Wednesday 5 November 2014

BRAPA - West of Bradford, again!

If Bradford seemed a foreboding place on those hazy summer evenings of July and August, it is positively terrifying in the cold November darkness, as I spent "mischievous" night evening ticking off 3 more pubs in the West Yorkshire area, and not egging anyone.

My twitter poster : note the top artwork which made no impact on anyone!

After a surprisingly straightforward train journey from Leeds to Bradford Interchange, I was soon on a 698 bus and despite some bad traffic, I was getting off in north Denholme about 6:15pm.

492 - NEW INN, DENHOLME - Entering a new pub for the first time can always be daunting, and when 7 old locals stood at the bar turn round to greet you / call you 'action man' due to your leather green jacket (delete as appropriate), it is almost to skill to front up to them and give as good as you get!  The fact that this was a great pub from first impression helped, a beautiful pint of a Phoenix guest absolutely slipped down.  The locals loved my BRAPA tales (especially the bit about being 63 years old when I finish) and took pride in their local pub, giving me the lowdown on other pubs in the area.  It is tied with a pub in Halifax I'll be visiting at Christmas and the Albion in Greengates which I enjoyed back in May.  A few more characters and grizzled locals arrived, all friendly in a typically robust West Yorkshire way.  I ordered a taxi and was sent on my way with a souvenir beer mat.  A pleasing BRAPA experience, preferred to both other nearby pubs in Cullingworth and Harecroft.

New Inn, Denholme - top friendly local action (man!)

493 - MONKEY - Whether this pub is in West Bradford, Bank Top, Great Horton or somewhere else has been the cause of some local debate according to the chap with the real ale van who worked there, but after a very pleasant taxi journey (thanks Mabz!) I was entering, thankfully a pub where I could just sit there with a pint and recover my thoughts after the Denholme experience.  They have beers from the Junction brewery in Baildon but I went for a Cross Bay from Morecambe and it was easily the best I'd tried from this brewery.  The main room had a nice lounge feel, the main focal point being the monkey's adorning the walls etc and a debate about roofing and the like between two young labourers, one was an annoying gobshite and I felt for his 'mate'.  Had it been daytime and nice weather, I could have apparently admired stunning views across Bradford, but hey ho, you can't win 'em all.  Also, with a better foot and better weather, I may have attempted the 2.2 mile walk back to the centre but went for the same taxi company and after some confusion, a bald Citizen Khan (am I the only person who loves that show?) took me to my next pub, a really wonderful man as I realised this had been a life affirming evening after an awful day at work.  

All cheeky monkeys are welcome in this lounge like pub

494 - JACOBS BEER HOUSE, Bradford - the only building still standing on Kent Street, my final Bradford tick (again), a new addition to the guide, and all I can say is "wow I really hit the jackpot with this place".  Dark, wooden, low roofed, 3 beers from Cambridge's amazing Milton brewery plus 6 more, filled rolls for £1 on the bar, a real fire and wood smoke fumes in a great side bar, all served by a friendly mother and son partnership (I think).  It would have been heaven had it not been for an annoying loud southerner who started a "sparkler v no sparkler" debate and lost BECAUSE HE IS IN THE NORTH AND YOU SHOULD HAVE A HEAD ON YOUR BEER!  Landlady agreed with me, and she'd been on a brewing course and it locks the flavour in, so there.  Despite then claiming that ALL north eastern people are "monkey hangers" (errm no!), I actually warmed to him as time went on and the pub was just so conducive to good conversation.  I enjoyed a Milton Saturnia(?) and a cheese & pepper roll, and it was still only a 5 min walk to Interchange station.  Early contender for 2015 GBG pub of the year?  Oh yes.  

A great pint and a tasty roll in perhaps the best pub in Bradford.

So, a really good quality pub night and whilst I'll soon get skint using taxis, I think until my foot is fully recovered, it is a good idea in them thar rural parts!  I was back in York with a bacon double cheeseburger for about 9:45pm where I was greeted with freezing fog.  It is getting wintery at last.

Attentions turn next to Burnley but am not fussed about making this an Arsenal style pub ticking day.  Will be happy just with 2 ticks, 3 is a good option still.  Not as fussed as a) November is going to be a productive month anyway b) my foot needs minimal walking and c) Burnley is going to be a BRAPA "base" for future crawls around some of these Pendle style villages without train stations.

One thing's for sure, I'll be reporting on what happens soon enough.

Good night.  Si


  1. For these trips, have you considered getting a Leeds Plus bus for £3.00, valid on buses throughout West Yorkshire. York booking office should sell you one if you show them your season. See:

    Alternatively, a train and bus Day Rover costs £4.70, and is valid on all buses after 09:30 and all trains outside the new West Yorkshire peak. Note that the older scratchcard tickets will still be honoured in the peak if they do not mention the evening peak, it could be worth hunting these out (the tourist info place on Leeds station could be a good bet, buy one for a future weekend trip and if it doesn't mention the restriction, buy a load more for evenings when it would save you). See:

    Obviously you probably know more about the single bus fares than me, so you will be able to judge when a plus bus or rover will be worthwhile.

  2. Thanks Tom, can you get plusbus tickets when you book online too? It is sometimes a spur of the moment decision whether to hop on bus, walk or get a taxi depending on timings but I will bear your advice in mind.

  3. You can get Plusbus tickets online, the option is offered on the screen entitled 'journey details', ie the one after you select your fare on the East Coast booking engine.