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The Adelphi

John George loves the Adelphi even if the Tetley’s all wrong

Published on March 4th 2008.

The Adelphi

The Adelphi pub still doesn’t disappoint. It’s a classic late nineteenth century gem, its several rooms split by elaborate carved wooden partitions full of columns and cornices. There’s good tilework and glass too.

Pubs work best when the atmosphere is right, when it’s comfortable, easy. CAMRA, the real ale boffins, always fail with this, for them it’s all about the beer.

Not so long ago it underwent a minor refurb. The only sour notes from this come via the addition of silly lampshades in that faux glamour say of a bar chain such as Prohibition. Much better is the curious, given the shade, wallpaper of huge red roses in a back room. The garden, now the smoking garden of course, is one of the best in central Leeds, and colourful and jolly, draped in fairy lights.

It still feels recognisably a pub beyond the décor too. Why? Because it’s got a mixed age group clientele is why. I sat for a drink with someone about to go off and make her fortune in London and as she went to the bar listened to the neighbouring conversations. Eavesdropping is not only allowable in pubs, it’s required.

On one side were four men in their sixties, talking slowly and laughing. “Want another one, Alf?” said one. “Just half for me,” came the reply, “I want to walk out.”

On the other side one of the most awkward conversations I’ve heard in recent times was going on between a Brit, with an RP accent delivered in dithery Hugh Grant; and an American, clearly from somewhere like Smallville without the adolescent super-heroes. Both were seemingly fresh out of college, and now working in suits.

“Haggis is Scottish, isn’t it?” said Yank. “It is, I like it,” said Brit. “It’s made out of pig’s stomach or something, I guess?” said Yank. “Yes, but they don’t put any other offal in there,” said Brit, getting it totally wrong and continuing wrong with, “they serve it with neeps and tatties, neeps are parsnips.” There was pause. “So how’s your wife?” said the Yank. Brit was confused – his wife? “I mean is she pretty, clever, you know?” said Yank going redder as though he might be mistaken for a man on a wife-stealing vacation. “Er, she’s all right,” said nervous Brit, “a good laugh.” The American, was puzzled. You could see him thinking, what? Does that mean she laughs in a nice way? Why would you describe your wife like that? “That’s nice,” he said doubtfully.

Nothing much to do with the Adelphi that exchange but the sort of languid craziness you want in a pub. Meanwhile behind and above the conversation wafted the restrained tunes of decent Indie stuff, the Smiths, Richard Hawley.

The food boards are over fussy, two much going on that’s just not pub, too much halloumi and lamb kofte skewers. It’d be better if the Adelphi stuck to it’s splendid Shepherd’s Pie (£6.70), rich and robust: that fits the looks and tradition of the pub much better. The fish fingers in a bap with lime mayo (£4.30) sounds interesting although I’m not sure in a good way.

For beer I had Tetley Bitter, produced 400 yards to the rear and now, of course, owned by Carlsberg. It was probably one of the most disappointing bitters I’ve had so close to a brewery, thin and watery. This isn’t always the case I’ve had some wonderfully smooth Tetleys in the Adelphi.

But that’s the way with pubs. The drink might be not up to scratch – although that makes the experience even better - but you have a great time anyway. Pubs work best when the atmosphere is right, when it’s comfortable, easy. CAMRA, the real ale boffins, always fail with this, for them it’s all about the beer, when a good pub is about so much else. The Adelphi is popular, is a success, because it’s a lively city pub first and foremost – with a good entertainment programme too. The buzz, the people, the décor makes a place you want to come back to, again and again.

Rating: 15/20
Breakdown: 3/5 Food
3/5 Drink
5/5 Decor
4/5 Ambience
Address: The Adelphi
1-3 Hunslet Rd
LS10 1JQ
0113 245 6377

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Linda BrownMarch 4th 2008.

Re the Adelphi site. Looked on it - thought it was worth a visit. However, looked at the events page, only to see that the update was 2006. Tried to email - to check event out, no email address that I could see. little rant - honest. ...............

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