One of the city's that I rarely visit is Bradford, partly because I have spent too much of my life there already for various reasons, and partly because there has never been anything I have considered exceptional on the pub front for me to make the journey. However, on hearing about the opening of the 'Sparrow' cafe bar there, I thought it may be time to revisit and check out what I had been hearing about the place.
The Sparrow is hidden away on North Parade at the top end of the city in the Rawson quarter, about 15 minutes walk uphill from the Interchange. When I say hidden, I mean hidden, I had stood and looked at the place for a good few minutes before realising that was where I was going. It looks like a shop front, but is painted green and for the less intelligent amongst us, (e.g me !) they have signwritten the windows with 'The Sparrow' name to give us a clue.
Inside it is on 2 floors, downstairs being additional seating, toilets and an art display area, upstairs on road level is the actual bar area. At the moment this still has the look of a work in progress, with bare floorboards and small tables and wooden seating. It had the feel of a cafe rather than a bar. The bar itself had six fonts, the larger dedicated to Bernard beers, but others serving Meantime and other more unusual beers; more of interest to me were the handpulls, 4 in all, promising a selection of local beers, and those from other respected breweries such as Thornbridge, or Brewdog. On my visit though, there were 2 from Salamander, and beer from Ilkley and Saltaire as well.
The beer prices are reasonable but I found the selection a little pedestrian, or may be I was just unlucky with my timing. There is also a large range of bottles according to the beer menu, again reasonably priced. Food is simple, and cold. A bit unusual, such as bread and hummus, but again not expensive.
Would I make the trip again ? Probably not. It is the sort of place Bradford has been lacking and will hopefully do well but we are spoiled in Huddersfield, and should we want the kind of experience the 'Sparrow' offers, then the 'Grove' is a better bet with more draught beer and more and varied foreign stuff. If you want to try it for yourself, it opens from 12 noon every day, but beware, it is closed on Sundays, and being en route to Valley Parade, may get busy on match days.