The Abbey Inn
Tucked away, but known to its regulars, Abbey Inn is down the long, long leafy Pollard Lane, LS13 1EQ to be precise. The pub won CAMRA’s best community pub award two years in a row and its real ale, live music, home-cooked no-nonsense food and straightforward charms have been pulling in people of all ages for years. It’s a small friendly place and the ale is very tasty.
Outside, the punters spread out with children and dogs…lots of dogs..
The Abbey Inn is inches (well metres) from the Leeds-Liverpool canal – more reasons to stroll along the canal path from Armley, Bramley & Rodley. To the west of the pub, you can see Horsforth, so it must be walkable.
Martin Lockett & his partner Joan have been running the pub for 8 years. The hand-pulls are fuelled by 7 guest brews that change monthly and a regular year-round supply of Leeds Brewery’s Pale Ale.
Over the course of Martin & Joan’s time, they’ve offered up over 1000 different beers selected from tiny, mammoth, local and further-flung breweries. Cider and Perry also take centre stage here. A beer festival every month is how Martin describes the regular rotation of real ale and cider that passes through the establishment.
Other than canine imposters, there’s little evidence of King Charles I here; no stories of him sleeping in a tree or waving his feathery hat at the punters, but the Civil War raged around the Newlay (or Newlee) area, & has led to stories of hauntings in the pub. It’s not uncommon for groups of ghost hunters to occupy Abbey Inn overnight, in pursuit of the spectre of a Cavalier, his wife & their child.
Like all good landlords, Martin has an immense historical knowledge of the pub and its surrounding area that he’s happy to share. He tells me that from the 17th century until the 1950s, the pub was also used as a mortuary. When you’re debating a tricky angle at the pool table, you’re standing in the space previously filled with a mortuary slab, around which customers would carry on supping.
The Abbey Inn is known for its annual beer festivals & its regular live music programme. In cahoots with their regular patrons, Martin & Joan are hatching plans for a beer and music festival this summer, which will include an unplugged performance by a locally-formed one-off 48 piece orchestra; and a visual arts festival, with moss graffiti, cake and pints…lots of pints of the good, good stuff.
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