Monday, September 26, 2011


It's back - the new Camra Good Beer Guide, second only to the Bible in terms of following the righteous path to heavenly places.

Manchester has perhaps the most interesting changes this year, with the north of the city centre looking a real ale hotspot.

57 Thomas Street and Common are both new in this year. The former shouldn't work being so small (room for about 30-40 people), but it's delightful and from the Marble empire. The latter has gone from the deliberately shabby look, with a bar that appears to be made up of board from riot-ravaged windows and cheap garden chairs in the main bar space. It's a friendly enough place, with a concentration on Continental beers and bottles rather than handpulled - but there's a fine line between shabby chic and bag of shite.

With The Castle, Bar Fringe, the Smithfield (now there is a pub that doesn't worry about Northern Quarter beanbaggery) and the slightly tired Crown and Kettle in the Guide (and Port St which should be in the Guide next year) - there's a decent selection of pubs in that part of town.

Elsewhere in Manc, there are returns for old favourites Peveril of the Peak, the Grey Horse and the Rising Sun.

There's a shake-up in Halifax with the Shears returning and the Westgate and Wetherspoon-owned Barum's Top also new entries.

Veritas is the best of the new entries in Leeds (great grub too), with The Hop, Hunslet's Garden Gate and Fox and Newt (Burley) also new 'uns.

In Huddersfield and surrounding areas, I'm glad to see the mighty Sair (pictured), in Linthwaite returning. So what if there were occasional hiccups with beer supply (I'm not sure Linfit Beers are on at the moment), it's a magical pub and it should never have been left out last year.

Marsh Liberal Club is back in the Guide while The Swan in Slaithwaite drops out.

The GBG remains the best guide for beer and pubs and as it says in the intro, where the beer's good everything else - decor, food, staff - is usually good as well.

But is it time to include pubs and bars without cask/handpulled beer? Good boozers, with a wide array of interesting (usually non-British) kegs and bottles are missing out, while manky pubs which happen to have a handpull are in.

A prime example of this is the Cherry Tree and Vox.

The former is a dreadful Wetherspoons, in the Guide for its decent beer but not a place where you'd want to stay for more than a half because it's like sitting in a soulless school canteen being gawked at by ageing hardmen with saggy faces.

Next door is Vox, a bar who relax in as soon as you walk in - it's got a lived-in feel, great music and great beer - but no cask, so no chance of an entry into The Good Beer Guide.

Yes the Guide is mainly about beer but it's also about decor, mix of people and feel of the place and the Cherry Tree gets in while Vox misses out.

Moving on. In Sheffield, the station Tap is, not surprisingly, a new entry (although it has a slightly artificial ye olde feel and is not a patch on West Yorkshire's rail ale pubs) and I'll have to look out for Henry's - a new entry in the city centre.

The fabulous and characterful Old Cock is Otley's new entry, while the lovely Bull and Fairhouse is Wakefield's new kid on the block.

In York, newbies are Last Drop Inn, Phoenix, Slip Inn and Three-Legged Mare, while there are plenty of changes in Wigan with new 'uns the fabulous Bowling Green, Millstone and Tudor House.

My picks are all the pubs in Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford, Wakefield, Halifax and a few other towns, villages, and suburbs in West Yorkshire. Plus all the pubs in Manchester, Salford, Sheffield, Wigan, Southport, Skipton, York most in West Lancashire, a few in North West Wales, and a small selection of the best Guide pubs I've visited in London recently.

I've only chosen the cities, towns and villages I visit, or am likely to visit, over the next 12 months, so sorry Castleford, Cleckheaton, Bingley and a few others - you're not down here. But if I choose a place, all its pubs are included.

I've lumped all the Huddersfield pubs together - keeping Holmfirth, Marsden, Meltham and Mirfield separate - and all the Leeds pubs (so that's including Burley, Chapel Allerton, Headingley, Holbeck, Kirkstall, Newlay, Rodley and Woodhouse).

NEW - pubs new in this year's guide.
Dropping out - in last year but not this year.
Pubs in bold - my own Olthwaite Golden Shovel winners (see best pubs - to be update soon)

Cellar Bar


Castle Hotel, City Vaults, Corn Dolly, Fighting Cock, Haigy’s, New Beehive Inn, Sir Titus Salt.
Dropping out: Shoulder of Mutton

Old Ship Inn, Red Rooster, Richard Oastler

Huntsman, Leggers Inn, Shepherds Boy, West Riding Refreshment Rooms, pictured.

Drop Inn NEW
Dropping out: Barge and Barrel

Barum Top (Wetherspoon's)- NEW, Big Six, Shears - NEW, Three Pigeons, pictured, Westgate - NEW, William IV.
Dropping out: Sportsman (Swalesmoor)


Fleece, Haworth Old Hall Inn - NEW

Moyles - NEW, New Delight Inn, Stubbing Wharf - NEW


Town Street Tavern
Dropping out: Old Kings Arms

HUDDERSFIELD and adjoining villages/areas:
Beaumont Arms (Netherton), Cherry Tree, Commercial (Slaithwaite), Grove, Kings Head, Marsh Liberal Club - NEW Rat and Ratchet, Sair (Linthwaite)- NEW, Sportsman , Star Inn (Lockwood. Folly the pub dog pictured), Swan (Slaithwaite), White Cross (Bradley).
Dropping out: Swan (Slaithwaite)

Bar T’at, Riverside Hotel

Boltmakers Arms, Brown Cow, Cricketers Arms
Dropping out: Livery Rooms

Abbey (Newlay), Arcadia (Headingley), Chemic (Woodhouse), Fox and Newt (Burley)- NEW Grove (Holbeck), Further North (Chapel Allerton), Garden Gate (Hunslet) - NEW, Hop - NEW, Midnight Bell (Holbeck), Mr Foleys Cask Ale House, North Bar, Owl (Rodley), Palace, Regent (Chapel Allerton), Rodley Barge (Rodley), Scarborough, Templar, Town Hall Tavern, Veritas - NEW, Victoria, Whitelocks.
Dropping out: Cross Keys (Holbeck), Reliance, Three Hulats (Chapel Allerton), West End House (Kirkstall)



Will O’Nats


Navigation Tavern, Old Colonial


Shoulder of Mutton


Junction, Manor House, Old Cock - NEW


Fanny’s Ale House, Victoria

Shipley Pride, Sir Norman Rae

Firehouse, Jubilee Refreshment Rooms, White Horse, Works - NEW
Dropping out: Puzzle Hall Inn (pictured), Shepherd’s Rest

Black Rock, Bull and Fairhouse - NEW, Fernandes Brewery Tap, Harry’s Bar, The Hop, Labour Club
Dropping out: Alverthorpe WMC, O'Donoghues.

Also Dropping out: Thurstonland - Rose and Crown



Ball Inn (West, Crookes), Bath Hotel, Carlton (East), Champs Sports Bar (West), Cobden View (West - Crookes), Devonshire Cat, Fat Cat, Francis Newton (Wetherspoon) - NEW, Gardeners Rest (North), Harlequin, Henry's - NEW, Hillsborough Hotel (North), Kelham Island Tavern, New Barrack Tavern (North), Old House, Ranmoor Inn (West), Rawson Spring (North - Hillsborough) Red Deer, Rising Sun (West), Rutland Arms, Sheaf View (South - Heeley), Sheffield Tap - NEW, University Arms (West), Wellington (North), York (West, Broomhill) - NEW
Dropping out: Fox and Duck (West - Broomhill), Museum, Walkley Cottage (West), White Lion (South - Heeley)

Narrow Boat, Red Lion
Dropping out: Devonshire

Blue Bell, Brigantes Bar, Golden Ball, Last Drop Inn - NEW, Maltings, Minster Inn, Phoenix - NEW, Rook and Gaskill, Slip Inn - NEW, Swan Inn, Three-Legged Mare - NEW, Waggon and Horses
Dropping out: Tap and Spile, Yorkshire Terrier


57 Thomas Street - NEW, Angel, Bar Fringe, Bulls Head, Cask - NEW, Castle Hotel, City Arms, Common - NEW, Crown and Kettle, Grey Horse - NEW, Knott, Marble Arch, Micro Bar, Old Wellington, Paramount, Peveril of the Peak - NEW, Rising Sun - NEW, Sand Bar, Smithfield Hotel, Waterhouse
Dropping out: Dutton, Jolly Anglers, Odd, Piccadilly

Crescent, King’s Arms, New Oxford, Racecourse Hotel (Lower Kersal), Star (Higher Broughton)
Dropping out: Black Lion


Old Hunter’s Tavern, Stalybridge Labour Club, Stalybridge Station Buffet Bar

Anvil, Boulevard, Bowling Green - NEW, Brocket Arms, Millstone - NEW, Royal Oak, Tudor House - NEW
Dropping out: Berkeley, Crooke Hall Inn, Moon Under Water

SOUTHPORT: Barons Bar, Bold Arms (Churchtown), Cheshire Lines, Guest House, Lakeside, Sir Henry Segrave, Volunteer - NEW, Willow Grove, Windmill.
Dropping out: Masons Arms


AUGHTON: Derby Arms, Stanley - NEW. Dropping out: Dog and Gun
BISPHAM GREEN: Eagle and Child
BURSCOUGH: Farmers Arms - NEW, Hop Vine
CROSTON: Lord Nelson
MAWDESLEY: Black Bull, Robin Hood
ORMSKIRK: Disraelis, Greyhound, Queens Head.
PARBOLD: Stocks - NEW, Wayfarer. Dropping out: Windmill
RUFFORD: Hesketh Arms
WESTHEAD: Prince Albert.
Dropping out: SCARISBRICK: Heaton’s Bridge

BANGOR: Boatyard - NEW, Fat Cat - NEW, Mostyn Arms, Tap and Spile. Dropping out: Abbeyfield
BEAUMARIS: Old Bulls Head
CONWY: Old White House.
LLANDUDNO: Cottage Loaf - NEW, Kings Head
MENAI BRIDGE: Bridge Inn, Victoria Hotel


Calthorpe Arms, Bloomsbury
Dog and Duck, Soho
Holly Bush, Hampstead
Red Lion, Ealing
Royal Oak, Borough
Star Tavern, Belgravia
Traveller's Friend, Woodford Green

Pictures: Camra (book)


  1. Richard8:27 PM

    Three Hulats, Chapel Allerton: A JDW full of all day boozers and chavs in the evening.

    Stables at Weetwood Hall is one I'll have to look into.

    Nice to see the Cock & Bottle, Skipton, dropping out. Never the highlight of our annual pre-Chrimbo trip.

    Sadly Otley is no longer the beer town it once was.

  2. I don't mind the Hulats actually - it's big enough to avoid the chavs and it's the best place in Chapel A for real ale. Agreed about the Cock and Bottle in Skipton though

  3. Good work - saved me boat-load of reading and checking!

  4. Conwy...

    Bridge - great - 5 good ales

    Old Mailcoach - 4 visits in 2009 - NO REAL ALE

  5. Hebden Drinker3:15 PM

    I share your suprise at rhe Sair being omitted, but that doesn't match the fall from grace of Moyles in Hebden Bridge - end of 2009 awarded Calderdale Branch's "Pub Of The Year", Feb 2010 dropped from the Good Beer Guide.

    With the long standing entry the Fox and Goose also dropped (less of a surprise), Hebden Bridge town now lloks like a desert with no entries, whereas all 10 pubs serve real ale and I'd say 5 or 6 are well worth visiting for the choice/quality of the beer.

  6. Yes, I'm always surprised Hebden Bridge isn't highlighted more in the Guide and the Fox and Goose is a great pub.