Thursday 3 September 2015

BRAPA - Hunslet and Holbeck revisited

I thought my days of walking to "new pub ticks" straight from work had ceased in April 2014 but it seems that, although I wouldn't be bold enough to call these BRAPA pubs, they are pre-emptive in the extreme, if you catch my drift!

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? 
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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!  



  1. I recognise the Garden Gate. I'm trying to place it in my mind, is it the one that is sort of behind the bank of shops (I'm feeling generous as well as considerate tonight - it will end at some point), I think it was a Tetley's house when such things existed. Also, is Hunslet still as frightening as it used to be? I recall once having to walk even more slowly than a couple of locals who were carrying a metal fencepost I had seen them acquire from the Middleton railway for fear of what would happen if I overtook them.

    If ever you are accused of murder I shall have to send your paragraph on the Cross Keys to the CPS and/or plod. Do I need to be looking at Monday's YP in close detail?

  2. Love those pubs whose door seems sure to be locked, and give no clue as to what you might find. It opens, and its a Peaky Blindersesque revelation of warmth, noise, smells and humanity. Marvellous. Can't be too far from The Grove, so I must find it when next in Lds.

  3. Tom & Dad, thanks for your comments. Peaky B is a very apt description for my entrance to Cross Keys, minus the violence.

    Water Lane is the first right turning after that station underpass, keep walking and both Midnight Bell and CK are on your left.

    Hunslet has a terrifying undercurrent, and is a former Tetley Heritage house with blue plaque to prove it.

    I cannot be held responsible for any fate that befalls such barmaids.

    Si, somewhere near Watford.

  4. I wouldn't associate the phrase 'peaky blinders' with violence, unless they were from somewhere violence is the norm, more casual mischievousness.

    I think if Hunslet is down to only having a terrifying undercurrent it has improved hugely. It used to be every local you saw in the street was a potential murderer. think we are talking about the same pub.

    I'm disappointed you didn't call anybody a wanker in Watford. Given they are so quiet, that club has had a huge number of scumbags and convicted armed robber Marlon King.

  5. I think razor blades in their caps used as weapons is more than casual mischief!

    Marlon King is still the best striker we've ever had in terms of ability and being a menace to women.

  6. How do razor blades in caps come into it anywhere? Am I missing something? Or is this the new Hunslet pastime?

    Given that he tends not to repeat the same offence, I wouldn't actually call convicted sex offender Marlon King that great a menace to women, as he has probably moved on to other things, like crashing cars whilst eating an ice cream. I would have to do some more in depth analysis, but given that theorum, I thus hypothesise that our best ever striker in terms of ability and being a menace to women is probably simply our best ever striker in terms of ability, regardless of whether he is any form of menace to women. The trouble is, that I wonder whether our best ever striker in terms of ability alone might actually be Marlon King, who is still a wanker.