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Two town-centre pubs - Autumn 2012

This issue highlights, as usual, two of the pubs in the Keighley and Craven branch area that always sell locally brewed real ale: this time we look at one pub in each of our two main towns.

The Castle Inn, Skipton

At the top of Skipton High Street next to the church and the medieval castle is, not surprisingly, a pub called the Castle Inn. Dating from the late 18th century, the Castle is an imposing three-story, stone-built, Grade 2 listed building with a two-story, white-washed former stables attached. It has a single bar with three distinct drinking areas. To the right of the bar there are a few tables and a television for sporting events. The main seating area is directly opposite the bar and a separate room to the left serves as a lounge. The walls are decorated with many brewery mirrors, photos of old Skipton and local sporting teams. A very busy pub, the Castle is extremely popular with locals, but also attracts many of the visitors to Skipton, with the sunny seating area at the front of the building a big draw.

Run by landlord Calvin in an efficient and convivial manner, the Castle offers LocAle beers Best Bitter, Lightfoot and Old Peculier all from Theakston‘s Brewery. There are three other hand pumps offering changing guest beers such as Butcombe Blond, Deuchars IPA and Theakston seasonal ales like Crime of Passion. When the pub is very busy the friendly barmaids will take drink orders directly from your table.

Darts and dominos are very popular; the Castle is one of the few pubs in Skipton still hosting traditional games. Food is served lunchtimes and evenings and the Castle is listed in the 2012 Welcome to Yorkshire Delicious Ale Trail brochure. A friendly, lively place for a pint and a chat and certainly worth a visit the next time you‘re in Skipton, the Castle has all-day opening and you can follow them on Facebook.

The Castle Inn, 2 Mill Bridge, Skipton, BD23 1NJ. Tel: 01756 796304

Percy Vear‘s Real Ale House

Moving along the Aire valley to Keighley and at the edge of the town centre on the corner of South and Aireworth Streets sits a small pub previously called the Friendly Inn. Owned by Timothy Taylor since 1887, it has recently been purchased by Keith and Tracey Vear and renamed in honour of Keith‘s grandfather Herman Vear, a well-known Keighley boxer of the 1920s and 30s. Herman fought under the name of Percy Vear and the pub has been named Percy Vear‘s Real Ale House. Percy Vear‘s is small but perfectly formed. Since taking it on Keith and Tracey have renovated the main bar area whilst remaining open to the public. It is now bright and airy with newly plastered walls, new furniture and fresh carpeting. Part of the tiny back room has been converted into a ladies toilet, which was previously at the top of some very steep stairs! There are two televisions for sports and special events as well as a high-tech music system. The wood-burning stove cheers you on a gloomy winter‘s day or possibly a gloomy summer‘s day, the way the weather is going this year. The bar boasts five hand pumps offering LocAle beers Saltaire Blond, Copper Dragon Best Bitter, Theakston Best Bitter, John Smith‘s Cask and a house beer called Percy‘s Bitter which is from Empire brewery. The beers are session brews with the aim to keep prices low. All are £2.30.

Although no longer called the Friendly, Percy Vear‘s is definitely a friendly place to visit. You can engage in good banter with both the bar staff and the regulars. Open throughout the day and traditionally a local‘s local, with an extended range of real ales, Percy‘s has begun to entice new clientele through its doors. For more details on what‘s happening follow Percy Vear‘s on Facebook.

Percy Vear‘s Real Ale House, 2 Aireworth Street, Keighley BD21 1NS. Tel: 07970 475725

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