Wetherspoon’s Leeds

As Leeds is our Destination of the Month at the moment, I’d like to tell you about a great chain of pubs in Leeds: J.D. Wetherspoon.

Actually, Wetherspoon is not a chain that can be found only in Leeds; they are all over the UK and they have their headquarters in Watford.

But I would like to tell you about their five excellent pubs that can be found in Leeds City Centre.

Wetherspoon: Does what it says on the tin!

What I love most about Wetherspoon is the simplicity: it’s a pub so it serves beer. They offer great value meals, cheap drinks and that wonderful English-pub atmosphere. Simple.

They do meal deals, guest ales, curry night and other fun events.

What’s more, Wetherspoon pubs tend to be large and spacious, as they are generally open plan designs and they are often converted old buildings which were not originally meant to be pubs, such as banks, cinemas and, in the case of the Cuthbert Brodrick in Leeds, oriental baths!

Cuthbert Brodrick

Speaking of Cuthbert Brodrick; he was an architect who designed many of the most prominent buildings in Leeds in the Victorian times, which are still iconic edifices today.  I wrote a post all about him the other day.

The latest addition to Leeds’ branch of the Wetherspoon estate is named after him and stands on part of the site of the old public baths which were also designed by Brodrick.

Hedley Verity

Hedley Verity, if you didn’t know, is also the name of a man. He was from Headingley, Leeds, and was a famous cricket player during the first half of the 20th century.

This building has been used for everything: it was built as the Sunday School of the Woodhouse Lane Methodist New Connexion Chapel. Then it became Leeds Polytechnic’s School of Architecture and Town Planning. Later it was the College of Music. And before it was taken over by Wetherspoon, it was the Rat and Parrot Pub and then Baja Beach nightclub.

The Hedley Verity is my favourite Wetherspoon pub and when I am in Leeds I never fail to visit. I love the huge balconies, from where you can see the whole pub, and the fact that there is a bar upstairs, which is not just for decoration like in many big places, but which is always manned, meaning you don’t have to go downstairs to the bar and carry three overspilling pints back up the stairs.

The Hedley Verity is decorated with cricket memorabilia and while they show the muted news with subtitles, as is the norm in Wetherspoon pubs, they also have old cricket footage on a loop too. My grandad used to like it in here and I used to meet him for breakfast when I was in Leeds. He died last year but he was a huge (no, huge doesn’t even come close) cricket fan and always used to say that it was a decent cup of tea in here too. Incidentally, his ashes are now scattered at Headingley cricket ground.

Hedley Verity, Whetherspoon, Leeds Hedley Verity, Whetherspoon, Leeds

 

Beckett’s Bank

This is a beautiful pub and is always busy, despite being one of the city’s largest drinking stations. It takes its name from one of the best known former banks, and was indeed a bank, in the financial district of Leeds.

Like the Hedley Verity, it has a gorgeous balcony and plenty of downstairs tables.

Stick or Twist

This pub stands on the site of a previous casino and is actually next door to an existing casino, the Grosvenor.

As it happens, I used to be a dealer in the Grosvenor Casino many years ago and the Stick or Twist was, for me, the starting point of many after-work jaunts. Due to the nocturnal timetable of a casino, the staff at the Stick or Twist used to save us a pre-ordered dish, which they would warm up for us even after the kitchen was closed, much to the jealousy of some of the regular customers.

This pub has a long bar with elegant raised seating areas and is still a favourite of mine. It was actually the first Wetherspoon pub in Leeds; it opened in 1997.

Wetherspoon

Most cities have a Wetherspoon pub called Wetherspoon and the one in Leeds is in the train station.

Because of it’s situation in the city it sees more stoppers by than out-for-the-night-ers and provides travellers with a familiar atmosphere and good value pint while they are between trains.

A few facts about the Wetherspoon chain:

  • The name Wetherspoon has nothing to do with the person who founded the chain, whose name is actually Tim Martin, but is the name of one of his school teachers who had told him that he would never succeed in business.
  • The Wetherspoon chain was founded in 1979 and now has 880 outlets.
  • Wetherspoon is the biggest single supporter of microbreweries in the UK.
  • The first pub to be opened in 1979 was called Marley’s Bar, in London.
  • There are 100 ex-Wetherspoon pubs across the UK, which were sold off, and none of the first pubs are still part of the chain. The oldest surviving Wetherspoon is the Rochester Castle in Stoke Newington and opened in 1983.
  • There are 26 Wetherspoon hotels in the UK belonging to the chain.
  • Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin’s favourite ale is Greene King Abbot.
  • The first Wetherspoon pub I ever went in was in Manchester when I arrived early for a job interview and had to kill time. Before then I had never heard of the chain.
  • Wetherspoon claims to be Britain’s biggest supporter of real ale and has a blog dedicated to the topic, written by Dave the Real Ale Guru! Check it out.

Do you know your Speckled Hen from your Bishop’s Finger? Get down to the Cuthbert Brodrick and you soon will!

Discover more about food and drink… or… find out who Cuthbert Brodrick was!

Filed Under: featuredfood and drinkleedsUK

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About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....

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  1. Encarna says:

    Useful information Lisa. I don’t know if I will have the chance to go to Leeds but If someday I have the chance I’ll read this post again!
    kisses dear

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