Grapes Inn, Slingsby
Hold the front page dear reader (sorry, mixing up my cultural references there, I’m a bit giddy) but have we found a place for you.
It’s a familiar story; sorry village boozer runs out of puff and goes to the dogs and closure seems imminent. But then hoorah! A local couple take the plunge. And with no previous experience. And two young kids. Eeek. But man o man have they pulled it off.
Catherine and Leigh Spooner moved back to Slingsby (Catherine was brought up on a farm down the road) tried their local and found it wanting – you had to wipe your feet on the way out. You know the kind of place. When it came on the market they jumped at the chance and set about bringing it back to life.
And what life. It’s hard to know where to start, so much about this place is good. Leigh’s background in antiques and renovation has paid dividends – each room (and there are several) is full of lovely vintage furniture which looks as if it’s been there for ever. Even the radiators are Victorian. Stunning over mantle mirrors, burnished oak trestle tables, leather armchairs, flowers and candles everywhere gives you an idea how tastleful and comfortable this place is. There’s humour and kitsch too, with a gnarly stuffed boar’s head over the fire in the main bar, fish in glass cases and 50’s Guinness trays on display.
Beer monsters will be very happy with Theakstons, Copper Dragon and Tim Taylors on tap. A pleasingly short menu chalked up on a board includes smoked haddock and spinach, gammon, egg and chips and home made beef burger; I had possibly the best steak & ale pie I’ve had for ages, and it was topped with (joy of joys) a pillow of herby, crusty suet which had my eyes rolling in their sockets. Mum had fish & chips which was delish too. An angel called Claire Hudson is in the kitchen; respect. The final flourish? Vintage Sheffield cutlery.
Those Spooners have class.