‘Pre-night out drinks and food at the Calder – I want that to be a staple of any evening in Wakefield. I want there to be no question about where you go first because that’s the way it used to be at this pub.’
Sam Cotterell took over as manager at the Calder and Hops in May this year with a view to breathing some new life into the Northgate pub.
He has taken inspiration from the pub’s history as The Gate, which was widely considered to be a meeting point.
He said: “So many of the customers I’ve spoken to since I’ve moved here remember the phrase ‘meet at The Gate at eight’ – I want to continue that.
“It’s never going to be a late-night venue. I don’t want to transform it into a nightclub or anything like that, I just want to make sure if you go out in Wakefield you come to the Calder and Hops for your first drinks. I want us to keep that up. I want us to be the best pub in Wakefield.”
The 26-year-old’s enthusiasm for pub work is plain to see but his first foray into bar work, at his local in Ilkeston, Derbyshire, was quite different.
“It was the main place to go in the town and I kind of didn’t want the job in the first place,” he said.
“It was where my mates went every single weekend and I thought, ‘I don’t want to be stuck behind the bar’.
“But I absolutely loved it – I loved every minute of it.”
Since then Sam’s worked at bars in London and the Midlands before moving to Wakefield.
The pub’s calendar includes food and drink offers throughout the week and salsa classes on Thursdays.