If you were to sit down and describe the perfect pub, what would you put on your wishlist?
For starters, you’d want a decent range of beer, cider, wine, bar snacks and whatnot. After that, I think you’d want to consider location: somewhere nice, with a bit of space around it and room to breath but not too far off the beaten track that you have to don walking boots and an anorak.
The perfect pub would, of course, need to have a cavernous interior with all sorts of little areas to discover, just in case you were feeling in the mood for a quiet drink.
They would also do food (mainly for people over 40 and parents with young ones, desperately searching for those tiny fragments of ‘me’ time in between the chaos that comes with having children).
Then, of course, outside the pub, you would want a decent sized beer garden, for the few precious months of the years when it is possible to sit outside in this country in a T-shirt and not have to worry about freezing to death. Ideally, said beer garden would include a hard surface area with umbrellas and so forth and a larger grassed area with wooden benches and the like.
I can think of pubs which have some of these attributes but only one springs to mind which has the lot: The Calverley Arms, Calverley.
Beer-wise they have as good a selection as any. Sure, it’s nothing like the Head of Steam, Headingley or Tapped in Leeds city centre, but it’s got more than enough variety to keep most happy: Leeds Pale Ale puts in an appearance, as does Kirkstall Brewery’s Three Swords, then there’s some quality pilsners like Amstel and Estrella.
There’s also Peroni, Cornish Orchards and Thatcher’s ciders, Doombar, Jarl (3.8 per cent, a perfect hoppy session ale) and The Rev James Rye (£3.70), which I ordered and which was a lovely dark beer with a fruity/citrussy aftertaste which grows on you.
Food-wise, I ordered the beef burger (£10.25) and wasn’t disappointed: the portion was ample and came with homemade onion rings.
It’s hard to fault the Calverley Arms. Service is good, the staff were more than accommodating, even running to fetch us some extra gravy for my partner’s beef pie (£11.25) at one point.
The location is truly wonderful. Just up from Rodley roundabout if you are coming from Leeds and before you get to Calverley, it’s far enough out to give you that sense of being in the country but not too far to put you off going in the first place. There’s also a decent sized car park in case you are driving there.
Additionally, it has substantial grounds outside - they landscaped the garden part a few years ago and it’s now a lovely space to just sit and enjoy the views.
THE CALVERLEY ARMS