I stopped counting at 20 - that’s the number of bar pulls they have down at The Hop under the Dark Arches. Spoilt. For. Choice.
Ossett Brewery’s flagship venue - alongside Archie’s (which is now connected to The Hop via a tunnel) and Candlebar - remains one of the big draws for Granary Wharf, not least because this independent brewery is able to offer a refreshing alternative to chain bars.
Ensconced in one of the cavernous arches beneath the station, the dual level drinking den has a dark, magical feel about it. Huge murals adorn the walls, while both floors offer a mixture of seating and there’s more than enough space to find yourself a quiet corner in which to relax. The menu of gourmet pies and pizza complements the real ale on offer, which extends to Ossett Brewery’s own Yorkshire Blonde, Big Red, Silver King and Excelsior, plus guest beers, selected ales from Huddersfield’s Rat Brewery and Wakefield’s Fernandes Brewery, and five guest lines which rotate regularly to showcase local microbrewers.
As if that wasn’t enough, there’s live music, with acoustic acts playing every Wednesday from 8pm and cover bands on Saturday from 9pm.
The link to Archie’s, installed last year, means you don’t even have to go outside to experience even more craft ale, cocktails and their restaurant (Candlebar also has a good sushi restaurant, if you fancy something different).
Later this month, The Hop will play host to Wharfest 5, featuring five bands throughout the day, starting at about 3pm.
Yorkshire Blonde (£1.60 for a half) has to be one of the easiest drinking session ales I’ve tried. Light, fresh with a subtle citrus twang on the back end, it comes in at 3.9 per cent, which means you can indulge in a couple without fear of having to stagger out with double vision.
There was also several bottles of Budweiser Budwar (£3.85 per bottle), a clean, crisp, clear and bright lager with a thin white foam on top and possibly one of the best lagers in the world, not wanting to step on anyone else’s toes. We also sampled a can of Northern Monk Eternal (5 per cent, £4.50), which is expensive considering it’s the same size as a can of Diet Coke and flavour-wise it might take some getting used to, with its hoppy, orangey textures and distinct piney finish but I guarantee after a few, you will fall in love with it (and possibly forget about the price).
The Hop, together with its sibling bars, has created its own centre of gravity down at Granary Wharf.
Indeed, if you were to include nearby venues, including The Scarbrough Hotel, Tapped and Bundobust, you’ve got yourself a little bar crawl, all without venturing into the inner workings of the city centre proper.
The Dark Arches, Granary Wharf, Dark Neville Street, LS1 4BR