It’s probably remiss of me never to have visited the legendary Trades Club before. Tucked away down Holme Street, just off the main drag running through Hebden Bridge. You might glance up the street, think there’s no use going up there, it’s a dead end, and miss it altogether. Don’t it’s a real gem, if not a little different.
A potted history will tell you it all started in 1924 by the local unions as a social club for the cotton workers of the town. Eventually the club dwindled and the local Labour party bought the building. In 1982 the Trades Club Social Club took over the first floor which they run to this day as an independent socialist members club, which is a members cooperative. Don’t worry about this though, non-members are very welcome and the venue is highly regarded as a live music venue with accolades such as; The best small venue in the UK (Q Magazine).
Walking through the unassuming front door and up the stairs, it’s minimal, plain, functional, clean and tidy. At the top of the stairs is a long corridor. Mid-way along, to the right is the door to the main bar room, rectangular with seating along the sides, a bar at one end and a pool table at the other.
If you carry on along the corridor you enter what I would call the concert room. I think it’s properly called the Gig room now, anyhow, there was a band on later that evening and they were doing a sound check. Despite the sign on the door, I sneaked in for a quick photo. Sounded quite good too. When the gig started to kick off, they opened a shutter at the concert room side of the bar and you could see (and hear) straight through from the main bar.
The main reason I’d been taken to the Trades Club was for something to eat. It was home cooked Indonesian cuisine by Nin’s Kitchen on Saturday, 4 – 8pm. Check the web site for details as there are different people cooking on different days.
I’ve photographed the menu for you. Decent choice, interesting, excellent value. In fact I’ve done a photo journal of the entire process from menu through to the finished article. I pushed the boat out and had the most expensive item, Nins Nasi Campur – a mixture of most things on the menu, served with rice. Best £7 I’ve ever spent, loads of food, loads of variety, well cooked and just beautiful. Nin is the lady chef by the way.
Everything was washed down with a pint of Wishbone Unfunk (5.5%: £3.90) and it was in excellent condition too. Strangely, with the clubs affiliations, the beer was several shillings a pint dearer than the ‘commercial’ premises we had visited earlier. Not that I minded, some do, I just thought it would have been cheaper? Members do get up to 50p off a pint though.
I was told they always have brewed by Stod Fold Trades Club Gold on, and two guests which are often stronger brews.
After visiting several smaller premises previously, it was nice to be able to spread out and chat to everyone, or shout across the room to those further away. If people have never been on a CAMRA social before then you are seriously missing out.
I like the folk from Calderdale and Halifax CAMRA and our own Leeds branch are both progressive and diverse. Females were well represented, along with younger drinkers, it’s not just all boring old farts. Beards are optional, and I think I was the only one in sandals (no socks). Non-CAMRA members are more than welcome to come along and find out for themselves at all Leeds CAMRA events.