If it were in Briggate, or a fashionable suburb, the Garden Gate would be lauded like Whitelocks and the Adelphi and prized yet more highly. In downtown Hunslet, it looks lost and bewildered by change – yet it thrives. Not simply because it’s old and beautiful and has the most amazing unspoiled interior, but because under the careful ownership of Leeds Brewery it is serving the people of Hunslet well.
This hasn’t always been the case. Not every landlord has treated the place with respect, nor ensured its customers did so. Even the city fathers once plotted to flatten the place. That crass move was resisted, and led to the Garden Gate winning listed building status.
It’s a ceramic palace, from the tiled exterior to the pub’s central corridor which divides little snugs, nooks and crannies, from the two main drinking areas either side of a central bar.
The corridor itself is a gem, tiled from floor to ceiling, save for polished mahogany panels and panes of etched and decorated glass, the floor an ornate mosaic.
The beer is local; handpulls dispense Leeds Best, Leeds Pale and Midnight Bell – the splendid trinity of real ales.
At 22, Adam Browett is one of the younger landlords on the circuit, yet has a clear idea of what it will take to take the Garden Gate back to the heart of the community: “It’s about serving good beer and keeping the prices down and the troublemakers out.”