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Colleen Holiday presents the Pub of the Year 2016 plaque to Russell and Rosie East outside the Talbot Arms, Settle, May 2016Branch chair Colleen Holiday presents Russell and Rosie East with Pub of the Year Summer 2016 at the Talbot Arms, Settle, May 2016

Improved Pub Awards - 2016

Every now and then Keighley & Craven branch of CAMRA present an “Improved Pub Award” to an establishment in the branch area to give special recognition for an increase in the range and quality of cask-conditioned ales on sale. On Tuesday 12th April 2016, one such award was presented to the Red Lion, Silsden.

The Red Lion regains its roar

The Red Lion, Silsden. Keighley and Craven CAMRA Improved Pub award April 2016Half way along Silsden main street, on the left as you head towards Addingham, is an inconspicuous pub, the Red Lion. Around three years ago, it was owned by a pub company and was closed. The freehold was then bought by Paul Reid, and the pub quickly re-opened with new tenants, but trade did not take off, real ale was only occasionally available and last summer the lease was surrendered. Taking advantage of this, the Reid family hatched a new plan: the pub was extensively refurbished and on August Bank Holiday weekend 2015 it re-opened, run by Paul‘s son, Luke.

Luke is keen on his beers, so much so that in the past he has dabbled in commercial brewing. When the pub recommenced trading, cask beer was to the fore and three real ales were on the bar. Initial offerings came from local breweries Bridgehouse, Goose Eye and Saltaire and their consistent quality meant that, as a branch, we soon signed the Red Lion up to our LocAle scheme. As trade has increased, a fourth pump has appeared, and beers from the above three breweries are interspersed with ales from other local breweries and occasionally from breweries further afield - Maxim brewery in Sunderland being a recent example. Such a transformation in such a short time - the Red Lion clearly merited an “Improved Pub” award.

The Red Lion, Silsden. Keighley and Craven CAMRA Improved Pub award April 2016The quality of the beer is matched by the welcome and vibrant yet comfortable atmosphere. Decorated in a contemporary fashion, the main bar area is stone-flagged and, when needs be, is warmed by a glowing multi-fuel stove, set in a huge fireplace. The cosy separate snug has wooden flooring and a hatch to the bar. In addition there is a games room upstairs (stairs to the left of the fireplace) offering pool and darts, and perhaps in future, pinball. At the side is a small outdoor drinking/smoking area in a sheltered cobbled courtyard. Luke is assisted by Megan, his partner, and a good team of staff including Julie (his mother) and Sarah, Laura, Steph and Jonny. With work on-going to make further improvements to the building (mainly the staff accommodation at the moment), Paul is also often around, making it a real family venture. There is also occasional live music, disco and karaoke - check Facebook for details. The pub celebrated winning the Improved Pub award with a live band, Something for the Weekend, accompanied by a fantastic buffet!

The family have big plans for the future of the pub: Off the courtyard is a small traditional stable which might be converted into another drinking area. Behind the pub is a small garden area that, although currently inaccessible, might be brought back into use. And Luke would love to dust off his brewing license and kit and start producing beer on the premises. The space has been allocated, it just needs time....

The Red Lion is well worth visitng and is open 11.30-11.30 Sun-Thu; 11.30-1 am Fri and Sat.

The Red Lion, 47, Kirkgate, Silsden KEIGHLEY BD20 0AQ. Tel: 01535 930884. Keep up to date with the Red Lion on WhatPub and/or the Red Lion on Facebook.

(We would like to thank Luke, Megan, Paul and Julie for their hospitatlity at the presentation - it was a great do!)

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