As long time readers of 'A Swift One' should be aware, I am a great fan of the 'Barge and Barrel' at Elland. This is the pub where I discovered the joy of real ale and the joy of a the craic in a real pub, and since I have been living in Rastrick it is a pub I have often called off at when I have been 'Shopping' (!!??). But sadly not for long.
I had heard on the grapevine that the pub was in danger of the Punch Taverns 'redevelopment' axe, but I had no firm information - I thought it may be malicious gossip. Obviously the floods at Christmas and the destruction of the adjacent road bridge will not have helped matters. It has certainly been quieter of late but I thought this may have been just a blip. Sadly it seems I was wrong.
It appears that Punch have decided on a change of direction for the pub. No longer a roadside beer paradise but a food outlet. Yippee - I can hardly contain myself. Gone will be the 10 or so real ales, always kept well and often interesting, to be replaced by generic pub food (apparently).
This seems a little short sighted in my opinion - sorry I am being pleasant - it seems bloody myopic. From a selfish point of view there are very few pubs in the locality that are aimed at the drinker, and to lose one is a tragedy. Most are aimed at the John Smiths/Lager drinker - a comment that can never be levelled at the Barge, and are average at best. I cannot understand the business plan that wants to convert a roadside boozer to a food pub when the road only travels one way, there is inadequate parking, no bus service and the promise of massive bridge works in the foreseeable future. And little or no nearby housing as a catchment area. The only plus is the nearby crematorium which may provide a few visits from bereaved relatives - but to redevelop the pub at this time on the strength of that custom . Well ??
I hope the pub rises from the ashes and succeeds, (thats on selfish level so I don't have to rearrange my shopping trips) but I am sad it will never be the same again. It still has my happy memories there though and Punch cannot take those away from me.
However it is not all doom and gloom in my bit of Calderdale, This week sees the opening af a micropub in Brighouse. It is called the 'Market Tavern' and is right in the centre of the town, just off Bethel Street at the end of the market nearest Bradford Rd. I have only looked through the windows but it seems there will be at least 4 pumps on the bar but there were no pump clips on so I cannot hazard a guess as to what should be on offer.
Opening times will 2pm till 10pm, on Wedensday and Thursday and 12 noon till 10 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It is closed Monday and Tuesday. So shopping may not be so bad after all !! I will try and call down during the week under some pretext and give you the full information.