When visiting England, there is nothing more fun than an old-fashioned British pub crawl… and if you’re going to do one (and you should), the best place to do it is in Yorkshire, which has pubs that reek of ambiance and history and have been serving the public for hundreds of years.
Be sure to get a driver, so there are no issues getting home, but — bonus! — all of these pubs are also inns, just in case you need a nap.
We knew from the start that this was going to be a long day. (All photos by ABA crew)
I decided to start my pub crawl in Haworth, home of the Brontë sisters in the mid-19th century. Charlotte, Emily and Anne, the three daughters of the village parson, were immensely talented writers, best known for Wuthering Heights (Emily), Jane Eyre (Charlotte), and Emma (Charlotte). They originally wrote under male pen names, as Currer, Ellis and Acton Bell, but won such fame that they were finally able to publish under their own names. Their unfortunate brother, Branwell, was also said to be a talented artist, but he was much overshadowed by his sisters’ fame. He resorted to drinking and drugging his way through life before dying of (severe) alcoholism at the ripe old age of 31.
So, after visiting the Brontë house, strolling across the moors that inspired the sisters’ books, make your first stop:
1. The Black Bull, Haworth
119 Main St., Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 8DP, United Kingdom
This is the pub where Branwell drank himself to death. In a lovely macabre English twist, they have kept his favorite stool in perfect condition. The pub is conveniently located across the street from the village apothecary, where Branwel would get his opium before stumbling back across to the bar.
It doesn’t get more authentic than this.
Sun Street, Haworth, Keighley, West Yorkshire, BD22 8BP, United Kingdom
Located in one of the oldest buildings in the village, Haworth Old Hall has been standing since the 16th century. These days it’s not just a pub, it’s a gastro pub, with locally sourced farm-to-table food. It also has a ghost that wanders around after dark. Not kidding. Just ask Alan, the manager — he’s seen her.
3, The Masons Arms
Marton Road, Gargrave, North Yorkshire, BD23 3NL, U.K.
Hop in your (chauffeur-driven) car/cab and toddle off to the Masons Arms in Gargrave. Say hello to the owner/barman John for me, and have a taste test of all the British ales. My personal favorite is something called a Black Velvet — half Guinness and half cider. Make sure you stop by for Quiz Night (as a true Jeopardy buff/weirdo, this was a must for me) and try the homemade pork rinds. Then bring some back for me. I still salivate thinking of them.
4. The Foresters Arms
20 Main St., Grassington, North Yorkshire, BD23 5AA, U.K.
By this time, if you’re anything like me, you will have a serious buzz. And the perfect place to end the night is the Foresters Arms in Grassington. Packed with blue-collar locals, it reminded me of my hometown bars in Cincinnati, Ohio. Ask the bartender, Phil, to give you a pint-pulling lesson (it’s not as easy as it looks, and Phil swears it’s a true art) before hitting the pool table.
There is an art to pulling the perfect pint.
5. Go home. Seriously. It’s time.