Campaign for Real Ale

Campaign for Real Ale

News from the Branch


Pub news

After a period of closure, the Rose & Crown, Hoylandswaine reopened in April under new management. The interior was given a stylish makeover back in 2018 but has been further refurbished and looks very smart indeed with a decorative scheme mainly in shades of blue. On the real ale front, Bradfield Farmers Blonde is a fixture with a second pump dispensing the likes of Black Sheep Bitter and Taylors Boltmaker. The menu offers six main and six grill options plus starters, sides and desserts, all reasonably priced.

The freehold of the Fox & Hounds, Shafton is on the market for £325k. The pub remained open at the time of writing.

Also up for grabs, at £650k, is the Milton Arms, Elsecar. It was extensively (and excellently) renovated by True North Brewery when they bought it a few years back; they also own the Crown & Anchor, Barugh Green

New tenants, Rachel and Ady, took over the Cock, Birdwell at the end of March. On a recent visit, the three handpulled ales were Tetley Bitter, Theakstons Best Bitter and Marstons Wainwright. Both traditional and Indian/Bangladeshi food is available, the latter on Wednesday to Saturday evenings. It has been sampled by the BAR and pronounced to be totally delicious and astonishingly good value.

We were sorry to hear that Karen Jubb has left the Bridge, Thurgoland and at the time of writing it was closed. However, owners Stonegate have submitted a licensing application for live music until 11.30pm each day and recorded music up to 1pm so something is clearly afoot.

A credible source told us that the Silkstone Inn, Barnsley had been sold – but the For Sale sign is still on the wall and it continues to operate very much as a Wetherspoons pub.

The Moulders Arms, Summer Street, Barnsley no longer sells real ale on a regular basis.

A fair number of pubs are looking for new tenants or managers. Star Pubs & Bars continue to seek someone to run the Ship Inn, Worsborough, now being offered on their Just Add Talent franchising arrangement with ingoing costs of just £4000. Also on their books are the Junction Wombwell and Chambers on Peel Square Barnsley. Punch want tenants for the Albion, Hemingfield and Stonegate likewise for the Tom Treddlehoyle, Pogmoor and Star, Cudworth. Bells Bar & Kitchen, Silkstone, where the freehold was previously for sale, is now offered by Fleurets on a To Let basis.

The Silkstone Inn in Barnsley has been sold by owners JD Wetherspoon. Also in Barnsley the Courthouse on Regent Street is no longer selling cask ale.

The second half of 2022 saw a flurry of new bar openings in Barnsley town centre, seemingly flying in the face of all the doom and gloom surrounding the licensed trade. Two are associated with the Glass Works development (with more to follow) and another three are close together in the Church Street area.

Occupying one of the new buildings looking out onto the impressive Glass Works Square, the Salt House proclaims itself to be the town’s ‘newest immersive bar & restaurant containing creative cocktail mixolo’, whatever that all means. The main bar is a large, high-ceilinged rectangular room with a big tiled central bar and impressive tall mirrored bar back. Exposed pipes and gantries hang from the ceiling in the fashionable ‘industrial chic’ style and artificial foliage abounds, including a tree. Behind the bar is a more secluded area and, above it up steps, is a similarly furnished space overlooking the main bar. There’s a large outdoor seating area for when the weather is kind. No real ale and the most interesting keg on offer is the hazy/hoppy, predictably pricey, Jute IPA from Salt Brewery. Extensive and separate breakfast, lunch and evening menus are available.

In the same ownership (True Pub Holdings) is Black + White in the nearby market building and also with an outdoor area that looks diagonally onto the Square. This is primarily a wine bar but also sells four (expensive) craft keg beers – Jute IPA again, an unnamed Vocation Beer (thought to be Heart & Soul), Madri and, most interestingly, Ippon from the Woodlands brewery of Penistone. The single room is (they say) ‘reminiscent of Old Italy’, which is pushing it a bit. It has a marble-topped counter, with a striking arch feature behind, walls covered with a mix of walnut panelling, tall curtains and ‘venetian plaster’, a couple of semi-circular padded bench seats with circular tables, more seats ranged round a barrel and a free-standing small counter. On the food side, a choice of charcuterie ‘grazing boards’ is offered.

Also soon to materialise on the Square is The Botanist bar and restaurant. This will be the 24th in this chain which also has representatives in Sheffield and Leeds. When the latter first opened, it had a fine range of real ales but the business now seems to have abandoned handpumps, though craft beers are available. At the time of writing, planning permission for the signage was still awaited but fitting out was in progress and opening was scheduled for mid-February.

Moving along to Church Street, we first come to the Old Bank, the imaginatively-named conversion of the former Royal Bank of Scotland. Here, the large main bar sports a dark blue and gold colour scheme and a most attractive ceiling with a circular ‘cloud’ feature. A large tree is painted on one wall. Downstairs, a couple of small drinking spaces occupy the former bank vaults. None of the beers on tap are of any interest to the discerning drinker but there’s a half-decent selection of bottles, mostly from the Marstons stable.

Just round the corner of Regent Street, Old Tailors is a micro-bar it what was most recently the record shop now co-located with Spiral City in the Arcade; it had, though, from 1888 to 1920 been Albert Ranshaw’s tailors, hence the name. The tiny interior is minimalist but stylish, with pale green walls, a chunky wooden counter, a couple of shelves and a few small tables. Beavertown Neck Oil is on tap, albeit not at a Barnsley price. Quiz and theme nights are promised.

Back on Church Street, another former bank has been split into several units, in one of which is AJ’s Lounge Bar. Again, we have a large single room with a bar counter at an angle in one corner and a sort of open-plan snug at the back. The décor features a mauve and cream colour scheme, attractive hanging lights and flashing coloured lighting on the walls. It’s only open at weekends, with live music most nights. The only beer of any interest is (reasonably priced) Lagunitas Daytime IPA.

Another new bar can be found in Cudworth. Williams Bar, in the former Co-op building on Barnsley Road, is ‘bringing you quality cocktails’ but the keg John Smiths is very expensive for the area. Live music on Sundays and stone-baked pizzas until 8.30pm.

Back in Barnsley, a number of pubs have been refurbished, including two owned by the Blackrose pub company. First up is the White Bear on Church Street which reopened in April 2022 after a major makeover. The low-ceilinged front area now has an L-shaped layout, split up by low screens and slight changes of level. Decor is predominantly dark grey but offset on two walls by narrow wooden slats and on one wall by vivid floral wallpaper. Steps at the back lead down to the ‘Student Area’ which has a pool table and more of a public bar feel. This in turn accesses ‘The Yard’, semi-open to the street and occupying a former hairdresser’s premises. Two real ales are theoretically available but one, such as Acorn Blonde, is more likely and sometimes you’ll be out of luck altogether. Beavertown Neck Oil is on keg and there’s a big selection of local canned craft ales.

The other Blackrose pub is the Courthouse at the bottom end of Regent Street. The refurb here has been to a high standard, especially in the ‘lounge’ area to the left of the front entrance with its very attractive wallpaper and framed photos of old Barnsley. Facing the bar is a large split-level drinking area whilst tucked round the back is a games room dominated by a pool table. The building was once part of Barnsley Courthouse railway station and was first converted to a pub by Wetherspoons – remarkably, the original ‘Spoons signage survives on the toilet doors. Real ale had been absent here for many years but Theakstons Best Bitter and Acorn Barnsley Bitter now alternate on a weekly basis.

Temple of Muses opened in Grahams Orchard in 2018, occupying the former Browne’s Bar premises. It started off selling up to four real ales but they had all disappeared by the time the place closed. Come November 2022, it re-emerged as Eaden’s Bar, owned by the family of that name, including Nicky, the renowned former Barnsley FC player. The downstairs bar has been tastefully redecorated in mostly shades of grey. In front of the bar is a large stand-up area with seating to one side and in the slightly-raised area at the back. Three TV screens mainly show sport. Upstairs is a function room which hosts live music at weekends and also accesses a roof terrace with views of the town hall. The handpumps dispense Sharp’s Doom Bar and Bradfield Farmers Blonde.

A new micropub, the Tarn End Tipple, situated at the town end of Racecommon Road, is due to open at the end of February. It’s in the same ownership as the excellent Ken’s Keg & Cask in Cudworth. Full report next time.

Planning permission has been granted for a new micropub on Redbrook Road, Gawber. It will occupy the former florists near the Post Office and, according to its management plan, its purpose is ‘to provide a safe and friendly environment for customers to meet and chat while enjoying locally sourced craft beers and gins with no disruption to local residents’ – which all sounds very good.

Just before Christmas, the Thurnscoe Tap opened in Station Road, Thurnscoe, occupying the former premises of the Rendezvous cafe. Although it describes itself as a micropub, the main bar is actually a decent size – it’s on two levels with large windows to the street and tasteful décor, including imaginative use of reclaimed floorboards on parts of the walls. Upstairs is a games room with a pool table. Sadly, there’s no real ale, apparently because the (upstairs) cellar isn’t big enough to accommodate it. Keg Beavertown Neck Oil is available at £4 a pint.

Wetherspoons have put more than thirty of their pubs up for sale, mostly in towns that currently have two of their outlets – and Barnsley, unfortunately, is one of them. Offers in the region of £400k for the freehold of the Silkstone in Market Street are therefore being invited. ‘Spoons have said that all the pubs concerned will stay open up and until they are sold.

The Rusty Dudley, Goldthorpe is on the market for £225k. We hear rumours that the owners of an excellent free house in the Branch area are interested and would rename it the Phoenix if successful.

Fleurets are asking £450k for the freehold of Bells Bar & Kitchen (the former Ring O’Bells), Silkstone.

Various pub companies have local pubs up for grabs. Stonegate are advertising a free of tie tenancy at the Rose & Crown, Hoylandswaine and a Craft Union franchise agreement at the Mount, Barnsley. Star Pubs & Bars have had two tenancies on the market for absolutely ages – the Ship Inn, Worsbrough and the Junction, Brampton. In both cases ‘large investment’ is supposedly planned which in the case of the latter will ‘reposition the pub from a restaurant to a community pub that serves great food’. Meanwhile, Punch seek new tenants for the Ash Inn, Wombwell, the Cock, Birdwell and the New Inn, Gawber whilst Admiral have the tenancy of the Thornely Arms, Dodworth on the market.

The long-closed Hoyle Mill Inn on Pontefract Road, Barnsley is no more. Planning permission has been granted to convert it into a community-based mental health recovery centre.

Dodworth Miners Welfare Sports & Social Club now has a full licence for its Tappers Bar so you don’t now need to be a member to enjoy its facilities.

Whitefaced Brewery of Penistone has been renamed as Woodland Brewing and has moved from the back of the Penistone Tap to separate, and much larger, premises nearby. Most production still goes to the Tap itself though, as noted above, they supply a beer to the new Black + White bar in Barnsley. The Branch Tasting Panel recently sampled a couple of their beers on handpull at the Tap – Way Back, a 5.1% American pale ale and Sanderson Gold, a more mainstream 4.1% golden ale. Relocation of the brewery means that the drinking area at the Tap has more than doubled.

At nearby Thurlstone, the on-site Kibble Brewery is still going strong at the Crystal Palace. You can usually find up to four of their beers on the bar with the regulars being Kent Thin Pale and Barnsley Bed Bitter, both named after coal seems and both very good. Brewer Alistair comes up with a stream of interesting one-offs to occupy the other pumps.

We were desperately sorry to hear that Peter Geeves, who founded Geeves Brewery in 2011, passed away recently. Peter, along with his son Harry, brewed superb ales down in Stairfoot and many of us have especially fond memories of the powerfully hoppy Clear Cut, one of the all-time great supping bitters. Peter sold the brewery in 2021 and the new owners have never reopened it, despite promising great things.

The doors have closed permanenetly at Maison Du Biere (Barnsley) on Castlereagh Street. The bar and bottle shop closed on Septemeber 17th. Maison Du Biere (Elsecar) remains open and is trading well

Previously unreported in the BAR, our branch magazine is the fact that Bottle & Co beer shop in Mapplewell now has a Tap Room so you can drink their excellent beers on the spot. The online store is temporarily closed whilst a new one is being developed. Jay is forming a homebrew club – more at

Last Autumn, Stuart and Carol Thompson retired from Old No.7, Barnsley, having won a host of CAMRA awards over the years they were at the helm. Stepping into their shoes are Debs and Darren who many will remember from their stint at the nearby (and erstwhile) Bar Ruelle. They subsequently took on the Taphouse Bar in Kelham Island, Sheffield which their son Ryan is continuing to run. Although this is no longer an Acorn-owned pub, their beers will still appear alongside a wide range of ales from all over the country. Great to see this iconic pub in such good hands.

The Picturehouse Tap in Goldthorpe has closed. This micropub opened in late 2016 and was the only real ale outlet in town until the handpumps were removed during 2019. Fortunately, the excellent Corner Tap has since come along to irrigate what had become a cask beer desert again.

Also in Goldthorpe, the long-closed Horse & Groom has been demolished as part of a £23m regeneration scheme for the town.

In Great Houghton the Houghton Arms is closed with the lease up for grabs. On a happier note, the Sandhill Tavern is selling a rotating guest ale.

The Fitzwilliam, Elsecar is also closed – what the future holds remains to be seen.

The Brierley Club is reported as currently closed. It has a beer tie to Sam Smiths (see separate article) so that might have something to do with it.

Finally, on the closure front, the Knave & Kestrel micropub in Hoyland, which only opened in 2017, never reopened after the first pandemic lockdown and we understand the business has closed. No planning application has been submitted, however, to change the use of the building from a pub to something else.

The Cross Keys, Darfield is reported to be doing very well and selling real ale again.

A full licence application has been submitted by AJS3 Ltd for part of the former bank premises at 23 Church Street Barnsley.

Another licensing application has been made by Tipsy Toad Hospitality Co Ltd for 'Williams' at 214-216 Barnsley Road, Cudworth. Also, Dodworth Central Social Club in Station Road has applied for a full premises licence.

Wellington Street in Barnsley is now a real ale-free zone with both Chennels and the Shakespeare having removed their handpumps.

A planning application is in for alterations at the White Bear (no real ale) in Market Hill, Barnsley – this would see the former hairdressers round the corner in Royal Street incorporated back into the pub to form a semi-open seating area.

At the Oaks Working Mens' Club in Ardsley, a rotating cask ale is supplemented by a good range of canned craft beers from the likes of SALT.

The Anvil Arms, Darton is offering brewery trips every month.

Yeastie Boys started out as a New Zealand brewery but the beers you see over here are contract brewed at a variety of British breweries. Though not real ale, these are seriously good beers and can be found in several Barnsley bars that would never contemplate installing handpumps e.g. the Garrison, Hill 15 and Opium.