First licensed back in 1715, it’s safe to say that Leeds’ oldest pub has witnessed its fair share of historic events, including two world wars and countless ruling monarchs. Unbelievably, it wasn’t until a certain global pandemic hit that Whitelocks had to shut its doors for its longest period to date.
After a six and a half month hiatus, however, the iconic Yorkshire pub is back with a revamped courtyard and the same quality ale and pub grub that has made it so beloved. We dropped in on a busy Friday evening when the post-lockdown buzz was racing through the city centre.
The newly extended courtyard was jammed with revellers enjoying their newfound freedom, whilst the pub inside was also working to full capacity. It’s also worth noting that despite its 306-year history (and counting), the pub has lost none of its charms and still has many of its original features intact.
Needless to say, after the best part of six months spent cooped up at home, that first pint of ice-cold IPA from Kirkstall Brewery was pure heaven.
Whitelocks has always championed local independents, and their impressive selection of ales from the likes of Northern Monk, Timothy Taylor and Ilkley Brewery to name just a few are proof. Food-wise, the pub offers a small but tempting menu of pub classics, designed to complement their extensive range of drinks.
We began with the deliciously gooey Halloumi Fries and Calamari, which was just as it should be; perfectly soft on the inside with a crisp and crunchy coating. For mains, I went with the WHitelocks Burger, which consists of two hearty beef patties, melting Cheddar and crispy bacon.
Packed with flavour and juiciness, it was an excellent choice and came with a generous portion of fat home-cooked chips. Across the table, my companion was tackling the towering Halloumi Burger, which had just the right balance of saltiness and tang.
With just enough room left for one more pint, we skipped dessert and enjoyed a drink out on the terrace, where the slightly iffy weather didn’t seem to be dampening anybody’s spirit. If you’ve not yet had the pleasure of the Whitelocks experience, then you owe it to yourself to pay a visit to marvel at one of the city’s most treasured venues.