When it comes to local pubs I am as guilty as the next man for only using certain ones and not trying something different, so when I had a free day it seemed a good idea to have a wander around and see what else was available. My route, or more precisely, mine and Robin's, went from north to south, and started and finished at the Bus Station. All the pubs we called in were open at 1200 noon, and are are open all week should you wish to replicate our trip.
The first pub was the Slubbers, on Halifax Old Rd. The easiest way to get there is to grab a 363 bus,(every 20 mins) from the bus station, get off at Hillhouse and walk the 100 yards or so to the pub, otherwise its about a 15 mins walk. The pub is still the iconic place it has always been, now under the ownership of local Camra member Bill Brogan, and he has a range of 8 beers on offer. Thwaites, B & T mild, and Conwy were all available, alongside Taylors and what we tried were in good nick. The pub also has 'Steigl' lager on offer, rarely seen in our parts.
We took the short walk back into town and the Vulcan at the bottom of St Peters St. This is a pub that is not unknown to visiting 'tickers' and alongside their cheap food menu there are often 4 beers, sometimes locally sourced, (on this occasion Mallinsons, Summer Wine, and Copper Dragon) but in good condition and cheap at £2.10 a pint. The pub was the busiest we visited so they must be doing something right.
Then it was time to venture into the unknown and sample those near the Kingsgate centre, which are usually the haunt of students. Herberts Bar is on Cross Church St, and used to be the Minstrel in my day, but has been totally revamped into a cafe bar with stripped back bare walls and wooden furniture. 3 hand pulls were on offer, Taylors, Deuchars and a guest from Brass Monkey, with bottles of Brew Dog in the fridge. Again, a swift half and onwards. The Lord Wilson at the bottom of King St is a Wetherspoons outlet, with 3 basic beers on offer, and due to the slow service we gave up and went elsewhere. We put our head around the door of the Warehouse, on Zetland St and were surprised to see a draught beer on offer, Pedigree being available, but we did not linger. Likewise at the Varsity next door, but they had a bigger range with Taylors, Pedigree and Dogs B*llocks on the pumps there.
Next stop was the strangely named Rhubarb, but better known to us geriatrics as the first Yates, on the ring road across from the university. This is another pleasant conversion, and is light and airy, with a central bar and seating around the outside. There are 6 beers available here, but strangely 3 clips were turned round, and since Tim's Law applied, the beer we wanted was one of those. However, Golden Pippin, Golden Sheep and a Phoenix beer were available, and what we tried were in good condition.
Next stop was the Albert, which we reached by way of the steps from Queensgate, on Victoria Lane.The pub still has all its old character, but only standard beers on offer, so another swift exit to the County on Princess St at the side of Wilkinsons. This was another busy pub, again with a cheap food menu, but with a bar man, who would have won no prizes in a customer service contest, begrudgingly pulling our halves of Hobgobin and Pedigree. Again, Golden Pippin was on offer as well. We skipped the Commercial on New St, the clientele outside putting us off what may have been an excellent Sam Smiths but we never found out. Both the pumps in Molly Malone's in Albion St were turned round, and a quick call in the Plumbers where we had hoped for better, just revealed 2 pumps, John Smiths and Theakstons, which was off, so we said thanks but no thanks. And returned to the bus station.
Our wander round was very much like the curate's egg, good in parts, but I must say that although I may visit the occasional one again, it seems unlikely I will be revisiting many in the near future. It did, however, give us an idea what else was on offer in the Town Centre and gave a pointer as to where to while away some time if her indoors goes shopping in Kingsgate. A useful, but not all together, successful experience. Thankfully we ended the tour at the Grove, where we found the usual selection of interesting and well kept beers, and no Golden Pippin in sight !