Lucky little Branton, near Doncaster, has two good little locals – a little further up the road from The Three Horseshoes is The Eagle and Child, and both seem to be doing rather well.
The Shoes isn’t a particularly distinguished building, standing next to the main road to Finningley. It reminds you of the Tardis, in that the frontage belies a roomy place with a selection of bars, nooks and crannies.
It serves some good ales – a fine pint of Bombardier, for example – and John Smiths (prices displayed on the pumps), and the menu is compact but wide-ranging, mainly concentrating on sizzling steaks and pies. Children are very welcome, and if you want to visit the nearby Yorkshire Wildlife Park, and you don’t want to drink and drive, the bus stops for the venue (you’ll be on the number 91) are almost exactly outside the pub and on either side of the road.
Decoratively, there’s not a lot to catch the eye. But that’s not a problem, for this is your basic, spotlessly clean, well-ordered and run, local. It’s a “something for everyone” establishment – one lady was sitting doing the lunchtime crossword with a glass of white wine at her elbow, another group of senior citizens were happily finishing their meal with a good gossip, and someone else was concentrating on the racing on the flatscreen TV. A cyclist, in full and eye-scorching Lycra and with toned bare legs wandered in and no one turned a hair. There are generously-sized outside tables, and ample car parking.
Not a picturesque pub, but service comes with a big smile and that counts for a lot.