Here are the Leeds pubs that topped the YEP's Pub of the Year poll

Pubs across Leeds will be full to the brim as punters enjoy a festive pint in the next week or two.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 4:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 4:33 pm
Sara Blackman and Kelly Hirst.

But customers around the city have had their say on which watering holes hold their top tipples all year round.

The Yorkshire Evening Post’s annual Pub of the Year competition is always hotly contested – and we can now reveal which ones keep locals lapping up its lagers, casks and family fare the most.

The Three Horseshoes in Far Headingley has proved it is no Otley Run one-trick pony, taking the top spot after a reader vote.

Rachel Jenkinson and Adam Driver grab second place at The Bridge in Horsforth.

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In second place is The Bridge in Horsforth, a cosy cask ale haven which previously won the contest for two years in a row.

The Woodman, in Halton, was named third by readers who sent in their favourite spots.

“We can’t believe it,” said Sara Blackman, co-manager of The Three Horseshoes in Otley Road.

“Since we came to this pub we’ve been trying to turn it around – and this shows we have.”

Sinead Flanagan at The Woodman, which took third place.

Ms Blackman and partner Kelly Hirst took over in May, and have worked to create an atmosphere that is welcoming for all.

She said: “We are actively giving people what they want. We’re speaking to our regulars and asking their opinion.

“There’s a stigma with any pub that’s on the Otley Run. Although it’s in a student area, it’s not a student pub. It’s for families.”

Ms Blackman, 36, added: “It’s grown massively from when we first took it over.

“We’re seeing more regulars coming in now, we’ve an older generation coming, which is good.

“We do have students in – Saturdays are mental – but during the week we have people coming from the offices and things, which is nice.

“It’s really starting to pick up. Everybody comes says how friendly we are.”

The partners host bands on Friday nights and are trying to reach out to the community, with fundraisers and a children’s food menu designed by Weetwood Primary School planned.

Four cask beers are typically on offer, as well as the usual popular lagers and other drinks.

The family approach is enhanced by the couple’s children, “Karaoke Queen” Evelyn, four, and Ellie, 17, being friendly faces known to regulars.

“It’s a really close-knit team we have here,” said Ms Blackman.

The Bridge, in Low Lane, was competition champ in 2016 and 2017, but landlady of 11 years Rachel Jenkinson was still thrilled to have reached this year’s second spot.

She said: “I’m over the moon. It’s nice that people think well about the pub. The people that voted do enjoy the pub and atmosphere.

“I just think it’s a friendly pub, there’s a lot of interaction between the groups.”

A key to the venue’s success includes its early opening time – 8am for breakfast, with food served until 9.45pm.

The pub boasts darts, pool and football teams, and on May Bank Holiday weekends, punters turn out for an annual beer festival featuring 20 cask ales and live music.

Normally, there are eight cask ales, with Leeds Pale and Yorkshire Sparkle standing out as favourites. Mrs Jenkinson, 41, said: “It’s about trying to diversify all the time.”

And manager Sinead Flanagan thanked her loyal customers after being presented with the third place prize for The Woodman.

Our winning line-up is completed by the Black Lion at Bramley and The Commercial Inn at Morley, which finished fourth and fifth respectively.