I was in Leeds yesterday and had an hour or two to myself. I was being picked up at the Parish Church, so the choice of venue was simple, my old haunt when I worked in Leeds, the Palace. It was lunchtime, the pub was heaving. It sells around ten beers on handpump and inexpensive, cheap and cheerful food, a good selection of wines by the glass or bottle at prices that don't make you weep and a reasonable choice of lagers including Staropramen. It is bright and welcoming, with large windows and is a nice place to be in.
I enjoyed my beers and lapped up the pleasant atmosphere for an hour before nipping across to the magnificent Leeds Market which used to be my lunch break diversion from work. I had though, one other pub in mind. The Duck and Drake was one of the main multi choice pubs when this was less common. I used to drink there often and can remember some fine pints there. Always a bit rougher and readier than the Palace, it nonetheless was a fine place to enjoy good cask ale in a genuine old fashioned atmosphere. I had half an hour left, so nipped in. Two hefty smokers blocked my way, moving reluctantly aside. Inside there was no-one behind the bar and a solitary customer reading a Daily Mirror. It looked forlorn, down at heel and had obviously seen much better days. I hesitated then fled. Back in the Palace I reflected that no wonder it isn't in the Good Beer Guide. I checked when I got home. It has not been in since 2007. Seems the out of touch CAMRA has got this one right.
As far as I know, the Duck and Drake is operated by Scottish and Newcastle Pub Enterprises. The Palace has now been placed in the ever expanding Nicolson's chain.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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