Last year was a difficult one for The Leggers Inn. Dewsbury's canal-side stable conversion, now in it's twelfth year, suffered chronic staffing problems that ended up costing the pub it's annual beer festival and nearly resulted in a total change of management.
Things are looking up again now though, and with the evergreen John Smithson (my first real ale mentor) back at the helm, this popular first-floor hostelry looks set to enjoy it's best summer to date. With it's new and improved outdoor drinking terrace complete and the weather to go with it, Leggers will now put itself back on the festival calendar this year and look to rival the successes of The West Riding at the town's railway station.
It has to be said that there aren't too many more peaceful settings locally at which to enjoy a pint outdoors, and whilst a canal basin is probably not everyone's idea of tranquility, the setting here is surprisingly relaxing. In total contrast, the interior of the pub is dark, a little quaint and full of all manner of decorative memorabilia and clutter - just the sort of place that lends itself to the other end of the year where somewhere warm and cosy is the order of the day.
Of course it's been a difficult time for pubs in the area, with many, including Ossett Brewery's Shepherds Boy on Huddersfield Road, being put up for sale recently, but John remains upbeat about the future of the pub still referred to as Dewsbury's best kept secret: "We've had one of the busiest six months I can remember and now that the decent weather's here the place is going mad. The canal festival is coming up very soon and we're anticipating a bumper weekend for that."
With two very successful beer festivals already in Dewsbury this year, namely CAMRA's Heavy Woollen event at the Town Hall and the popular World Sup at The West Riding, it's now the turn of Leggers to shine once more. As yet no dates have been firmly fixed but John is hoping for mid-October, and as soon as details are announced we shall let you know. Between now and then though, and while ever the sun keeps shining, look no further than this gem of a pub for quality beer and friendly service in this unlikely yet ideal location. (map)