For a city that’s been repeatedly kicked in the knackers over the years, it’s encouraging to see Bradford dusting itself down, having a quick swoosh of Lynx, and donning its best clobber again.
Little Germany’s starting to fulfil some of its potential, and plans for around the Alhambra mean that Billy Pearce (all hail) won’t have to slum it in Wetherspoons for his post-panto-pint this year.
But it’s on, and around, North Parade at the top of town, where a small but strong smattering of watering-holes are giving folk a welcome alternative to the usual ‘return ticket to Leeds, please’ option when searching out some decent refreshment.
Given its location just off North Parade, Bradford Brewery makes a good place to either thirstily commence or merrily conclude a pub crawl.
Cask favourite The Origin, one of its own offerings, is a crisp session pint with bite amongst a generous range of beer gear. Pastry-fanciers can have their appetites re-booted with fodder from Pieminster.
Down at The Record Cafe the tunes are as important (well, nearly,) as the swill. Look cool in front of your rubbish mates by nipping upstairs to thumb through some vinyl before getting stuck into charcuterie like what you can get at Friends of Ham but at Bratfud prices.
In addition to the plentiful beery options, there’s a concise but choice selection of gins, whiskies and sherries with which you can really give your liver something to think about.
See that handsome building over the road? It’s a boozer called The City Gent.
Whilst there’s not too much going on in terms of ‘craft’ beer here, you do get some reliable, wallet-friendly cask stuff, and the chance to admire some right nice architecture n’ that.
Opened in 2011 by a couple of good-guy-brave-fools, The Sparrow is the ‘relaxed bier café’ that undoubtedly got the North Parade ball rolling.
Some said it’d never last, that Bradford wasn’t ready for funny tasting beer in a pub – nay, a bar – with no carpet. But the Jack Duckworths of this parish were proved wrong, and The Sparrow’s bedded itself in as a proper bit of Bradford’s rich cultural tapestry. Or, to you and me, as a top place in which to get pished.
Food-wise, get amongst platters of meat and cheese sourced from the ace Roswitha’s deli, or have city stalwart Mama Mia’s rustle you up some pizza goodness from their restaurant round the corner and drop it off at your table, ensuring minimal disturbance to beer consumption.
Pies, also, be here.
New kid on the block/parade – The Beer House – offers up a menu of classic pub grub to soak up some of the ale sloshing around the system. Our boots have yet to be filled here, but it’s cheering to see somewhere having a crack at the food end of the market.
Bradford does cocktails now. Proper ones, too; not just pints of Snakebite. For these, Al’s Dime Bar’s got your back.
Get amongst classic concoctions or modern mixes – made by folk who know what they’re doing – for £4.50 a throw. A late license gives you plenty of time to amble through the selection.
Panic not, drinkers-only-of-beer, there are fridges full of the stuff.
You’ll be peckish after all that graft. Have a curry.