This week, I’ve tried to visit a few pubs I have not visited in awhile. Last Sunday I popped out for a pint at the Beck Brighouse and the Travellers Rest in Hipperholme. Whilst during the week I popped into Millers in Brighouse during the day. Three pubs, two what you’d call traditional pubs, the third is what could be now considered a bar / restaurant. Avoiding peak time allows to see how these pubs are really doing, the good news being that I’d consider them all to be in good commercial health.
I’ve always considered on a Sunday that the pub really starts to warm up about 3pm, people have finished their dinner or been for that walk, and now it is time for that beer. A good number of pubs have a nice stable level of custom from when they open on the traditional day of rest, but especially where a band is booked to play early teatime you find many people wandering in late afternoon. Whilst at the Beck, I sat there over a good pint of real ale as I normally do at this pub, who’s five pumps usually stock a decent range of brewers and styles. Reading the paper on my tablet in the corner, the blues singer for the afternoon was setting up before retiring to the bar for some beer based lumbrication pre show preparation. The pub had a smattering of drinkers at the bar, the front alcoves filled with beer supping punters and the dart board getting yet more ventilation holes, a nice turnover of beer ensuing.
I’m a big fan of live pub music and get down to see it as often as possible, on this occasion I had to miss the show itself. I’m an extremely amateur guitarist if you are being kind, so I appreciate people who can play and appreciate the blues as much as any musical style. Watching the warm up and sound check and I always enjoy watching people physically play guitar, the gig is one I wish I could have stuck around for. But one thing I do really like is when the artist asks nearby punters if the sound is good and balanced as I’ve been to a number of gigs where totally unbalanced sound levels can distract from what is a technically good performance.
I moved onto the Travellers Rest, where the entertainment was the afternoons FA Cup football and another dartboard. This is an Osset joint, so a handful of own brewery ale are joined by a couple of guest beers. Picking one of the guest beers, I settled down near to the wood burner in the next room up from the bar. This time picking from the plentiful supply of the sunday papers and suppliments, another nice pint went down rather well, again as usual for when I visit there. All three rooms were filling up nicely by then as tea time was coming into sight. A nice crowd was watching the football in the main room, whilst a mix of groups and families occupied the back rooms. I like the Travellers as it is a good honest pub, as is the Beck, it doesn’t try to do everything, but what it does it does well. It’s a nice relaxed atmosphere at the Travellers, something you appreciate more as you get older and the combination of a friendly welcome, good beer and giving you somewhere to relax ticks all the boxes for me.
Finally onto Millers in Brighouse. A midweek afternoon found the pub with about half it’s tables occupied, the majority just drinking (and many on soft drinks at that time of day). They have recently introduced a menu, the contents of which are fairly typical pub dishes with an influence of gastropub in some of the posher dishes. I haven’t eaten there yet, but the dishes being served looked decent value for money (chiabatas are about 6 quid, mains from 9). I don’t normally drink the real ale here as I generally visit for the American ales and the Brooklyn Brewery beer was in nice form. Even when off peak, places like Millers don’t seem as relaxing as a traditional pub, although I enjoyed the stay enough to sit and write this column there. Maybe this is just personal preference, but lots of things can alter the atmosphere of a pub, from the number and attitude of customers, the music and of course your personal mood, but for me the old fashioned pub or your local just can’t be beaten.
Millers is part of the Brighouse pub scene which is soon to gain another real ale pub, giving the town centre a proper independent real ale pub again. Opening near the market is the aptly named Market Tavern, the bar is due to have at least 6 real ale pumps if rumours are to be believed. More details when I get them, but this is a most welcome addition to the Calder Valley pub scene.