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Ten Pints Of Bitter and The Football Match....

Football has been back now for a number of weeks and those pubs that have a special affinity with the local team are starting to see a return of football fans coming in to enjoy a pint before and after the game. Just as they have been doing for years.... A few pints and a game of football is a relationship that is as old as the game itself. At the grassroots level, many teams have sprung out of pubs, as they did in the workplace, from within local organisations, social clubs,  church groups, in fact anywhere where people met in any number, many going back to the smoky, sepia days of Victorian England. But the fact that a pub was able to provide refreshment, some sandwiches, or other food, maybe a room for club meetings, and was in any case where people met socially and informally gave it certain advantages. And a few pints back in the warmth of the pub after a hard game on a muddy council-run pitch in the cold and wet maybe with some new bruises is the perfect way to restore the soul.
Recent posts

This Town...Is Not A Ghost Town....

The return of big music events to the magnificent Piece Hall in Halifax has given a welcome boost to the tills of local bars and restaurants, as well as giving the town a huge lift. Here's some reflections, plus some other news.... Halifax has been buzzing this last few weeks, with big events originally scheduled at the Piece Hall for last year but then postponed due the pandemic finally taking place. And with each event, the town's pubs and bars have been full of gig-goers having a few before and/or after drinks and maybe a bite to eat. And as an gig-goer and part-time bar keep I have seen it from both sides. Artists ranging from Shed Seven, The Specials, The Orielles, Lounge Society, The Cribs, John Grant, and the Kaiser Chiefs were all re-scheduled, while in a recently-announced development, Manchester electro-giants New Order were hastily slotted in and are due to play this week, supported by the excellent Lonelady. And further gigs scheduled for 2022 will see Doves, Nadine

I'm In A Newark State of Mind....

I visited the historical Nottinghamshire market town of Newark-on-Trent last weekend, a lovely place with some excellent pubs. Here's what I found.... Newark is one of those places like Cambridge, Lincoln, and much of that London that I have visited several times in the past but have never blogged about. So last Saturday I decided to remedy that. It was a three train journey: Brighouse to Leeds, then one to Doncaster, and then change for Newark, but it was all pretty seamless, and around twenty past 12 I was limping into town from Northgate Station. I made my way along Appletongate, which according to The Good Beer Guide was the home to a Castle Rock pub called the Fox & Crown. I was building up a thirst for a Harvest Pale, but alas when I got there the place was closed and with blank chalkboards on the wall by the door and window blinds firmly pulled down, it didn't look to be opening anytime soon (a fact that was confirmed to me later in the day). I turned right towards t

A West Riding Wander ....

A return to a well-known station buffet bar and a first visit to a new craft bar are featured in this latest set of ramblings.... Another Friday night, the start of another weekend, and I decided to follow the pattern of the last few weeks and head off on the train to a place I hadn't visited for a while. And this time I decided to pay a visit to the West Riding Refreshment Rooms in Dewsbury, which is only a few minutes ride away from Brighouse. I alighted the train and crossed over the bridge to the other platform and whilst I could have gained access from it, I decided to go outside and take a picture of what is a pretty imposing building. The pavement area outside the bar had been re-flagged and plenty of picnic tables were laid out, some of which were occupied, and as I walked past one of them I spotted a mate, with whom I had a few pints before getting the train back. Imposing: The West Riding Refreshment Rooms, Dewsbury I went in to get a beer. The bar is situated in the midd

Feeling Like 2019 Again....

Over the past few days in and amongst the usual day to day stuff I have been on a leaving do, attended a CAMRA presentation, and visited a beer festival. These are all things that a couple of years ago would have scarcely raised an eyebrow, but such have been the limits on our social activities over the past 18 months or so that each one was anticipated with a certain degree of excitement.... Leeds was buzzing in the late afternoon sun last Friday when I got off the train to attend a leaving do for one of my work colleagues. I had arrived a little earlier than the arranged meeting time, and anticipating - correctly - that our likely calling points over the coming hours would be devoid of any decent cask or craft beer, I decided to try out the Bankers Cat, Thornbridge's relatively new outpost in Leeds, situated minutes from the station on Boar Lane. I had never had the opportunity to visit before, it actually opened in December 2019 but successive lockdowns restricted the periods it

Dial M for Mirfield....

Less than 10 minutes on the train from my base in Brighouse is Mirfield, and I went over recently to check what this small town in the Lower Calder Valley has to offer these days.... It's a place I have driven through for years, hardly giving it a second thought, visited on several occasions in the past, but with 4 entries in the current Good Beer Guide, two of which I had never visited, and it being so close to home, I realised this town of around 20,000 souls was way overdue a visit. It is also the birthplace of world-famous actor Sir Patrick Stewart, Jean-Luc Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation no less, former Chancellor of Huddersfield University, and plenty more, as well as Brian Robinson, the first British cyclist to win a stage in the Tour De France, way back in 1958 and long before the more recent ascendancy of the sport in this country. The weather earlier in the day had been showery and changeable, but late afternoon blossomed into a bright sunny evening, meaning m

Fell In Love With A Bar....

I love visiting the Lake District, having been dozens of times over the years, but I can count my visits to Kendal, the town that lies at the southern tip over the area, on the fingers of one hand. So I decided to go along to check out the beer and pub scene....  I had never really considered visiting Kendal for the day. In fact, embarrassingly,  I had only found out recently it had its own railway station, but then a recent blog by  Martin Taylor  suggested it might be worth a visit for its pubs. It is also home to the new Lakes Brewery, formed by some of the old brewing team at  Hawkshead  and so with a few other breweries based in and around the town it suggested there is maybe something happening in this corner of the South Lakes, although I learnt during the day that other than a few collaborations with other breweries, Lakes haven't really got going yet. I caught the train from Halifax to Preston, then changed and caught a Pendolino heading up the West Coast Line to Glasgow C