If you missed Oktoberfest this year, then don’t panic. We’ve put together a list of 20 brilliant northern pubs that could give the Munich-based beer fest a run for its money. Got your pint glass ready? Here we go…
If you’re looking for a unique setting for some serious beer appreciation, The Three Pigeons is perfect. The building is Grade II listed and has been sympathetically refurbished to make the most of its glamorous 1930s Art Deco style. You’ll find the classic Osset Brewery beers here such as the pale session ale Yorkshire Blonde as well as seasonal beers to surprise you throughout the year.
Get off the train in Sheffield and you’ll be just a few steps away from the celebrated Sheffield Tap pub. Built right on the platform, it harks back to the golden age of the railways with sumptuous leather seating, high-corniced ceilings and most importantly, a great selection of beers; they even brew their own on the premises. Its friendly and laid back atmosphere makes it a top spot to relax.
This 17th-century inn in the Yorkshire Dales is your traditional Yorkshire pub. You’ll find popular brews like Black Sheep (created in nearby Masham) in pride of place on the bar. Need something to soak up the ale? The classic menu includes tasty treats such as slow-cooked belly pork in cider and sweet syrup sponge. But back to the beer: there are plans to revive the onsite Littondale microbrewery in the very near future, so keep your eyes peeled.
Onto another historical public house, this time in Appletreewick near the charming North Yorkshire village of Skipton. The 16th-century Craven Arms is named after Sir William Craven – better known as Dick Whittington, Mayor of London. Low ceilings, roaring log fires and original gas lamps make for a seriously cosy pub atmosphere, ideal for appreciating the local ales on offer. Visiting in the summer? The sweeping, verdant dales and fields make this one of the finest views from a beer garden anywhere in England.
At any one time, you’ll find the Swettenham Arms bar well-stocked with ales including Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Kodiak Gold from the Beartown Brewery. Wash your pint down with some of the glorious food on offer here, crafted by a talented chef using fresh, local produce. Their events calendar is jam-packed too, so why not time your visit to experience a Frank Sinatra tribute act or their Bonfire Night barbecue?
The Crown is a friendly and welcoming pub offering everything you need: home-cooked food, a beautiful beer garden and, most importantly, award-winning cask ales. It’s located on Walney Island (where the ship workers used to live) which is connected to the southern tip of Cumbria by the Jubilee Bridge in Barrow-in-Furness. As you polish off your pint, you can take in some local history too.
Nestled in the heart of the Lakes is Ambleside: a hill walker’s haven and home to the cosy Golden Rule pub. It features renowned Robinsons ales including the favourite Dizzy Blonde; this bright and crisp ale started out as a seasonal summer beer but proved so popular it’s now a permanent feature. The Golden Rule is the perfect place for a pitstop after a walk out on the fells.
This J D Wetherspoon pub is modern inside and out, with contemporary chandelier lighting at the bar and throughout the spacious seating areas. It’s a certainty that you’ll find a decent spread of real ales on the pumps including the crowd favourite, Sharp’s Doom Bar as well as the rich and fruity Abbot Ale. They’re extending their range of craft beers and lagers too, so head to the Wicket Gate next time you’re in the North East.
Is there any better sight than a line of polished wooden handles, waiting to dispense a pint for your pleasure? Stop by the Port St Beer House and that’s just what you’ll find. It’s the headquarters of beer brewing enthusiasts who bring together home brews and obscure ales from microbreweries all over the country. You’re sure to discover a new favourite but if you’re in for the long haul, their All Day IPA session ale is ideal.
Welcome to the Eagle + Child, a warm and inviting pub in the South Pennines. The pub works with the local Thwaites brewery to offer tipples to delight the locals including the popular Wainwright and legendary Lancaster Bomber. While you’re here, treat yourself to their “top notch grub” too, created by Great British Menu contender, Eve Townson.
One visit to Freemasons at Wiswell and you’ll understand how it achieved the top spot in the 2016 Good Food Guide’s top 50 pubs. Refined food, friendly staff and fine ales await you, all in the ambience of a well-to-do country pub. Head to the bar and you’ll see beers from breweries including Tirril and Bank Top to wash down whatever you choose from the inspiring menu.
Just one look at this pub and you’re expecting something special: spotlit, whitewashed walls outside and elegantly comfortable decor inside. The pub has its own ale,1814, brewed by Thwaites but you can also sample Moorhouse’s Brewery’s Pride of Pendle and Blonde Witch. Head chef Ian Moss heads up the menu, which is designed to make the most of local Lancashire fare.
The pretty village of Clifton lies on the edge of the Lake District National Park and The George and Dragon is its 18th-century coaching inn. Here you can try local Cumberland ales and taste produce grown and reared on the surrounding estate. The Lowther family has lived on the land since the early 1500s and now runs the pub as well as neighbouring Lowther Castle and Askham Hall.
Winter at Dipton Mill Inn is all about the roaring log fire, snug low-ceilinged rooms and warming ales that are brewed on site. Visiting in summer? Take a light, seasonal ale out into the beautiful beer garden and sit by the mill stream. It is indeed “everything a country pub should be” and you’ll find it about five minutes from Hexham on the north eastern tip of the Pennines.
This is a country inn with a contemporary feel and serves up local cask ales from the nearby Bowland Brewery (some of their creations include the bestselling Hen Harrier and the rich Cromwell Stout). Located in Lancashire’s lush Ribble Valley, the surroundings provide much of the produce for their seasonally inspired menus.
This is another building in our list which has Grade II listed status: this one is a 19th-century jailhouse and police station (the space is still divided into ‘cells’). Its life as a real ale pub and vibrant city-centre venue began in 2011. If you decide to visit, don’t miss “The Governor”, an ale by Marco Pierre White, brewed by local Manchester firm J W Lees.
You’re sure to receive a local’s welcome when you visit the White Horse in Baston. They are geared up for beer drinkers with a happy hour deal on draught beers (hooray!) with 30p off your pint on weeknights from 5pm – 7pm. And when the sun shines, the patio is the perfect spot to enjoy a pint or two.
There’s something special about the dark, oak panels and inglenook fireplaces of Ye Olde White Harte. You’ll find beers from Theakstons and Caledonian breweries and they rotate their guest ales to so there will always be something to surprise you. While you’re there, don’t miss the resident skull (discovered under the staircase).
The Tyne Bar has been setting the Newcastle pub scene trend since it opened in 1994. It’s the only spot in the city where you can find Wylam brewery’s ales including Angel, Gold Tankard and Magic. If you like a craft lager, there’s Erdinger Weissbier on tap as well as beers from around the world. Live music finishes this place off a treat.
Marble Beers have four pubs in Manchester and the Marble Arch was their first. It’s a grade II listed building with high ceilings and 11 hand pulls to serve up the perfect pint. Their experimental brews include speciality beers from Japanese Yuzu IPA to the 10.4% ABV knock-out, Imperial Russian Stout. The Marble Arch team sum it up best themselves: “We feel a good ale house should have low music and high spirits”. I couldn’t agree more.