Skip to main content

Brews at the Brudenell, Lights at The Lantern....

Real ale and music in perfect harmony....

One of my favourite venues for live music is the Brudenell Social Club, situated on Queens Road in the maze of red brick streets off Cardigan Road in the Burley area of Leeds. First opened in 1913, it is named after James Thomas Brudenell, aka the Earl of Cardigan, who was the proud owner of Kirkstall Abbey after it ceased being a monastery way back in the 16th century.

I only returned to going there a couple of years ago, when I went to see Simone Felice with some friends after a decades-long hiatus. Since then I have gone back several times to see artists such as Hurray for the Riff Raff and Hiss Golden Messenger. It tends to get an eclectic mix of artists on who are up and coming, or cult favourites, often playing to sell-out crowds, and as such attracts a generally knowledgeable and enthusiastic audience. Being situated where it is the Brudenell also attracts large numbers of both current and former students. Artists due on in the coming weeks include Rocket from the Crypt, Tom Russell, and Goat Girl, whilst on December 16th my good friend Chantel McGregor brings her brand of blues rock to the club.

As you go in, turn right into a comfortable lounge, and guess what, there are hand pumps on the bar! There is always at least one featuring a Kirkstall beer - Three Swords was on the other night - and a couple of guests. The beer quality is very good and this has been recognised with the Brudenell making it into the 2018 CAMRA Good Beer Guide. Along with the Cluny in Newcastle and the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge, it is in a select group of being one of the few top music venues in the country where you can actually get a decent pint!

It had been a few months since I had been when I went to see the excellent Jane Weaver the other night. In the meantime the place had had a refurb, with a new Community Room built at one side, which has a stage and had a free gig on when I visited. Then there is the Main Room, where most nights some live music is on, and the Games Room, where I saw the Deslondes last year, but which is now home to half a dozen pool tables, a full-size snooker table, and a football table, so it is not likely that anyone will be appearing in there again soon! Each of the rooms has its own bar now, but apart from the lounge, only the main room has real ale on, served in the inevitable plastic glasses when there's music on. 

Despite being a Social Club and having the usual trappings such as multiple TV's with Sky Sports, pool tables, etc, the Brudenell does not feel 'clubby' in the slightest. There is a relaxed feel, the staff are friendly and efficient, and if you are in the area it is worth popping into, even if you are not going for any music, although, of course, that would make your visit more complete.

Meanwhile over in Halifax, the eagerly-awaited opening of The Lantern is getting closer. This is the new 150-capacity music venue next door to the Alexandra based in the remaining(and larger part) of the former Three Lanterns Restaurant. Work has being going on for several months and on more than one occasion Martin has appeared in the Alexandra covered in brick-dust! Ben, meanwhile, has been busy booking artists, with Avalanche Party due to appear alongside DJ John Kennedy when it opens next Friday, November 10th. Other artists already booked include the Haggis Horns, Space, and to show there is an aim to appeal to a wide audience, the legendary Martha Reeves and the Vandellas are playing to an already sold-out audience in a few weeks time. There will be real ale and craft on offer as well, and if all goes to plan it should add yet another dimension to the growing appeal of Halifax town centre as a real destination after years in the doldrums. And with so much work having gone into the Lantern, there are plenty of grounds for optimism that it will become another top-class music venue which also serves a decent pint! Mentioning the Alexandra, with Ben and Martin spending so much time on the new venture, belated congratulations are due to Sophie who has deservedly been promoted to bar manager.

I was in Manchester during last week, no decent beer was to be had at the Albert Hall, but fortunately I had enjoyed some excellent beer at the Smithfield earlier in the evening. I was there to see Jason Isbell, a musician who is currently at the top of his game. A former member of Southern country rock band, Drive By Truckers, he has recorded three sublime solo albums in the last few years that simply ooze Americana. It was a fantastic gig, crammed with excellent songs, with his band the 400 Unit as tight as a drum. After a fantastic 80 minutes or so, the band came back out for an encore, and when I heard the opening notes, I thought "that sounds like Refugee by Tom Petty." It was 'Refugee' by Tom Petty, note perfect, and my mate Tom who was with me at the gig mentioned that Jason Isbell traditionally does a Tom Petty song as part of his encore. In view of recent events it was all the more poignant.

I paid a visit to that famous musical city, Liverpool, last Saturday en route to seeing Town's 4-2 defeat at Tranmere Rovers. This is a city that I have neglected to visit over the years, so I was reliant on my brother for advice of where we should go. We visited a few decent pubs before getting a taxi over to Birkenhead for the game, of which the Dispensary just five minutes from Lime Street Station was the stand out. The pint of Jarl from Fyne Ales was one of the best I have had all year. I definitely need to head over to Liverpool at some point and give it a proper look this space.

Meanwhile, back to the Brudenell. I am next going on the 30th November to see Ian Felice, brother of Simone, and looking forward to it already....

The Brudenell: Real Ale and music in perfect harmony


Popular posts from this blog

A Calder Valley Ale Trail - UPDATE June 2022

T he definitive guide to the pubs and bars that line the railways in the towns and villages of the beautiful Calder Valley in West Yorkshire. After a break in updates with all the disruption of lockdowns over the  last couple of years, here's the latest, updated version.... The original Rail Ale Trail heads through the Pennines from Dewsbury through Huddersfield to Stalybridge, or vice versa, depending on your standpoint. Made famous by Oz Clarke and James May on a TV drinking trip around Britain several years ago, it reached saturation point on weekends to such an extent that lager and shorts were banned by some pubs and plastic glasses introduced to the hordes of stag dos, hen parties, and fancy-dressed revellers that invaded the trans-Pennine towns and villages. There are some great pubs en route but you ventured to them on a summer Saturday at your peril. However, only a few miles away to the north, there is another trail possible which takes in some great pubs and travels thr

No More Crows The Rooster....

Another much-loved pub which has played a big part in so many people's lives over the years has recently closed its doors.... News broke the other week that The Red Rooster, at Brookfoot, near Brighouse, was to close at the beginning of March. With the rent being increased by an incredible £935 a week , landlord Eddie Geater decided that it was simply not viable to keep the popular free house open. And it is sad news, as the Rooster has been at the forefront of the area's pubs for most of the last 30-odd years. And it is a big deal. Before it opened as the Rooster there were hardly any free houses in the area as we know them today where there was a truly wide and unrestricted choice of beers. Prior to being the Rooster, the pub had been a Webster's tied house, The Wharf, which had been built in the early 20th century to cater for workers from the nearby wharf from where local coal was transported via the canal network. And to this day, three former wharfmen's cot

The Town That Thinks It's A Village....

My time has been a bit limited recently for venturing too far afield, so last weekend I made the short journey to Elland to check out a few of the town's pubs and bars. Here's what I found.... Elland is a small market town in West Yorkshire, located between Halifax and Huddersfield beside the River Calder. It goes back a bit, being recorded as Elant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and over the centuries the town grew as a result of the woollen industry, with the town becoming home to several large mills. The coming of the Aire and Calder Navigation and the railways further helped the growth of the town. The subsequent decline of the woollen industry in the town meant that there were a number of empty mills left standing, and those that didn't burn down were put to other use, such as the home of Gannex, the now-defunct textile company whose raincoats were worn by the rich and famous, including former Prime Minister Harold Wilson. More recently, several mills have been converte