29 : The Boltmakers Arms, Keighley

117 East Parade, Keighley, West Yorkshire BD21 5HX Telephone: 01535 661936


I was in Keighley tracking down long-dead family and long fragmented churches when I called in at the Boltmakers Arms for a lunchtime pint. The Boltmakers - a Timothy Taylor house within spitting distance of the brewery - is the kind of pub you dream about when you are a long way from home. Small, cozy, warm, welcoming : it is everything that a pub should be with a little bit extra added just to make you happy. You don't feel lost when you go in there nor do you feel compelled to order a three course dinner and a bottle of wine. The pictures on the wall have been chosen by the Landlord because he likes them and not because they fit into a preconceived theme thought up by a Pubco's marketing team. If you want to chat to the guy behind the bar you can, but if you want to sit and read a book in a little haven of peace and tranquility there is nothing to stop you. The architecture is not brilliant and the decor is unspectacular - but on Wednesday lunchtime I had difficulty thinking of anywhere else I would rather be in the whole wide world.

It is a Timothy Taylor house and they had the full range of hand-pull beers available. I tried something called Boltmakers Best Bitter (4% ABV) which, for all I knew, could have been brewed in the upstairs back bedroom. It was fresh and clean and for whatever reason put me in mind of a bolt been driven through a sheet metal plate in one of the long-lost dockyards of the River Clyde. I know it is a daft comparison by by this time I was getting maudlin. How long will such a place stay open? Will it be there fore my son to drink in? Probably. Will it be there for my grandson? Probably not.

What a shame, what an undiluted crime - this thing that is happening to the traditional British pub. What a loss, what a bloody, stupid waste. It was one of those days. It was one of those pubs. The Landlord looked at me as I drained my pint and left, wondering why I was crying.

8 comments:

John F said...

I am adding this one to my list of trying to make next year.
My kind of please.
I love the interior. Dark, warm and a great place to spend an afternoon on a rainy day.

John said...

I love these old style pubs, I know they need to sell meals to survive, which is a great shame, but when they become mini-restaurants they do lose something. When my folks lived outside Norwich I used to go with my dad to a small pub every Sunday lunchtime. No food, no one-armed bandit, no music; just local Norfolk farmers and beer. I suspect it is either closed now or unrecognizable.

John F said...

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don't know if you would be interested in this site.

TIW said...

Nice blog.

I think the Bolts is pretty safe. Some pubs in Keighley have closed, but tellingly none of them were Taylor's houses. The Bolts is as busy today as it was when I first went in, back in the 80s.

I was in there last week - they wouldn't tell us what exactly the Boltmakers Best was, but we got a tip-off (based on no evidence at all) that it might be something by Old Bear. It was good stuff, whatever it was.

John F said...

I am feeling the need for a new brew. You aren't layed up sick or anything are ya?

Silver said...

Thank you for having me Onboard ;)

Smiles,
~Silver

VE said...

Would be ashame to lose something distinct to yet another franchise without individuality...

Gurkha said...

What a lovely review Alun, know just how you feel.