Monday, July 26, 2010

Great Yorkshire Pubs : The Travellers', Hipperholme.

It seems to be some time since I featured one of my "Great Yorkshire Pubs" on the blog, so let us try and put things right by paying a visit to the Travellers' Inn in Hipperholme. Get yourself a drink, pull up a chair and soak up the atmosphere of this fine Grade II listed eighteenth century ale-house.

THE TRAVELLERS' INN
Tanhouse Hill, Halifax HX3 8HN  
Tel : 01422 202 494

At first you might be tempted to ask what is so special about the Travellers'. Despite its historic building listing, it doesn't look particularly spectacular (it is probably listed for being typical of the period rather than for being outstanding). Until recently it could have been one of a hundred such pubs which could have been found in each Yorkshire town. No nonsense, stone-built, utilitarian temples to Bacchus : or at least places you could get a decent pint at the end of a hard day's work. But if you are tempted to ask the question, let me tell you what is special about The Travellers'. It is still open. Not only that, it appears to be thriving.

Until Saturday evening I hadn't set foot in the Travellers' for forty years or more. I remember taking some visitors from London there, to give them a feel of a real Yorkshire pub. Back then it was very much a "local" and conversation would still stop when a stranger walked through the door. I probably advised my companions to enjoy their visit because such pubs would not still be around in forty years time. In a sense I managed to be right and wrong at the same time.

The Travellers' in the early twentieth century (this is not, I should add, a picture of my previous visit!)
The fabric of the building is still very much the same, although the stone has been cleaned and the roof straightened. Inside, the little narrow rooms and snugs have been largely opened out - although my wife and I still managed to find a semi-snug in which to enjoy our drink on Saturday evening. From the cars and the bicycles parked outside, I would guess that the clientèle is less "local" than of old, but it is no tourist-trap, and you still feel as though you are entering a pub rather than a theme park. Without a doubt, the beer is better than it was 40 years ago : the Travellers' is now owned by Ossett Brewery and its' range of beers will gladden the heart of any real ale enthusiast. It is a "beery" pub and consequently can feel a little intimidating to the non-enthusiast and its' lists of beers and gravities, hops and fermentations can be a little overwhelming. But I have to say, it fights hard against being over-serious and it remains the kind of place I would happily take a visitor to these parts. A place I would happily take a traveller to : what greater praise can there be.

DRINKING NOTES: I had a pint of Ossett Brewery's Yorkshire Blonde (3.9% ABV) which somehow seemed suitable for the venue. This is very much a 21st century real ale with a colour that, from a distance, could be mistaken for lager and a taste which contains all the elements of a hoppy brew with the slightest hint of sweetness. A good introduction to good Yorkshire beer - a good pint for a traveller to enjoy.

13 comments:

  1. It sounds like a great place. It's the only one left in Halifax? How did that happen?

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  2. Hi Roy,
    No, it's not the only one left, but such local pubs are closing at a rate of two or three a day throughout the country as a whole and that is reflected in the area. The beery pubs (pubs that cater for real beer lovers). the foody pubs (those that concentrate on food rather than drink) and the kiddy pubs (those with play-areas for kids) survive, but the good honest local is becoming a thing of the past.

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  3. Our village pub has just closed, although rumour has it, there are plans to 'do it up' and turn it into a swanky foody pub. Frankly, anything would be better than seeing the windows and doors boarded up as they are now.

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  4. I agree Martin. There is nothing quite as sad as a closed pub.

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  5. I have palpable pangs of wistfulness at your description, Alan. I can visualize myself and my good man, seated across from you and your lovely wife, sampling the wonderful brews of the district, having a good laugh (and perhaps trying to "hold it down" so as not to disturb the locals too much. Talking of dogs, and food drink and poetry and places and all manner of things. How I do wish it could be so!

    For now, I'll have to be satisfied with these vicarious visits and dream of the day when we can make it a reality.

    Kat

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  6. There were some miserable sentence constructions in that last comment. Put it down to the fact that I've not yet had my lunch and my brain-power is diminishing.

    Kat

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  7. Two or three a day!? This is a crisis! People can't possibly be drinking less; I guess they're just doing it elsewhere.

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  8. mmm...that blonde sounds nice...and so does your pub...

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  9. a "beery" pub
    my husband dreams of places like
    the Travellers' Inn in Hipperholme

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  10. I am your traveler!! Just why are they closing? I love period movies such as "Remains of the Day" with Anthony Hopkins visiting the pub...I guess time has had its say and I'm becoming a dying generation that longs for days gone by. I think you are there with me too, Alan!
    :) The Bach

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  11. dabbeWhere I live (Britannia) there is'nt a single pub, inn or other kind of hostelry still open. Ironically the last one to close its door was called 'The Travellers Rest'

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  12. Do English pubs still have crazy trading hours? I remember drinking illegally in the dark once in a similar looking pub in Stratford called "The Unicorn" felt very naughty.

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  13. sounds delightful. and yes, overall, much beer does seem to be better now than it was 40 years ago!

    how sad to learn about such a high rate of local pubs closing

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