Unfortunately I have to start this week’s column with some bad news, no doubt carried by the editor already. The Works in Sowerby Bridge closed its doors in the past couple of weeks for what could be the last time. The venue was obviously shut at short notice as seasonal function bookings were left in the air and it appears insolvency specialists have been appointed to tidy up its financial affairs. The Works was a pub I’d only visit occasionally in recent years as other venues had stole my personal thunder, but in it’s early days was a weekly visit. It was one of the original pubs which led the Sowerby Bridge revival which saw it become the weekend mecca it was for a good 6 years or so from the late noughties into the early part of the next decade. I liked the place and still did for it’s nice relaxed space, decent range of real ales which were generally well kept and formerly I got on with Sarah-Jo, who was a key part of the management team until a few years ago. Sowerby Bridge has had plenty of new venues since the Works, but it’s sad to lose and original, as we have the Puzzle Hall Inn down the road. Hopefully someone will resurrect the venue, but the question is to be asked, was the reason it was closed that it was simply not viable or the company simply ran out of money.
My illness has been taking a heavy toll on my body over the last few weeks including being admitted to hospital, so my visit to Preston and Clitheroe didn’t go ahead, instead we stay firmly within the Calderdale borders. I had one of my best friends up for a long weekend just past and on previous visits has only seen the Cross Keys in Siddal from our extensive list of great pubs. On the Saturday we went for a few beers in Brighouse, visiting the Market Tavern and the Railway-Commercial. The Railway is a pub I pop into occasionally but should be more often, it was good to see Trevor, the landlord, again and to catch up with my friend Jason whilst he was on shift. A couple of nice beers went down really well here. If you’ve never been to this pub, there is warm atmosphere in the bar and as I’ve said before the decor is like someone has dropped a fully fitted bar into someone’s front room which adds to that feeling and worth a visit if in town.
Sandwiching the visit to the Railway was a couple of trips to the Market Tavern where Debs and Snap are continuing to make a success of this innocuous little building, now extended by the outside drinking area overlooking the market stalls. On Saturday afternoon the bar was full and we had to sit in this outside area whilst some rather nice real ale, wine and lemonade was consumed by the party, although the weather being so mild made it far more pleasant that it should be in later October. Constantly rotating beers, with a well kept cellar and charging reasonable prices along with a crowd that is nothing but friendly make this the go to place in the town centre. The interaction between Debs, Snap and the customers also is second to few.
Sunday we popped into town into the afternoon and caught up with Tony at the Pumproom in Halifax. He’s still reporting good trade with plenty of new faces coming into pub as well as more regular drinkers. Again a nice range of beers from local and regional brewers and all well kept, all visible directly behind the bar. His location is paying dividends with passing trade and “bus wait-ers” adding to his customers all the time. The recipe he started with is still the same as when he started, good real ales and beers, good quality spirits and good customer service. It’s a winning combo elsewhere, so why change it. A couple of beers at the Victorian Craft Beer Cafe followed to round the day off nicely.
It’s good to get back to home bases after a few weeks away drinking and they are all still as good as ever!