Bar review: Foley’s Tap House, The Headrow, Leeds

Date:16th September 2015. James Hardisty.
Pub of The Year 2015.........Pictured Mr Foleys Ale House, The Headrow, Leeds.
Date:16th September 2015. James Hardisty. Pub of The Year 2015.........Pictured Mr Foleys Ale House, The Headrow, Leeds.
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The bar front at Foley’s Tap House isn’t unusually large but the number of handpulls they manage to cram on there almost beggars belief.

With 12 pumps, this tastefully decorated, high-ceilinged real ale (and cider) pub in the centre of Leeds, can afford to boast. When we last visited to review it in 2014, it had the most handpulls of any pub in the city centre. Whether that remains the case is something of a moot point, given the sheer breadth of choice here.

If you thought the handpulls was impressive, then consider they also stock 24 traditional draught ciders, which no doubt contributed to them winning the Leeds CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year 2015 and the Great British pub awards Best Cider pub winner 2016.

But the choice doesn’t end there. Oh no, they also have 10 craft keg lines and claim to stock 100 world beers, from Europe, American and Asia.

There’s wine too, of course, if you’re that way inclined and gin o’ clock (and they do pie and a pint for £5.45) and they even find room to offer a decent snacks menu, with sharing boards Farmyard Feast and Landlord’s Lunch (£13.95 each) at the top end and a pork and chorizo sausage roll (£3.25) at the other (there’s even a vegan sausage roll for £2.95). Could this ale house be any more inclusive?

For the record, Foley’s, named after the man who founded the building in which it now resides - one Patrick James Foley, born in 1836, and the man who made it the HQ of Pearl Life Assurance - is York Brewery’s first and only venture outside the historic walls of its home city.

Given the successes it has enjoyed in Leeds and the fact it’s still obviously doing a roaring trade, it seems to have landed on fertile ground.

I visited just after they opened on a Thursday (noon, which is the case Monday through to Friday and Sunday, opening an hour earlier on Saturday), so it was relatively quite but the welcome was warm and friendly, bar staff clearly clued up about their extensive range of beers, the bar manager talking me through several.

It was a working lunch for me so I went for a half Tuborg (£2 - hold on, I’ve not done yet, there’s real ale to come), plus a carry-out of Sierra Nevada’s glorious Pale Ale, a hypnotic 5.6 per cent and one of those sessionable ales which fights you for the first glass but thereafter becomes a most pleasant companion.

So, in short, Foley’s Tap House is well worth a visit. Service is spot on, the choice here is simply astonishing and the atmosphere is intriguing : there are several drinking areas to explore, each leading off the other. Strong and steady stuff from York Brewery.

FACTFILE

Foley’s Tap House

59 The Headrow

Leeds

LS1 5RG

SCORE: 5/5

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