The Leopard, Doncaster: The Yorkshire pub which is keeping the flag flying for the traditional old boozer

In the days when the Great North Road meandered its way through this county, every time it reached a town of any size, there were ferocious bottlenecks of traffic, especially at the weekends and in holiday periods.

Motorists could bowl along on open stretches, and then they could rely on spending a good hour, or more, creeping down a congested high street.

Free of that, you’d progress once again, until you hit the next built-up area, and the whole grisly thing would repeat itself.

Doncaster was a classic example.

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The Leopard in DoncasterThe Leopard in Doncaster
The Leopard in Doncaster

Well, along came a by-pass, and the planners at almost the same time decided to “free up” the town centre as well.

Without consulting anyone who knew better, they put a small motorway right through the middle of the community, with the historic parish church (now the Minster), the station and bus station on one side, and the rest of us on the other.

One of the major knock-on effects was that business on one side found footfall drop spectacularly.

Today, you can still see closed shops and abandoned properties. And, one by one, nearly all the pubs on the West sighed deeply, gave in to their inaccessibility, and closed.

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Happily, there was at least one exception, and The Leopard survives, and thrives, and it does so because it had the ingenuity to specialise.

It gave over its spacious upstairs room (the pub was initially built as an hotel) to being an alternative performance venue, and its downstairs pair of bars serve some fine real ales – the place is regularly praised by CAMRA and their loquacious membership.

Not so long ago, it seemed to have hit the doldrums, but now, with a lick of paint, it has bounced back into the limelight.

There’s a beer garden to one side, public transport is a mere stone’s throw away, and (irony?) there are plenty of pictures of Donny on the walls. Donny as it was.

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And, in the opinion of a good many of us, Donny as it should have remained. The Leopard keeps the flag flying.

The Leopard, 2, West Street, Doncaster, DN1 3AA Tel: 01302 739460

Welcome 5/5

Food 4/5

Drinks choice 5/5

Prices 5/5

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