“ Address: 119 Main Street / Haworth / Bradford / West Yorkshire / BD22 8DP / Tel: 01535 642249 „
The Black Bull is a public house at the top of the steep main shopping street in Haworth, Yorkshire. Standing on the cobbled square next to the church it's in an attractive setting. A blackboard outside offers tea or coffee with a choice of cake or scone for £2.25, not a bad price when you consider that it's probably something of a tourist attraction. There's also a plaque outside which names it as the haunt of one Branwell Bronte, brother to the more famous Bronte sisters. A second glance at the plaque shows that Branwell was apparently made secretary of a club that met at the pub many years after his death! Oh well, it is well recorded that was a favourite drinking establishment of his, despite the fact that there's been a mistake made over dates. It looked like a characterful place to grab a bite to eat after an afternoon's walking the moors, so it was here that myself, husband and child stopped off one evening during our stay in Yorkshire.
~Through the Door~
Go through the front door and you'll be at the end of the long bar which fills most of one side of the building. To the right is a snug area divided from the next, larger, dining area. There are lots of pictures around, many of old Haworth, several old sports teams, as well as a few more modern ones. I particularly liked one interesting picture which collected photographs of all the front doors on Haworth's main street. There are a few odd old items around on shelves such as old bottles and dishes, (too tempting for me not to say like a china shop in a Bull). It has an olde worlde feel, with low ceilings and wooden beams. Dark wood, cream and burgundy are the main colours. Although the feel is traditional, it's also eclectic, slightly cluttered but clean, like a warm friendly house belonging to an eccentric old Aunt.
The front of the pub is wider than the back and as you walk through you end up in a narrow corridor to the toilets and a side door. The toilets were quite small, but clean. I'm afraid I didn't notice if there was a disabled toilet, but an ad for the pub claims wheelchair access, so one would hope there is. There's a beer terrace outside which looks like a nice place to sit and watch the tourists wander past.
We arrived on a Thursday at about 6:30 which is the time they usually stop serving meals, but we were told it was fine and to take our time and order what we wanted. There were only two staff visible, both were young and seemed laid back, friendly and helpful.
This would seem to be a quiet time, we were the only diners, although there were a few people in the other room and the bar.
I was quite pleased to see that one of the main meals was named 'The Full Bronte'. This was for two people and consisted of; steak, Cajun chicken, scampi, mushrooms, onion rings, chips and salad, priced at £16.99. I also liked the fact that the soup of the day was rather more poetically named as 'soup of the moment', this was priced at £2.95 served with crusty bread.
As well as starters and main courses there was a section of the menu entitled 'for the smaller appetite' which I had thought might be for children but turned out not to be. There was also a selection of baguettes and jacket potatoes available for £4.50. They do a traditional roast dinner on Sundays with homemade Yorkshire Puds and claim that the food is homemade with many of the ingredients being locally sourced.
Three of the main courses were vegetarian - I opted for the Mushroom and Walnut Hotpot for £8.95, while my husband chose Steak and Ale Pie, (£8.50), both came served with veg and chips. Our little one wanted just a bowl of chips, this wasn't on the menu, but was no problem for them. Altogether for the three dishes and three drinks, (two pints - one of Guinness, one lager shandy and a glass of cordial), we paid £25.60. I thought this was pretty reasonable, especially considering I had expected it to play to the tourist appeal and be rather more expensive.
The meals didn't take long to arrive. They were truly hearty portions. My hotpot was tasty although my husband persuaded me that the reason it came in a round dish was because it was microwaved which made me think about how it was actually a touch chewy around the edges, but no real complaints, it certainly filled a hole. The veg were more than adequate and the chips were nice too. My husband enjoyed his pie. My daughter ate an unbelievably large portion of chips for such a little girl, going on to polish off the ones I'd left on my plate, being too full to finish them myself.
We didn't ask for a sweet menu, although there were a selection of handsome looking cakes over by a counter at the end of the bar, but we were far too stuffed to contemplate a sweet.
There are a wide range of drinks available, including several draught beers and a selection of real ales, as well as wines and hot drinks including a range of coffees.
On the way out I noticed 'Branwell's chair'. This is halfway up some stairs behind a gate, no doubt to stop drunken people sitting on it. There is a notice on the seat which says; "The Branwell Chair - this is the original chair that was occupied by Branwell Bronte on his many visits to this inn."
It was only a short acquaintance but I thought it seemed like a decent pub and one I would quite like to get to know a bit better. If asked to sum up The Black Bull in a few words I would say; friendly, characterful, good beer, filling food and reasonable prices.
There's a small car park, wheelchair access (presumably this is around the side entrance as there are steps at the front), children are welcome until 8.30, dogs are allowed in the front bar. Bed and Breakfast is available. The Black Bull can be found in 'The Good Beer Guide' and won a CAMRA award for 'most improved pub' in 2007.
Address: 119 Main Street, Haworth, Bradford, West Yorkshire BD22 8DP Tel: 01535 642249