A HUNDRED steps above Morley railway station, this much-loved local is under new ownership and back in business, after a three-week closure probably left regulars fearing that it had served its final pint.
And anyone who makes that brisk route march up from the station – and presents a railcard as evidence – can get a generous 10 per cent discount on their food and drink.
The Miners has always boasted traditional Yorkshire hospitality – bringing a good mix of food and drink, atmosphere and family-friendly attitude to a town with more than its fair share of decent pubs.
The new owners are FGPC, a growing chain of pubs characterised by their place at the heart of their local community – the New Inn at Eccup, the Crown at Yeadon and the Stump Cross, also in Morley.
The company tells me that the pub struggled to attract sufficient custom in the last couple of year, culminating in the former landlord choosing to move on to pastures new.
And though it’s still early days here, the new regime already has some of the key planks of a community pub in place – a pool team, quiz night, karaoke, disco night. A summer fete and bank holiday beer festival are also in the offing, and Manager Pete Hayes is determined to add to these, with games nights and a pub football team next on his agenda.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing. When Pete finally got the keys he discovered that vandals had been in and left the place in a mess.
The stereo system had been ripped out, and a lot of decoration was needed just to get the place open as quickly as possible, which was always the priority.
“It’s slowly building back up,” says Pete over a beer. “It has been received very well. The pub had been struggling so much, but now people who haven’t been in here for years are coming back.”
What they’re finding is a tidy, comfortable, well-kept local where a choice of drinking areas open from a central bar doing decent real ales.
They’ll also find a lively programme of entertainment and an imaginative selection of American-inspired food.
The sub sandwiches are all named after submarines – U96 is corned beef and sauerkraut (£6), the Nautilus is ham, cheddar and piccalilli. The hotdogs follow a frontier law theme – the Pat Garrett (£6.50) packs pork sausage with chillies, onion and red cabbage; the Roy Bean (£6) is a veggie option with onion, cheese and aioli.
We went for the burgers, where outlaws dominate. My Butch Cassidy (£6.50) teamed a juicy beef patty with black pudding and blue cheese, and was served with some chunky home-cut fries.
My partner went for the cheese Bonnie and Clyde (£8) while the Billy the Kid (£6.80) features chilli, jalapenos, chipotle mayonnaise, and the chance to choose between spicy strengths from “gringo” through to “diablo”.
For all the American styling there’s nothing pretentious about the food, the emphasis being firmly on quality and value.
The only thing I would have to question is the wisdom of serving all these in a blue plastic basket. The presentation rather devalues the content; food this good deserves actual crockery.
After all, the Miners serves two great real ales – Leeds Pale and Tetley Bitter, both of them well-kept – but you would be seriously aggrieved if they were dispensed into a blue plastic beaker.
Perhaps plates are part of the company’s next phase of improvements. Having fulfilled their initial objective of getting the Miners open again, and back into the public consciousness, they are now planning an extensive refurbishment inside and out in time for a second re-launch in the autumn.
Name: The Miners Arms
Type: Lively community local
Opening Times: Noon-midnight Sun-Wed, noon-1am Thur-Sat
Beers: Leeds Pale (£2.70), Tetley’s (£2.70) plus San Miguel (£3.40), Coors (£3.40), Guinness (£3.60), Thatcher’s Cider (£3.40)
Food: Burgers, hotdogs and sandwiches available noon-8pm daily. Special Sunday menu (£6.95) available noon-6pm
Children: Welcomed. Smaller portions of all the meals available
Disabled: Straightforward access to ground floor bar, but no special facilities
Beer garden: Large grassed area to rear
Functions: Areas available for private hire.
Parking: Large area to rear
Telephone: 0113 252 5766