Beer and gin guru’s favourite things about Wakefield

David Owens at Wakefield Beer Exchange. Picture: Mark Newton.
David Owens at Wakefield Beer Exchange. Picture: Mark Newton.

David Owens is the distiller behind Wakefield’s Nightingale’s Gin and is manager of Wakefield Beer Exchange. He has had an international career spanning 23 years and has helped some of the world’s best resorts, training schools, and independent bars.

With the Family.

Wakefield's Nightingale's Gin

Wakefield's Nightingale's Gin

Wakefield has brilliant outdoor space and this is something that attracted me to the city when I first lived here 15 years ago.

When I’m not working late nights or distilling gin at the break of dawn my time is spent with my five-year-old lad unearthing cool things to do.

Newmillerdam is a favourite spot for a wander in the woods, the nature-spotting is perfect soul-food and provides great inspiration for the gin distilling. I’m always on the lookout new botanicals.

Puddle jumping is a top past-time, but sometimes I wonder who enjoys it most.

Nostel Priory. Picture by Simon Hulme

Nostel Priory. Picture by Simon Hulme

Nostell (pictured) is another great place for fresh air and ‘gin-spiration’, the stunning gardens and house are icons of Wakefield’s captivating history.

Sandal Castle provides the same ‘head-space’ for me. The views are excellent, and The Grand Old Duke of York nursery rhyme is a family favourite.

The Waterton Discovery Centre & Country Park is another great spot and they have brilliant educational activities there.

For Date Night

Iris restaurant in Wakefield. Left to right Megan Gordon, Connor Moffatt, head chef and owner Liam Duffy, Jake Finan and Laura Murphy.

Iris restaurant in Wakefield. Left to right Megan Gordon, Connor Moffatt, head chef and owner Liam Duffy, Jake Finan and Laura Murphy.

On the rare occasion that we go out as a couple we aim for intimate venues.

We love The Quarter on Wood Street.

It’s an extension of the Urban Quarter barber’s brand but considering I’m not really in the market for a fancy haircut the bar version appeals to me much more.

For food it has to be Liam Duffy’s Iris Restaurant (pictured) , Jose’s Tapas on Cross Street and the new Robartary on Northgate.

But we are spoilt for choice in that area for great independent eateries.

If we’re out after dinner then George & Crown Yard has loads to offer these days.

Elliot’s has been a staple part of the scene for a long time and Qubana & The Supper Club are looking very smart.

If we stay out late then Now Serving on Market Street is a cracker.

The spirit list is something to behold and the team there are some of the best hosts in the city.

There is always a friendly face and they always perfect serve St Abbs Rum or Nightingale’s Gin!

With Friends & Bar Colleagues

On nights like this you need places that offer something a little more upbeat.

We always meet at Inns of Court for a few looseners before we head to Lala’s on Westgate.

They cater to large tables very well and we’ve always had a great laugh there with the team.

We haven’t had a bar-team night out for a while but we’re definitely due one after Easter!

Tea & Coffee

Al’s Tea Rooms on Kirkgate is a gem, they’ve provided catering to some of our events at Wakefield Beer Exchange to a wonderful reception from our regulars.

My other favourite is Marmalade on The Square, they make great coffee and send the occasional latte over for us when we need a little pick-me-up.

They also do some very fancy sarnies and cakes and have a lovely team so it’s a winner all round.

Something Different

The Artwalk introduced me to our city’s brilliant art scene and the people behind it.

Our Artwalk is a superb bi-monthly event, we have a local record label producer in Philophobia Records (you can pick up their local releases at Wakefield Beer Exchange) and Neon Workshops are always planning and producing something wonderful and are at the top of their game.

We also have Wah Wah Records for the vinyl heads out there.

They’re celebrating their fourth birthday soon and we love doing collaborations with them, our Classic Album Sunday is my favourite day of the working week.

Topping off my Favourite Things list is Eye Wood Vintage Shop on Westgate.

We’ve had stereograms, vintage records, vintage glassware & bottles, pottery, posters, amazing screen print artwork and I find some brilliant vintage props for photo-shoots there.

Nat & Robin have a keen eye for what they do and they’ve been a massive part in our bar establishing its identity.

I could spend hours in there, it’s a real treasure trove!

Nat also DJs at the bar on the last Friday of every month and it’s a cracking event.

I only rarely visit our neighbour Leeds for leisure, I have more than I need right here in Wakefield!

You should all try it if you haven’t for a while.