Tuesday 27th October 2015
The fourth in the growing number of “Tap” pubs on or near railway stations, this is yet another classic. When I was last in Harrogate it was the same time two years ago and I peered through the windows of what was to become the Tap and observed workmen fitting the superb woodwork. I do remember that day as the trains to York were badly delayed because of leaves on the line. I could have done with the Tap on that evening!
No such problems on this visit as all they were on time and I entered the pub from the car park at the front of the station. It is possible to access it via an entrance on Platform 1 and this is the way I left. Through the front door the first thing I noticed was a smallish room to my left and also the corridor that leads to the facilities. Like the Sheffield and York Taps the standard of the craftsmanship in this pub is outstanding.
The work took six months and created out of the former station buffet that was in the last surviving portion of the original station built in 1862. It had fallen into near dereliction and reopened in December 2013. Now, it’s just like walking in to a Victorian dining room with the addition of a bar. I went right into the main room and, after ordering a beer, took a look around. There is varnished wooden panelling on the walls that reaches well above head height. The floor in front of the bar counter is tiled in black and white.
As I looked at the tall blackboard on the wall to select a beer, I noticed the really nice cast iron fireplace to my left. It looked as if it is used, I hope so. Above and either side is deeply varnished carved wood with a mirror above.
Nearly everything in the pub is similar and it all exudes an aura of great comfort. Most of the seating is fitted stuffed red leather banquettes. The loose furniture is varnished wood-topped circular tables with red leather covered stools.
Whilst there is no core range of regular beers there are some breweries that are often seen in Tapped houses. Ilkley, Thornbridge and their own Tapped beers spring to mind in this respect. This was the selection available when I called in.
From the home side there was Tapped Pegler (4.4%) brewed at the Tap on Sheffield station. From Ilkley Brewery (Ilkley, North Yorkshire) there was Fireside Porter (4.2%) and Ruby Jane (4.0%).
The list continues with Ashover Brewery (Ashover, Derbyshire) Fabric (4.4%); Magic Rock (Huddersfield, West Yorkshire) Ringmaster (3.9%); Hopshackle (Market Deeping, Lincolnshire) Double Momentum (7.0%); St Peter’s (Bungay, Suffolk) Golden Ale (4.7%); Harrogate Brewing (Harrogate, North Yorkshire) No 5 Porter (5.4%); Black Sheep (Masham, North Yorkshire) Best Bitter (3.8%) and Bad Co. Brewery (Dishforth, North Yorkshire) comfortably Numb (3.8%).
Apart from the “craft keg” offerings they also served one cider from the hand pump and it was Orchard Pig (West Bradley, Somerset) Maverick (4.0%) which has Ginger and Chillies added. The pub offers a little food in the form of toasted paninis, pork pies and the normal range of packaged snacks.
All in all, it is well worth missing your train, to indulge yourself for a while in this excellent pub.
Harrogate Tap, Station Parade, Harrogate HG1 1TE. Tel: 01423 501644
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11.00-23.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-24.00
Harrogate station is served by the trains of Northern Rail. There’s a half hourly service from Leeds that continues to Knaresborough. Once an hour one goes on to York. Also, there’s a morning train to London Kings Cross that returns in the evening. This pair is operated by Virgin East Coast.
There is a small Bus Station outside that has many connections.