Drum roll please….
You are now reading Leeds Beer Quest’s 150th review!!! Sound the trumpet! For this momentous occasion, we chose Whitelock’s, one of Leeds’s oldest pubs. Established in 1715, its website claims it as the oldest, though the folks at The Pack Horse might have something to say about that. We’ll remain neutral.
One of a handful of pubs that occupy space in between city centre thoroughfares, it definitely has the largest alley beer garden of the bunch. Full of several tables there’s plenty of room to enjoy a pint outside and their Twitter tells us they’re starting weekly barbecues in summer when the weather cooperates. That’s going on our to-do list for sure.
Inside the focus is definitely on local hand-pulled ales, featuring breweries like Kirkstall, Leeds, Ilkley, Ridgeside and Rooster’s. However, it’s one of the best cask selections around: ten taps from ten different breweries and definitely more interesting than common bitters you tend to see everywhere. They also had five real ciders, which is more than you normally see at a Leeds pub. This is definitely a spot for the CAMRA crowd.
Craft beer hasn’t caught on here yet, so there’s nothing particularly interesting in the fridge (Blue Moon and Budvar) and nothing on keg worth mentioning. Their menu offers standard Yorkshire pub grub, including the essential Sunday Roast, with generous portions at very reasonable prices.
The layout of Whitelocks has a lot in common with The Ship, being long and narrow and crowded around the bar. It will feel a bit claustrophobic at peak times, so be prepared to stand or squeeze yourself into a corner when it’s busy. There is a back bar but it’s often booked out for private events. However, the Victorian fittings, stained glass windows and copper tables make for a lovely atmosphere and it’s a great place to bring visitors if you want to show them classic Leeds. Definitely worth a visit when you’re in the mood for a local ale that you might not find elsewhere.