Readers of 'A Swift One' may remember that I have several connections with Bradford, some intentional, some not so. I went College there, intentional. My job took me there for almost 8 years.Unintentional. When Mrs Timbo had to go there earlier in the week, I thought I would tag along and see what the beer scene was like there.
Let me get a couple of things clear first though, I do not care for the place, but people have mentioned some decent new watering holes so I thought I would give them a chance. I do know there are some decent pubs in the city, but they are a fair distance apart and I was a little pushed for time and wanted a fairly compact crawl, hence my choices.
I started on North Parade at the top of the city centre, at 'The City Gent'. A wonderful building, I think it could be a converted bank, just a shame the interior did not match the exterior. I was the only customer so there was a certain lack of atmosphere and the young child (I assume the child of bar staff) was a bit of a pain. Equally so was the beer choice. Out of three beers the most exciting was Saltaire 'Blonde' - not exactly the start I wanted.
At least things could only get better, at least I could hope ! Across the road is the Record Bar - at least I think that's its name - forgot to write it down. It is a cafe style bar with a vinyl record shop upstairs and a bar and charcuterie at street level. The food was meat and cheese platters and there were 4 beers on offer. All more interesting but all I had sampled previously. I toyed with the idea of Revolutions 'Go-Go' but being a creature of habit went for the Mallinsons 'Bramling Cross'. A good choice, and well kept. Things were improving.
Across the road again was 'The Sparrow'. Another cafe style bar, and plenty of bottles and keg on offer, along with 4 draught beers. This time the choice was Tyne Bank 'Northern Porter', which was excellent, and I spent a pleasant half hour in pleasant surroundings. With what followed I wish I had stayed there.
One of the pubs in the city I always overlook is 'The Beehive' . It is an imposing building at the top end of Westgate, incidentally just up the road from a Morrisons where I once had a holiday job until I split a pot of white paint ! I trekked up there, wandered into the bar, which is dark and dismal. There were 2 beers on, both from Wentworth, no bar staff and one customer. He was the village idiot on a day release. I did not stop. I understand now why I overlook it. And will continue to do so !
Things must improve with my next choice. 'The Castle' is further down the hill towards the city centre. And it had the atmosphere of a wake when I went in. About 4 customers, and 2 draught beers. A quick half of Empire 'Strikes Back' and off again.
By this time I was getting desperate. I knew there is a 'Spoons house in City Square, so that seemed somewhere to try. 'The Turls Green' is a new build, and light and airy. I chose a beer that was not one of the usual Wetherspoons fayre, Blindmans 'Icarus'. I will give the bar man his due, he did offer me a taster first, but I eschewed this and went for a half. It was not good, but at least the pub was light and airy and the customers did seem to be alive.
By this time I had had enough. I recalled why Bradford was a city I rarely visited, it was time to head home and sample a couple of decent beers in a couple of pleasant pubs in Brighouse. I should have done that in the first place and saved my bus fare !