City Tastes & Tipples: Roaring fires, real ale and Morris dance

Sarah and John Earnshaw at the recently opened Polka Hop on George Street.
Sarah and John Earnshaw at the recently opened Polka Hop on George Street.

A roaring fire is the first thing to greet guests at a tranquil and atmospheric real ale pub recently reopened at the edge of the city centre.

The former Bull and Fairhouse, O’Donoghue’s, and Friar Tuck’s pub on George Street has been revamped by John and Sarah Earnshaw and named the Polka Hop.

John, from Netherton, said: “Opening a pub is something I’d fancied for a long time and I was thinking about partial retirement.

“We thought it might take longer than it did but then this place came up and we couldn’t let the opportunity pass by.

“We want to be a rural community pub in the heart of the city.”

Sarah, from Ossett, said: “It was the fireplaces that made me want to buy the place. There is such a warm feeling when you walk into this old building.”

The interior has been restored, with the bar moved to the other side of the room to create an open space in the centre of the hall, while exposed brickwork and minimal lighting add to the atmosphere.

The couple draw on their hobbies and interests, from live music to Morris dancing, and are looking to hosts groups and events at the pub.

The Polka Hop takes its name from a Morris dance step invented by John, who has been a member of Wakefield Morris for 38 years.

The pub has already featured the dancers, with another performance scheduled for next month. Folk artist Will Pound and ska band Skiprat are also due to play gigs.

Folk sessions are currently held on Tuesdays, while a knitting and crochet group is held on Thursdays.

Open: Monday to Friday - 5pm til 11pm, Saturday - noon til 11pm, Sunday - 3pm til 11pm.

Try: The Polka Hop has a range of real ales and is intending to bring more to the table. Owner John Earnshaw wants the pub to play its part in making Wakefield a “real ale destination” and aims to stock different ales to complement rather than compete with similar pubs in the city.