Wakefield Express pub of the week- Black Rock has ‘the best beer’ in the city

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For as long as I can remember, the Black Rock has always been the pub of choice for the city’s journalists.

Whether it’s leaving dos, union meetings or a post-deadline saunter, then the Bread Street ale house is always our first port of call.

It all seems to stem from the disappearance of The Mitre, close to the Express’s old Southgate office, following the building of The Ridings.

But 30 years is hardly history, as the pub has been going strong for more than 200 years.

A blue plaque outside the Cross Square entrance shows it was a draper’s shop before that and the boyhood home of a future Archbishop of Canterbury, John Potter (1674-1747).

The impressive tiled frontage of the pub also tells of tradition. The windows also bear the bowing courtier symbol of Melbourne Ales.

Inside, is a large L-shaped bar and a landlord who has worked his way up the ranks.

Shaun Slater, 47, began his three-decade association with the pub as its teenage cellar boy.

Shaun, who has also worked at Rumours and on the relief steward Yorkshire circuit, said: “I started here about 34 years ago. I started cleaning the cellar. I’ve had numerous pubs in my time but this was always the pub I’ve coveted.

“It was like coming home. I grew up here. A lot of the older regulars remember me from then. I’m still called ‘young Shaun’.”

During my visit I bumped into Colin Williams, of Wakefield CAMRA, who told me what he liked most about the pub.

Colin said: “It’s the tradition, the historic building and the ale, which is always kept to perfection. It’s the best beer in Wakefield, in my opinion.”

His comments were echoed by former cellarman Kevin Gameson who said: “There’s never a bad pint. I’ve never returned a beer here. It’s one of the best real ale pubs to come to in Wakefield.”

The Wakefield Express would like you to tell us which pubs we should be focussing on.

They can be big or small pubs or clubs like The Six Chimneys on Kirkgate or The Red Shed on nearby Vicarage Street.

Or they can be city or country hostelries like The Hop on Bank Street or The Reindeer at Overton. They can be old like The Black Rock or new like The Robin Hood at Altofts.

Contact: editorial@wakefieldexpress.co.uk or 01924 433013.