini-torch.  

A marketing man at work suggested I could really be pushing my challenge further to make it profitable and get my name out there.  He thinks I should rename it "Simon Says" which is an interesting proposal!  

Bristol on Saturday sees me go into "credit" in pub terms and I'll be mainly focussing on the Bedminster area.  Spotted Cow (139 North Street) is nearest ground, 11am opener, could be busy but think I'll risk it pre-match!  Post match, we then have the Hare (51 North Street), Steam Crane (4-6 North Street) and Windmill (right by Bedminster station).  On the off chance we do amazingly, Cornubia on Temple Street in centre is my city centre pick (this paragraph is for Tom as much as anyone!)

Next Tuesday, I'm looking to combine two West Yorkshire ticks as Mirfield gets it's 3rd BRAPA outing and Rastrick may be on the agenda too, near Brighouse.  

See you soon, Si


  1. I always preferred to walk from Leeds in the direction of Headingley rather than use said buses. It's only a couple of miles and avoids sharing the bus with said students. Even when I was one I considered them all idiots. On my own, I used the bus a sum total of once, which was about 04:30 on the morning of the 0-0 draw at Chelsea, I'd just slipped on some ice and a bus was coming as I rose to my feet, it was against the peak flow of students and the smallest money I had was a £20 note which meant the bus driver let me eff it to the railway station.

    When I first moved to L**ds, I assumed that the Otley run was some form of charity fun run. Happily I had an excuse that involved Hull City to avoid the first one I was invited to.

    I am disappointed that you have judged the BRAPA chair of the year competition so early. Who knows what else you may find. In Rotherham, there could quite easily be a soft upholstered rocking chair with a parrot on the arm who calls Guy Branston a wanker.

    I wonder whether distance could be a good thing on L**ds day.

    I shall email you separately about Bristol.

    1. I would also have walked if I hadn't had company and it hadn't been such horrendous weather. I often used to declare "I hate students" when I was one in Sunderland too!

      I'd like to see how drinking a pint after pint of blackcurrant on the Otley run would work, I bet it's not been done before. Until recently (and I mean very recently), I thought the Otley run was a pub crawl of every pub in Otley. Am quite ashamed by that!

      I'm sure a chair of that description would be every chair award going, and the parrot would win pet of the year too in one fell swoop, so to speak.

      Distance could be a very good thing on L**ds day - Isles of Scilly most preferably.

  2. I'm glad you also enjoyed the Woodie's furniture Simon, I thought the pub was a delight, Greene King or not. I visited last week before a gig at the Uni, and it was doing decent business mid-afternoon, even if the number of pumps was ambitious. Was tempted to revisit the other GBG entry (Arcadia ?) but looked deserted.

    1. I agree Martin, a real gem. Never seen it in GBG before and it's only a 2 mile walk from my work so hope I'll get chance to go back soon.

      There's been a dramatic development in my bid to finish ticking off East Yorks tomorrow so stay tuned for Sunday's report!