Penistone Public Houses - The Spread Eagle

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The Spread Eagle
The 'Spread' is a very old pub and can be seen on the oldest photographs of Penistone going back to before the 1900s, when cattle markets were held in the street. Its general outward appearance has not altered much in over a century. Of course, as with most other old pubs, the interior would have been a series of small rooms in the old days with push-buttons above the wall seats to call for service. It is now in the open plan style.

In earlier times there were two function rooms upstairs which were used for clubs and societies and there was a door near the bar for access. The stairway is now enclosed and accessed from behind the bar and the upstairs area is part of the living quarters. There is also a floor above which was always private.

The 'Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffalos' a.k.a. 'The Buffs' (509) would meet upstairs on Tuesdays but they have now finished. Penistone CB Club was also based here in the 1980s, during the reign of the late John Cliffe. Another historical matter which might add to the atmosphere. The 1980s landlady Theresa Mitchell said that the ghost of a former landlady, 'Mrs. Mac', would sometimes appear or be heard clumping about when the pub was otherwise empty.

Impressions in 2014
On entering, there is a small 'snug' or taproom door to the right. It was often popular with the older customers. Going straight in, there is a long, padded bench seat along the far wall and an open space with a fireplace on the left and a door to the Gent's toilet. To the left again is a dining area open to the main bar area, which is spacious with a mix of seating and table arrangements. Stained glass windows look on to Market Street, with a good view of people coming and going.

In the main area after the bar, there is a small room to the right which leads to the Ladies' toilet and an outside door to the Beer Garden. This used to be the Pool Room. The decor is a mixture of light walls and dark wooden panels but everything is tidy. A digital jukebox on a nearby wall provides background music.

2010 to 2016
Towards the end of 2010, 'The Spread' had a major refurbishment, with new furniture, floor coverings and a good lick of paint, making it a comfortable and attractive venue. However, these were times of recession and it closed in 2013. After being empty for several months there were some signs of activity at the beginning of 2014.

The word circulated that a new tenant had been found and had been about to move in, but pulled out at the last minute. On the wall outside went up a big banner: 'Would you like to run this pub'. Its future was looking uncertain. Then in April 2014, there was some activity and a tidy-up inside. New beer pipes were fitted, replacing some very old ones. Signs went up advertising for Part-Time Grill Chefs, Bar/Waiting Staff and two Part-Time Cleaners.

Two Mikes moved in, one as manager and one as cook and it re-opened Friday 11th April 2014, with the first food served on Monday 14th April. In fact, I was the first customer to have a meal. The Mikes and Joanne at the bar made it into a friendly and welcoming place and the food was good and affordable. A couple of Real Ale taps completed the picture and it became one of my favourite places to eat out. The clientéle was sociable and well-behaved (unlike the old days) and it attracted its regulars.

The menu had plenty of meaty meals, such as grills, burgers, chicken, lasagne type of thing and some fish dishes but Quorn versions were also available, where possible, for veggies like yours truly. I also suggested they might include my favourite of egg, chips and peas or various omelettes. Although the food was good, in its latter days the menu was reduced and prices went up slightly. There was still plenty on offer and it was still affordable, with most daytime meals around £6.

The blackboard outside listed a regular routine of activities. This list is typical of 2014:

There were always two Real Ales on offer, along with the usual lagers and ciders but, in all honesty, the beers were heading towards expensive at around £3.50 a pint, when the Old Crown down the street was charging around £2 a pint. Also, just around the corner, Real Ale in the British Legion was £2.32 a pint. This must have had an effect on the number of customers but it was still a good place to settle down for a pint or two and a bite to eat. Price isn't everything.

Unfortunately, after two good years, it was 'All change' again and new tenants were required to take over. While still in operation, a sign went up: New Publican Wanted 'Trading as Usual'. Call 0800 953 0072. Enterprise Inns. It closed in September 2016.

The search for new tenants had been difficult and, after being boarded up for some weeks, Enterprise Inns added the line 'Free of Tie' Offers Invited. In December 2016, the boards came down again and workmen moved in. A great deal of interior work was done and the outside brightly re-painted.

The newly refurbished Spread Eagle re-opened on Friday 16th, trading under Craft Union Pubs, with a busy night and good impressions all round. It has been said that the kitchen area was taken out, so food is not going to be its strong point. Having said that, a Christmas Buffet had been advertised, so they might be able to provide such as sandwiches.

New 2016 Information
Beer prices (from sandwich board) are cheap and competitive with such as the Old Crown and the Royal British Legion nearby:
Carling £2.20, John Smith's £2, Coors £2.30, Worthington's £1.85, Strongbow £2.30 and what looks like a darker Strongbow £2.50.
Bottled beers and soft drinks are available, along with the usual pub snacks.
The Real Ale drinker has not been forgotten either, with at least two guest beers on tap.

New Opening times (from sandwich board):
From 10am every day until midnight Monday - Thursday, 1am Friday/Saturday and until 11pm on Sunday.

The first shot is a typical outdoor view from 2007. Around the back is a beer garden and car park, which doubles as a smoking area. This view is from 2010. The car park is accessible from the pedestrianised Market Barn entrance on Back Lane and can hold perhaps eight cars if they 'park pretty'. The fourth picture is from April 2014, with a view of the dining area just to the left inside the front door. On the second row, we have a view looking back towards the dining area from the far side and a view of the main area, as seen from the same place. The third and fourth pictures on this row are of the taproom, or 'snug' and that is one of the Daves serving behind the bar.

Outside Spreadspread eagleSpread Eagle Beer GardenDining Room

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