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[ Bar, Eatery ]
Great North Road
Wentbridge, West Yorkshire
, WF8 3JP
United Kingdom (England)
phone: +44 (0)1977 620697
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4
Whilst back in the UK on vacation, a meeting with a couple (Roy & Alison) that I know well and who live in Pontefract, gave us all the opportunity to revisit this gem of a pub for a get together and a good old chin-wag to catch up on events past, is it really a year since we go drunk in Sheffield in 2003 LOL??.
The drive from Pontefract takes about 10 minutes, but takes you through some lovely countryside. The Blue Bell is the oldest remaining Pub located on the old Roman Great North Road, which is now only 1 mile away from its modern day replacement the M1-A1 Motorway, though you would never know that with the setting, for Wentbridge is a very quiet country village. We arrived by Taxi at about 7pm, when it was reasonably quiet (it opens around 5pm on weekdays).
Outside it has quite a modern day appearance, well kept and covered in Ivy and lots of flower boxes, etc. Located on a steep hill, the Blue Bell is a former Coaching Inn that was completely rebuilt in 1633 and partially rebuilt (though less reported) in 1974. It does however retain many original features and materials, and it appears that alterations and extensions over the years have led to its present day look.
As soon as you get in the front entrance way, you can see the original (very old) Inn sign mounted on the wall as you enter. Once inside a mish-mash arrangement of rooms, annexes and hidden booths with floors and ceilings on several elevations (the latter often very low), all hint at the fact that this is a Pub with some history to it. The main room is nicely furnished and located in front of the bar. Window benches run the curved edge of the Pubs main room, so all face the bar, and make for great people watching locations for those just drinking. Solid carved wooden tables and chairs, made by Mousey Thompson no less (look for the little mouse on each piece which is individually made), make up the rest of the furniture. There are a couple of other smaller rooms, but we decided to eat in the main room, because of the views from the large curved window at the front and the proximity to the Bar.
The major attraction here is the food, a great selection to choose from that caters for all, even finicky Vegetarians ;-). The quality of the food is known from far a field and, as such, the Bell can get very busy on night-times, especially during the latter part of the week and the summer, sometimes it is advisable to book in advance if you are eating. I opted for an old favorite; Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding with mashed Potatoes and Vegetables, nice enough but the initial lack of some decent Gravy and Horse-Radish was a bit of a let down, but soon remedied.
The beer range is limited but it does include a Guest beer, and all the Real Ales are always served in good condition. You have the usual brewery conditioned offerings from Guinness, Fosters Lager, et al. but thankfully there is a decent range of up to 4 Real Ales. Tetley Bitter is the regular big boy Real Ale, whilst Black Sheep Bitter is the first of two resident Real Ales from Independent Brewers. Most discerning drinkers though opt immediately for the other regular Independent; Timothy Taylors Landlord. Landlord is often served green in the Free Trade; it is a beer that needs time in the cellar to develop its nuances. The 4 Pints I had in here were all in excellent condition, supremely fruity with the killer Saaz bitterness in the astringent finish. There was one other Guest Beer, but I forget what it was, for I was happy to sup the Landlord all night.
A picturesque Pub set in a picturesque village, with some great views of the countryside and Brock Dale, the smallest of the Yorkshire Dales. Very popular on hot summer nights, and whilst it has its own Car Park, it is small and parking can be difficult during busy times.
A real gem. Or as my friend said, a great place to take the other half on the pretense of going for a nice meal in that special place - whilst really visiting for a great pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord. I had to promise not to tell his Wife that though!!!
Last Visit: Wednesday 14th April 2004
04-25-2004 01:22:55 |
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Blue Bell in Wentbridge, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom (England)