Pub review: The Daisy, Bramley, Leeds

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THEY’VE blitzed The Daisy with Christmas bunting.

Right now, to step inside this sturdy stone-built community inn which sits alongside the rmain road between Armley and Stanningley, is to enter a dazzling grotto hung with shiny silver streamers, glittering golden snowflakes and miles of tinsel.

False pine trees on the windowsills and tiny goblets sprouting sprigs of artificial holly add some touches of green; neon Merry Christmas signs glint through the windows, inviting passers by to step inside.

It’s a Saturday lunchtime when I call in, and despite this sparkling shimmer there is little of the genuine festive cheer in evidence. Rather, the pub is bearing the slightly weary, wary demeanour of a regretful drinker who is heaving himself back into consciousness the morning after a heavy session.

A few hardy regulars are gathered at the bar, sharing conversation over a “hair of the dog” beer. Others are dispersed to the tables at the rear, beyond the end of the long bar which stretches from a pool room at the front to this more open plan area .

Aside from the shiny lager fonts, there are at least six handpulls on the bar, but only one of them has been decorated with a pumpclip, somewhat funneling my choice towards John Smith’s Cask – a beer I’ve not drunk in at least five years. It proves to be better than I expected, though my expectations really weren’t high. It certainly looks the part, an enticing deep amber that’s clear as a bell – and its sharp, slightly toffee-ish nature asserts itself from the off. As a sessionable Yorkshire bitter, I’ve had worse.

Underneath all the seasonal glitter the decor is predominantly a deep crimson – from the walls around the bar, the high stools and the floral patterned carpet to the cosy banquettes which enclose some of the Daisy’s more intimate drinking spaces. Around the wall are some old monochrome images of local scenes, though a mirror with the Leeds United crest betrays the local allegiance of a pub where TV sport is a significant part of the mix.

The name of the pub is something of a puzzle – and it’s shared by a cafe and a nursery nearby. A discussion on the excellent Secret Leeds website suggests that daisies once flourished on a field behind the pub, a theory supported by the naming of a local development as Daisyfield Grange.

And though this is probably not the sort of pub which you’d travel across the city to visit – certainly not if you were looking for a dizzying choice of ale – the Daisy is a decent local, serving the community well, just as pubs right across the city do. And though I had never been in here before, and everyone else seemed to be on first-name terms with each other and the staff, I was made perfectly welcome, and allowed to sit quietly in a corner, as I enjoyed my pint, taking my scratchy little notes and looking faintly apprehensive.

Congratulations are due to Wold Top Brewery in East Yorkshire, who have been chosen for the prestigious contract to brew Marks & Spencer’s own brand Yorkshire Bitter. This 3.8% ABV ale will be available from almost 500 M&S stores, representing a really lucrative contract for the Wold Newton-based brewer.

Brewery Director Gill Mellor said: “It’s encouraging for businesses like ours to see the increasing focus retailers like Marks & Spencer have on locally-sourced produce. We’re overjoyed at the prospect of creating a beer available exclusively on their shelves.”

Wold Top beers include Wold Gold, Best UK Golden Ale at the World Beer Awards, and Scarborough Fair IPA, a bronze medal winner at the International Beer Challenge.

The Daisy

Address: Stanningley Road, Bramley

Type: Community local

Opening Hours: 11am-11pm Mon-Sat, noon-10.30pm Sun

Beers: John Smith’s cask ale, plus John Smiths and Tetley Smooth, Carlsberg, Carling, Stella Artois, Guinness

Wine: Small selection

Food: None

Entertainment: TV, pool table, games machines

Disabled: Step access to the front, flat access to the rear, all on one level inside

Children: Welcome

Beer garden: Small area to rear, with covered smoking shelter

Parking: Small area to rear

Telephone: 0113 256 4236

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