It had been years since I’d visited the Globe. This overdue return was prompted by my beer-blogging mate Leigh who lives locally and recommended I should give it a try.
I can see why he likes it, what with the attractive new look, its welcoming atmosphere and the three well-kept real ales. At a time when proper, old-fashioned community pubs have been the big fall guys in an industry seized by seismic change, it’s refreshing to find one still doing the simple things well for its neighbourhood.
It seems as though a lot of money has been spent here since I was the last in. The clean lines, comfy leather chairs and pristine woodwork each speak of a pub which has been given a 21st century makeover.
The bar itself, with its stylish high leather chairs and diamond-patterned floor tiles perhaps shows this the most clearly. Red retro lampshades hang over a polished oak counter topped with gleaming beer fonts. Behind, back-lit spirit bottles shimmer in a rage of colour.
Anyone familiar with the Arc Inspirations chain – bars like Zed in Chapel Allerton, Kobe in Horsforth and Napa in Roundhay – will be familiar with this kind of styling. The Globe shows that an old pub can be given a similar feel, presumably on a fraction of the budget.
As you walk in the front door, the bar is dead ahead. To the left is a pool table in a very light beech, to the right a comfortable drinking area. Books and vases are displayed in chunky wooden cabinets which have surely come straight out of Ikea. Modern sporty prints are cheek-by-jowl with monochrome images of old Leeds.
Only the stone frontage and the lovely stained glass windows give any clues to this pub’s previous incarnation as a straight-up unadulterated community local.
The Globe goes big on Sky Sport, though when I call in to catch the Leeds-Forest game on Monday it seems that the two big-screen televisions are afflicted by quite distinct types of interference. The one beside the bar crackles violently, the one above the pool table flickers like there’s something up with the horizontal hold. Perhaps it was a private protest at United’s continuing woeful performance.
A lively 40-something crowd around the bar contrasts with the surly knot of teenagers who skulk around one table for the best part of an hour waiting for the chance to play pool. Only one is old enough to drink; his pint of Carling is their sole contribution to their coffers. A firmer landlord would have politely encouraged them to sling their collective hook, though perhaps this invites more trouble than it’s worth.
So I settle back and watch the football, first with a pint of Theakston’s Best, the quintessential Yorkshire Ale – soft, refreshing, gently bitter; the family name on the pumpclip a guarantor of quality for generations. Next up is the darker, richer, warmer, more challenging Hobgoblin, which lends that kind of emollient comfort needed as United stumble to yet another defeat.
I fall into conversation with a couple of regulars and despite my best efforts to persuade them that the Globe represents the future of genuine local pubs – attractive, well-kept premises, great beer, TV sport, community spirit – they prove surprisingly downbeat about the whole place: “We’ve had three different managers in a year, and now we’ve heard there might be a fourth – and that doesn’t make for a happy pub.
“People who are coming in for the first time like it, but the old regulars don’t like the change. A lot of people preferred it how it was, with the horseshoe bar and a taproom. They’ve put in a kitchen, but it didn’t take off. People don’t come here to eat.
“Really this has been turned into a Headingley pub. They’ve forgotten that we’re actually in Bramley.”
Name: The Globe
Type: Community inn
Managers: Richard and Kyle
Opening hours: Noon-midnight Sun-Thurs, noon-1am Fri-Sat
Beers: Three real ales: John Smiths (£2.80), Theakston Best (£2.80), Hobgoblin (£3) plus Fosters (£3), Heineken (£3.35), Amstel (£3.30), Strongbow (£3.30), Guinness (£3.35), John Smith’s Smooth (£2.80)
Wine: Decent choice
Entertainment: Sky Sports, pool table, juke box, games machine
Children: Welcomed until 7.30pm
Disabled: Fairly easy access to ground floor bar, disabled toilets
Beer Garden: Tables to front and patio area to the side
Parking: Large area
Telephone: 0113 255 9007