Next time you’re looking for a pint and a bite to eat, head to one of these cracking gastropubs in and around Leeds.
With an enviable selection of booze, top quality grub and down to earth atmosphere that makes dining out a pleasure, the gastropub has become a staple of the country’s food and drink scene. And there are some real blinders in and around Leeds that could make for the perfect meal out next time you’re looking.
Right here in Leeds
If you want to stay close to home and experience the best gastropubs Leeds has to offer, these five should do the job.
The Cross Keys
A city centre pub with a country feel, The Cross Keys is a proper Leeds favourite. Its rustic furnishings and characterful alcoves make for a welcoming setting, and they have an envious beer offering too, but it’s the food that gives it gastropub status. Go for classics like Fish and Chips and Sausage and Mash, or try signature dishes like Yorkshire Bacon Chop in a cider sauce with creamy mash and vegetables.
The Cross Keys, 107 Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WD.
The Thornhill Arms
Around for more than 300 years, The Thornhill Arms is part of the fabric of Calverley. Their bar is topped with an array of ales, wines and spirits, but to go alongside your drink you’ll want to try their homemade food. They source all their ingredients locally to create a hearty international menu serving everything from Whitby Breaded Scampi and Bramhope Rump Steak to fajitas, salads and burgers.
The Thornhill Arms, 18 Town Gate, Calverley, Pudsey, West Yorkshire, LS28 5NF.
The oldest pub in Menston, The Fox is still going strong after more than 200 years. The old school facade makes way for a modern look inside, where you’ll find a bar stocked with the best ales, spirits and wines. To go alongside it, there’s a tempting food menu, with everything from Wagyu Burgers to Roasted Pork Belly with Seared Scallops and Roasted Butternut Squash & Sweet Potato Tart. There’s a little something for everyone to be enjoyed in this cosy village pub.
The Fox, 129 Bradford Road, Menston, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 6EB.
The Queen o’ t’ owd Thatch
You’ll struggle to find a pub name that screams Yorkshire like The Queen o’ t’ owd Thatch. It has a traditional rustic decor with modern touches, and that blend of old and new is mirrored in their food offering. Featuring locally sourced ingredients from the likes of Sykes House Farm, you can enjoy a menu of dishes including Pheasant with Chestnut and Cranberry Stuffing or Celeriac Steak with Onion Bhajis. Top it off with one of their local real ales or a nice glass of wine.
The Queen o’ t’ owd Thatch, 101 High Street, South Milford, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS25 5AQ.
The Cow and Calf
Set in the picturesque surroundings of Ilkley Moor, The Cow and Calf is one of the best gastropubs in Yorkshire. Expect a cosy, country pub-style venue with open fires, tiled floors and dark-wood furnishings. The food menu is top drawer. Think hearty pub classics done well, like Steak and Ale Pie, Hunter’s Chicken and Handmade Lobster Fishcakes. Need a few drinks? Choose from a range of local ales and craft beers – if you have too many, you can always stay the night.
The Cow and Calf, Hangingstone Road, Ilkley, West Yorkshire, LS29 8BT.
At the Northern tip of Leeds city centre, The Reliance puts its own modern spin on the traditional gastropub concept. Its vintage furniture and relaxed atmosphere have made it a popular venue, especially with the quality drinks behind the bar, but it’s the dining room that seals the deal. Tuck into everything from Shetland Mussels with Leek, Apple and Cider to Toulouse Sausage with Braised Lentils and Herb Crumb or Beetroot Tarte Tatin with Berkswell Cheese and Watercress. It’s easy to see why it’s become a favourite.
The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
Out in the Yorkshire countryside
These five gastropubs are all just a little bit outside of Leeds, but they’re certainly worth the extra effort.
The Shibden Mill Inn
At the heart of the picturesque Shibden Valley, the 17th century Shibden Mill Inn is a hidden gem you’ll want to return to again and again. With roaring fires inside and the pretty Red Beck stream outside, it’s quite the setting – and the food and drink offering backs that up. You can tuck into dishes like Venison Loin with shank bonbon, cocoa butter fondants, Jerusalem artichokes and malt puree in their main restaurant. But, if steak is your thing, head to The Grill Room, where they cook up amazing cuts on their state-of-the-art Kopa Charcoal Grill. Follow it up with a local ale or something from their extensive wine list – and if you need to stay over, they have 11 five-star bedrooms for you to choose from.
The Shibden Mill Inn, Shibden Mill Fold, Halifax, West Yorkshire, HX3 7UL.
The Bull at Broughton
Just outside of Skipton, The Bull at Broughton is the perfect destination if you’re looking for quality food and drink at a welcoming pub on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Their foodie philosophy is about making the most of the finest local produce, which is why they’re one of the best gastropubs in the region. There’s plenty of choice on the menu, and traditional dishes like Steak and Hetton Ale Pie rubs shoulders with modern creations like their Crispy Harissa Lamb and Pheasant Kiev. They also have a huge wine list to pore over, as well as an impressive selection of real ales and cocktails.
The Bull at Broughton, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 3AE.
The Devonshire Arms
Why not make a day of it? Head out to the Bolton Abbey estate where you can discover historic monastic ruins, stunning Yorkshire scenery and one of the best gastropubs in the county. The Devonshire Arms is home to two eateries – the Burlington, a fine dining restaurant that once held a Michelin Star, and the Brasserie, a gastropub that’s just as worthy of your time. The latter is what we’re interested in today, as it combines a relaxed atmosphere with contemporary art and colourful decor to create a lovely place to eat. And of course, the food is great too – think Beef Cheek with pomme puree, baby onions and pancetta alongside their A Taste of the Dales sharing platter, washed down with quality tipples.
The Devonshire Arms Hotel, Bolton Abbey Estate, Skipton, North Yorkshire, BD23 6AJ.
The General Tarleton
One of North Yorkshire’s most heralded gastropubs, The General Tarleton has a touch of elegance to it, something that’s no doubt helped by its five AA star rating. The food offering is modern, local and seasonal, with dishes like Slow Braised Belly Pork, Confit Shoulder of Dales Lamb and Seafood Thermidor helping to put them on the map when it comes to quality dining. They’ve also got a wine list to die for and their own separate cocktail bar to add a special touch to your meal.
The General Tarleton, Boroughbridge Road, Ferrensby, Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, HG5 0PZ.
The Fountaine Inn
A day out in the Yorkshire Dales isn’t complete without a trip to The Fountaine Inn. One of the most picturesque pubs in the region, it’s surrounded by beautiful countryside, and inside it’s a cosy gastropub with log fires and low ceilings. Tuck into the likes of Slow Braised Lamb Shank, Reggie’s Half Roasted Duck and the Mixed Fish Stew, with your pick of local ales and quality wines. Don’t want to leave? It doubles as a hotel, so you can stay a night or two.
The Fountaine Inn, Linton-In-Craven, North Yorkshire, BD23 5HJ.
The Punch Bowl Inn
The Punch Bowl Inn is full of character details that date back to the 16th century, with wooden beams, roaring fires and six different rooms for you to take a pew in. It’s a lovely setting for a bite to eat and their menu of local, seasonal produce ticks a lot of boxes. You can tuck into the likes of Herb-baked North Sea Hake, Beer-braised Featherblade of Beef and Sage and Chestnut Gnocchi, all while making the most of their local ales, tempting cocktails and a hefty wine list.
The Punch Bowl Inn, Marton-cum-Grafton, York, North Yorkshire, YO51 9QY.Cover image credit: © Copyright Leeds-List 2018 by Aimee Stevens