Way Out West Leeds

Our local pub, The Beulah, has been closed for many, many months. I suspect it became a casualty of people staying at home to drink, the trend for people not wanting to drive too far and increased competition across the food and drink sector. In truth, the previous owners juts didn’t get it right – the food was so-so and even the beer and wine wasn’t even worth writing home (or even a blog) about. In this day and age if you don’t get the basics right, it’s game over.

So we were pleased to see it had re-opened, under brave new management, a few weeks ago. I say brave because I believe the hospitality trade is one of the hardest industries to make a living in these days. It’s always been tough and it’s even tougher these days. We’d heard good reports from other members of the Troffers (‘keeping it simple’ ‘generous portions’ etc) so we thought we’d have a wander on and were very pleasantly surprised.

Little cash had been spent on the fabric of the pub, although it was tidy and presentable. We know from Kendell’s that you don’t need to pour cash into the building initially, just get the food, drink and service right. First up was a very well-kept pint of Landlord and those of you who are beer drinkers will know that’s no mean feat in itself. Secondly we ordered a couple of simple midweek dinners: I had a ribeye steak and J had a burger. Both arrived reasonably promptly on plates bursting with food – big salads and twice fried chips (oh yes) completed the picture. I have to say it was very agreeable and great value. The menu is entrepreneurially priced with offers like 2 for £10 Sunday lunch deals and a free bottle of wine with 2 steak meals.

A second pint of Landlord had me thinking we should do this every week and no doubt by the third I’d have been coming every other night! Seriously, I think it’s well worth all West Leeds dwellers supporting this pub what with excellent prices and good, solid pub grub on offer.

I look forward to many repeat visits.


This post also appears on http://theglobetroffers.com/ with other foodie related content…

A tale of two brands

I’ve been quite taken with two new brands in past week or two.

The first is an unashamedly commercial brand that is all about the commercial imperative that all business brands know well. The second is a gloriously arty brand, almost part of a bygone era. I though it would be fun to see them together and talk about them in the context of them being diametrically opposed to each other – or are they?

First up is the Little Chef rebrand. This is the outward facing element of the Heston fuelled revamp that is seeking to change the fortunes of the much-loved (or hated) highway food brand. This is a brand that’s all about the practicalities of delivering a clear message to consumers – we have changed and we want you to know this. This is a beautiful example of brand as a business asset in my opinion and the work we see is the result of lots of care and attention in the strategy phases of the brand and a fair amount of OCD in the application phase to make sure that none of the great thinking has been lost along the way.

It’s a great piece of branding in my opinion and the key to the success of this project is the product. As with any rebrand if the consumer sniffs spin or smoke and mirrors, then it’s game over. This brand will ultimately be all about whether the promise of the messaging and graphics can be delivered on the A64 just outside Scarborough.

Next up is the new identity for the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield. The first brand new gallery to be opened in the Uk for 30 years (I think), the Hepworth has a lot to live up to. In some ways this is a gloriously old fashioned ‘corporate identity’ – a graphic design exercise that is a throwback to a purer, less commercial age when brands didn’t really have to do lots of work, but just be there.

I’ve worked on plenty of cultural identities and they are as desperate as any business to make sure the ROI is visible and the value of the brand is maximised. In some ways the purity of the Hepworth identity is at odds with this and I think it can be viewed in two ways: a huge opportunity missed and a visual identity that just is. Either way. I’m happy.

Sing ye from the hillsides

Sing ye from the hillsides

Sweeping moorland, three counties on view

Insistent wind from the North.

Generator turning, turning.

Keeping the lights on

And the beer flowing.

Cosy tent, in the lee of a rock

Out of the way.

Hand made egg mayonnaise, salty capers,

You definitely need two layers,

Sea Power sound check.

Warm in the pub, fire lit

Summer hasn’t arrived up here,

No matter what the BBC says.

Signal high up, none among the outcrop

Flimsy perimeter fence dances,

Plastic ribbons, waving flags,

Waving goodbye.

Cool bag gets colder,

Transistor music seeps across the moor.

Content to be still, quiet

No wristwatch, no time

Who cares?

Barman says its it’s going to blow tonight,

Taps the barometer authoritatively,

See 20 mph already, he says laughing.

Tent pitched in a scooped out hollow,

Sheltering from the sky

Close the flap, respite from

The landscape, never ending.

Typeface Quiz

The last few posts that included an element of quiz activity proved rather popular, so I thought it would be interesting to put out  a rather specialist typography quiz.

Can you name all of the fonts on the poster below?

Only the purest type geeks need apply!

The great toilet roll debate – where do you stand?

This is absolutely brilliant and will divide opinion across the blogosphere I’m sure…