Huddersfield – The Sportsman

Going back a few weeks (my backlog shows no signs of going away, but I shall persist….) to when Tony and I had a little expedition around the pubs of Huddersfield. This is the Sportsman, a Good Beer Guide listed pub which is noted for its historic pub interior and its selection of beer.

There’s one main bar in the pub and there are numerous rooms leading off from it. The beer options are on the chalkboard at the end of the bar, neatly divided between keg and cask. There was also a printed menu of Belgian beers, which isn’t something that I really have much knowledge of, but Tony commented that it was a very decent selection.

I liked the little touches from the 1950s refurbishment, such as the bell for drinks service. Some pubs put systems like this back in over the last couple of years when table service had to be reintroduced.

We were seated in one of the side rooms and that’s half a pint of Plum Porter from Nailmaker Brewing Company who are from the rather lovely town of Barnsley. It was a very acceptable pint, one of the better porters that I’ve had.

Having visited Saltaire, I’m happy to try some of the brewery’s beers and this red ale had some interesting notes of fruit, but was otherwise perhaps a little unexceptional. Well kept and at the appropriate temperature though, so no issues there.

I don’t normally feel the need to take photos in toilets, but I like their heritage in this pub. In terms of the main part of the building, it would have been easy for a pub company to entirely knock out the internal walls of the pub, but enough has survived here to give it that historic feel, with some old plans of the building on the wall as well.

Reviews of the pub are nearly all positive, just with the occasional one like:

“Need to get this OTT OCD covid attitude rectified or it’ll go the way of the Corner. Soulless and sterile as things stand.”

It’s disappointing that customers don’t perhaps recognise just how difficult it is for pubs to try and please their wider customer base, but I thought they were doing a really good job with a combination of serving at the bar but also with the team member coming over to offer table service for our second drink. The pub responded politely to the review as well, all nicely done.

Anyway, this was a friendly and welcoming pub, with something of a community feel in all of the positive meanings of the word and I can see why it has won numerous CAMRA awards. Other customers were conversational and welcoming and the staff member was engaging and knowledgeable about the beer options. I liked the choice of beers as well, there was a range of styles on the extensive beer list. I’m glad that it’s in the Good Beer Guide….