Last week I headed down to South Yorkshire and paid a very rare visit to Doncaster to visit a number of pubs in and around the town centre. Here's what I found....
The Railway is still there, and still open. The big difference now is that there is an even nearer pub now if you are changing trains, or if you are not on the train and simply want a good pint, and it is to be found on Platform 3B. This is the Draughtsman, situated in a former Victorian buffet bar which had been empty for 18 years, and opened up in 2017. It is a lovely one-room bar with attractive tiling on the walls, a friendly little place with several beers on both cask and tap. I ordered a half of Sputnik from North brewery in Leeds and very nice and refreshing it was on this warm afternoon, coming in with a rating of NBSS 3.5. The Draughtsman is a typical station bar in terms of the comings and goings of its mixed clientele seemingly coinciding with the railway timetable. If you only have time to visit one place in Doncaster, this is most definitely a fine place to call in.
|Lovely decor at the Draughtsman, Doncaster station|
The second pub of the day was only a few minutes walk away, and I passed the previously-visited Railway on my way there. And it is an absolutely beauty. This is the Leopard, which straddles a corner in all its tiled and bricked splendour (opening photo). 'Warwick and Richardsons Ltd Newark Ales and Stouts', it proclaims amidst the tiles. Now Warwick and Richardson, whose former Northgate Brewery still stands in part in the Nottinghamshire town, stopped brewing in the 1960's after being acquired by John Smiths, but there was beer available from an interesting source within the Leopard. This was from the 1086 brewery from Cusworth Hall a few miles away, where the brewery was set up in 2018 in a former brewhouse. The Leopard is owned by the same group, the Doncaster Culture & Leisure Trust, and on the bar amongst a selection from Yorkshire breweries including Ossett was Roger of Bully, a dark ruby and malty ale, named after a local landowner and bigwig in these parts from the days of the Norman Conquest. It was a decent enough beer, which I rated NBSS 3. Whilst the inside of the Leopard is comfortable and tidy, it is pretty functional, with rooms off to either side of the entrance, and doesn't match up to the stunning exterior. There is also a further room upstairs which is used for gigs and events. But it was a very pleasant place to sit and have a pint, with a number of old guys engaging in banter and conversation at the neighbouring tables. And where did the name come? I couldn't find anything when I searched online, so I am sorry guys, but I just don't know! Unless of course someone out there can help?
|The Little Plough, Doncaster|
|Doncaster Brewery Tap: a warm welcome and good beer awaits(round the back)|
|Ciders to the left, beers to the right: Doncaster Brewery taproom|
|The Hallcross, Doncaster|
|The Queen, Doncaster|