Marketplace Alehouse & Deli - Town Pub of the Season

marketplace“We had no idea how Donny would receive it” says Kath Thorpe, referring to the concept behind the Marketplace Alehouse and Deli. European-style bottle shop / beer café outlets are not so unusual in large cities. Kath and her partner Rachel Brakes had frequented similar places in Manchester before returning to this area.Their new business opened in December 2013 and has grown organically in a way they didn’t anticipate. What’s more, it has won our Doncaster Pub of the Season award for Summer 2015.

The Marketplace Alehouse and Deli is unique in Doncaster and is exactly as its name suggests. On entering, the first thing you’ll see on your left is an impressive array of around 300 bottled beers. They are grouped into categories - local, regional, national and international – and cover all tastes. There’s a core range in each category with new beers regularly added.

On the right is a bar featuring three regularly changing cask beers, which always include at least one from a local brewery. When I visited to research this article, the ales on offer were Idle Black Abbott, Stancil Indian Ruby Ale and Half Moon Full Moon. On every table there’s a menu offering deli boards and baguettes, as well as a specials board on the wall. And, if you prefer to have a coffee they’ve got a wide range of those too.

The driving force behind the business is a love of beer, explains Kath, who previously had a career in law. The staff are all handpicked for their knowledge of beer and enthusiasm for cask ales. They can all make recommendations if you want to take home a bottle or two. It’s this commitment to beer quality which has won them their first CAMRA award.

The Marketplace Alehouse and Deli has grown in popularity since its opening. It has a great atmosphere, especially in the evening, and is limited only by its size. To meet increasing demand, Kath and Rachel intend to soon open a second outlet only two doors away. The Queen, a market place pub which has been a Polish restaurant, will reopen as a pub later this year. It will have the same emphasis on beer, a more extensive menu and live music. 


The Brewers Arms, Snaith - District Pub of the Season

The Brewers Arms at Snaith has been one of my favourite pubs since I first set foot in it. Chris and Chrissie Smith have been the hosts for 7 years and take great pride in their pub. From the real ales to the food, they have set high standards and the pub has a wealth of assorted memorabilia to look at while you enjoy your pint. The bar has four themed areas. One is dedicated to the former RAF station which used to be nearby.

HickletonThe pub is part of the Old Mill Brewery pub estate and is only a short walk from the brewery. There are up to 4 Old Mill real ales on sale, including favourites such as Traditional Bitter and Blonde Bombshell.

The bright and welcoming bar faces you as you walk through the door. During the summer months Chris takes pride in the wonderful hanging baskets that adorn the outside of the pub. The source of the baskets is a closely kept secret. Another attraction is the wishing well, at the bottom of which is a skeleton (It’s only a plastic one!). This is used to generate money for various charities.

There have been a number of improvements to the pub over the last 12 months. There are 6 rooms for guests which have all been refurbished to a high standard. Outside the garden area has been enlarged and activities for children have been enhanced to include a bouncy castle. Further improvements are planned.

Food is of a very high standard and seafood is a main feature of the menu. In June there is the Whitby Crab Festival and in August a Whitby Seafood Festival. It’s not all seafood though, because in July there is a Tapas Night.

Chris and Chrissie are always thinking of new ways to support their customers. The pub has access to a 17-seater bus which has been used recently to ferry customers on a real ale trip to other interesting pubs. Keeping up with the digital times, their website ( even lets customers book a table as well as providing lots of other useful information.