Pub Review: The Faversham, Springfield Mount, Leeds

SNOW. It filled the air like the debris of some great celestial pillow fight. It swallowed cars whole, smothered the cold earth and rendered the best laid schemes of mice and men awry.

So while I'd planned little outings to report on the delights of The Grove at Huddersfield and the Old Cock at Otley, discretion dictates that those two trips must wait until we see something of a thaw.

Instead I sauntered along the corridor, down a flight of stairs, slithered through the car park slush and pitched up at the Springfield's conservatory bar.

My day job these days is on Level 11 of the beautiful brutalist beast that is the EC Stoner Building of Leeds University. The Faversham is perhaps a five-minute walk from my desk, though there are at least three licensed premises closer, the best of them being the wonderfully tatty, real ale paradise which is The Fenton on Woodhouse Lane. I'm in there at least twice a week.

If the Fenton is primarily a favourite among University staff – particularly physics, I've noticed – the Faversham is more squarely aimed at the students, particularly at night. Trapped at the end of a sidestreet between a teaching block and the dental hospital and so woven into the turbulent ebb-and-flow of University life you could almost be forgiven for thinking it were an extension of the student union.

It was Wednesday lunchtime when I took my quick stroll to the Fav, arriving to find that the generous eiderdown of snow had left it virtually deserted.

Though more angled towards the lager drinkers of the student market, the Fav has long served real ale, and it was the splendid Deuchars IPA this week. Time was when the handpump in the conservatory bar was just for show, and a request for real ale necessitated the staff taking a long detour through the innards of the building to the main dance floor bar, where the pub's single working handpull was located. This term though they have fitted a new working wicket, and though it does tend to make the whole bar top rock in rhythm as it's used in anger, it makes service a good deal quicker.

The conservatory is where the Fav does most of its daytime business, a light and airy space where hearty meals like steak pie (5.50) and bangers and mash (5.95), burgers (4.95) and salads (5.95) are consumed with gusto by academics, administrators and better-off students alike.

By night, the action switches to the cavernous main bar, decorated in purples, reds and beiges, with its stage and DJ booth, and a scarlet back-lit bar which stands empty and idle during the day.

But my favourite bit of the Fav is the high-ceilinged room in between, a comfortable halfway house with its deep leather sofas and ornate gilt mirrors, and it's to here I retire with my pint of IPA.

Some gentle afternoon pop is easing from speakers the size of filing cabinets, barely testing their prodigious capabilities which are presumably only stretched after nightfall. Low in the corners of the room, right down at skirting level, huge theatre lamps lie dormant, just waiting to light up the night.

A decorous ceiling rose and huge chandelier, a curving window and extravagant cornices are each a legacy of the Faversham's time as a rather up-market hotel. Quite what its customers would have made of the Jagerbomb Student Night on December 8 or the Musicology Xmas Party Featuring DJ Derek and The Gaslamp Killer on December 10 is anybody's guess.


Type: Lively comfortable student pub

Opening Hours: Noon-2am Mon-Thurs; noon-3am Fri; noon-3.30am Sat; 1-11pm Sun

Beers: Deuchars IPA plus Lindeboom, Heineken, Amstel, Aspall's Cider and Guinness

Wine: Small wine list.

Food: Good selection of decent quality pub meals served noon-7pm Mon-Thur, noon-8pm Fri, and 1-5pm Sun

Children: Not particularly suitable

Disabled: Ramp access

Entertainment: Changing programme of music - both DJs and live acts.

Areas of the bar are available for private hire.

Beer Garden: Yes, larged covered area to one side

Parking: Large car park to the front. Non-customers beware wheel clampers

Telephone: 0113 243 1481

Fax: 0113 243 3993



EP 4/12/10

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