Early last century, a young maid from the nearby big house at Bramham was sent every Friday evening to the Red Lion for two bottles of brown ale, a weekly treat for the head cook. During these errands, she met and fell in love with the man who was to become her husband. They married and their second-born son was my father.
I came to the pub hoping not to be disappointed. I wasn’t. I am sure the Red Lion no longer resembles the pub where my grandparents met, but it seemingly remains unspoiled. There are three large rooms off a central bar – two with real fires – swirly patterned carpets and a lot of brown and beige paint.
There are no TVs that I saw and only one games machine and a dartboard in the public bar. The place shines like a new pin and throughout there is a warm, companionable atmosphere, with both drinkers and diners enjoying themselves and their easy chatter drifts from room to room.
The Red Lion is a Sam Smith’s pub, so forget guest ales or notable wines – it is the brewery’s drinks only. That said, a pint of Old Brewery Bitter did go down well. The food is excellent, straightforward pub grub including real pies made by a local butcher and served with chips and gravy.
It was refreshing to find a pub still being a pub and, even without my connection, I rather liked the place.
The Red Lion, The Square, Bramham, Wetherby, LS23 6QU, tel: 01937 843524. Open: Tuesday to Thursday, 12-3pm and 5-11pm; Friday to Sunday, 12-11pm. Closed Mondays.