Keighley – The Livery Rooms

I wasn’t going to write about the Wetherspoons in Keighley, hence no photo of the front of the pub. But I’m in a good mood (although I’m not sure what relevance that is to anything…..) and it’ll help me remember that I’ve been here….

Firstly, the building itself, I’ll copy the history of the pub from JD Wetherspoon’s own web-site:

“At the end of the 19th century, ‘first-class, sprung carriages pulled by grays or bays’ were available for hire from the livery stables which stood next to and partly on the site of this Wetherspoon pub. North Street was laid out in 1786, but was not developed until the 1880s, when it was widened and the first of the large imposing buildings was constructed. In the 1890s, this site was partly occupied by a cabman’s shelter at the front and the town hall livery stables at the rear. The stables’ offices were converted into the Regent cinema in 1920, later to become a bingo hall.”

This is Keighley in 1900 and the Livery Rooms is located where it says ‘hall’ and there’s pretty much nothing else left today other than the free library. The public baths have gone, the Mechanics’ Institute has gone and the streets at the top left of the map have all been swept away.

Anyway, back to the modern day. I went for a half pint of Broomstick Bitter from Moorhouse’s Brewery, which was well kept, at the appropriate temperature (my friend Nathan always likes me to point that out) and had a perfectly pleasant taste. Service was friendly, although I was inwardly moderately annoyed as there were two of us at the bar when the barman came along and I mentioned the other customer was first, so he correctly served him. After that, he then went to serve someone who had just arrived at the bar, but I was pleased that this new potential interloper at the bar told the barman he wasn’t next, so I was served in turn.

The pub was unclean and the staff were ignoring the issue, which I mention solely because I routinely note how clean pubs and bars are, so it seems reasonable to mention the reverse. The carpet was flooded with litter and tables weren’t routinely cleared, although the pub was arguably over-staffed. This ties in with the reviews on-line, which are a fair bit below the average I’d expect for a JD Wetherspoon pub, so there are probably some problems here. Anyway, I should have better things to write about than the relative performance of different JD Wetherspoon outlets. Although I probably don’t since I’m writing this. But, I digress.

Although on the subject of reviews, I noted this:

“Manger, I am appalled with your service, my daughter and her friends came for tea as they haven’t seen each other since March because of lockdown and you seem to think it’s okay to say they can’t sit in and eat a meal because they are underage.”

I’ve heard this before when a group of kids come in and try and get served, even if it’s soft drinks, as if it’s somehow not a pub but a McDonald’s. Slightly odder when the parent goes on-line and gives a low rate because the “manger” is following licensing rules….

I liked this review:

“We decided to go in at 11.45 as they were closing soon. Just before midnight ovbiously last orders was shouted. I said i’m not getting another as I had about a 1/4 of a pint left. I think we’d had 3 pints whilst there. Straight after within minutes the shift manager Natalie started shouting can you drink up please as she walked past with another staff member Jake. Both looked very stressed out. I merely said ‘Don’t we get 20 minutes drinking up time?’ Which was replied with a very curt no. The next think the friend I hadn’t seen for years started shouting ‘Let’s start a revolution.’ Jake angrily said to the shift manageress ‘Barr them!!!’ I couldn’t believe this, that kid when he first started there a couple of years ago was a star and I told him you’ve ace with the customers. But that night he was a very angry young man. I told my friend to shut up and led him out quickly giving him a bollocking cos they will bar you and that’s my fav pub”

I’m with the pub as soon as I saw “started shouting”….. But I’m like that, I can’t be dealing with raucous behaviour in pubs.

What I can’t complain about is being charged £1 for half a pint of decent real ale, so that was very lovely. Friendly staff, but all a bit rickety at the edges and given the times in which we live, the pub should have been at least a bit cleaner.. The pub opened in 2004, but the chain spent £830,000 under two years ago to modernise the venue and that really wasn’t evident and it’s a shame the pub was in a state given that investment. As an aside, it would be remiss of me (even though it wasn’t the pub’s fault) not to mention for the sake of the historic record the horrendous event that received national attention in 2009……