Sunday 26th January 2014
Some of the pubs that have opened their doors for the first time during this century adopt an odd name that is easily remembered. At first sight Mr Foley's appears to be one of these, but the name has real meaning. It is named after Patrick James Foley who established the Pearl Assurance Company in Leeds during 1864. The pub is located on the ground floor of what was once the company's main office.
This building was started in 1910 and finished during 1911. The upper floors are made from Portland stone and it was designed by William Bakewell who was the architect for other structures in the city.
It is located in the Financial district diagonally opposite the magnificent City Hall and close to Victoria Gardens and the Art Gallery. High up upon the main face of the building is a statue of Mr Foley flanked by a pair of griffins.
So many buildings like this are now used for purposes other than what they were built for, just look at the properties that J.D. Wetherspoon occupy. I'm not sure when the original owners moved out but I do know that the pub opened in 2007. It was established by the York Brewery, which is now owned by Mitchells of Lancaster, who were once a regional brewery, but now just a pub company.
It was a cold and rainy day when Linda and I popped in and we were glad to get into the warmth of a pub, and what a good pub. Although it only occupies the ground floor of the building it does have several levels.
For a relatively new pub I thought the polished wood bar and bar-back were quite impressive. There is a seating area on a balcony opposite the bar and there's another similar space higher up. At the rear there is a very comfortable looking lounge area with stuffed red leather sofas and armchairs.
We were perusing the pump clips to make a decision of what beer to order when the barman apologised for the lack of beers on offer. There were six to choose from yet he explained they normally have ten, but some had sold out the night before, Saturday, and he hadn't had the chance to replace them yet. However the selection was reasonable, so we weren't complaining.
The choice was as follows. From the owners of the pub there were three from the York Brewery of York: Yorkshire Terrier (4.2%); Centurion's Ghost Ale (5.4%) and Guzzler (3.8%). The others were Beartown (Congleton, Cheshire) Black Bear (5.0%); Acorn (Barnsley, South Yorks) Barnsley Bitter (3.8%) and Bridestone's Brewery (Hebden Bridge, West Yorks) Pennine Gold (4.3%).
This pub is also noted for its draught cider and perry. There were four on offer when we visited: Orchard Pig (West Bradley, Somerset) Philosopher Cider (6.0%); Skidbrooke (Skidbrooke, Lincs) Vintage Cider (6.0%); Gwynt y ddraig (Pontypridd, Glamorgan, Wales) Two Trees Perry (4.5%) and Broad Oak (Clutton, Somerset) Cider (6.0%).
This is a great cask ale pub right in the centre of Leeds that has a good range of beers and ciders along with a full menu, see below for hours. So what's not to like?
Mr Foley's Cask Ale House, 159 The Headrow, Leeds LS1 5RG. Tel: 0113 242 9674
Open: Sunday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-01.00
From Leeds railway station turn leftish and walk down the Station Approach. Cross over Wellington Street to Quebec Street and walk up it. At the top it joins King Street, turn slightly left and this street becomes East Parade. Keep walking up and when you see the edifice of City Hall, you are on the pavement outside the pub.
Leeds station is very well connected by rail to most towns and cities in the country.