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City Tastes and Tipples: A bear, ghosts and a really big beer garden

The Black Horse on Westgate, Wakefield. Tony Padgett, Joe Clarkson and Amy Dermody.
The Black Horse on Westgate, Wakefield. Tony Padgett, Joe Clarkson and Amy Dermody.

It’s an unusual pair of accolades to boast the biggest beer garden in Wakefield city centre and to be the most haunted pub in Yorkshire.

But that’s the claim to fame for the Black Horse on Westgate, which is looking to capitalise on the arrival of summer and make the most of ghostly goings-on in the cellar.

The Black Horse on Westgate, Wakefield.

The Black Horse on Westgate, Wakefield.

The pub takes a more modern approach in its style than its traditional sister pub across the road, the Elephant and Castle.

It focuses on premium-end drink and food, has recently launched a new menu, and opens until after 2am on weekends.

Landlord Tony Padgett has been looking into the history of the pub, which was built in 1816.

He said: “Some paranormal investigators came to look with their cameras and sensors.

“They had so much kit is was like something out of NASA.”

He said the resident ghost could be linked to a woman who was killed by a bear in the beer garden back when there was a Victorian zoo at what is now the Orangery, by Westgate station.

He said the bear became frustrated and decided to leave its pit, which was not deep enough, when a biscuit salesman teased it.

He said: “We’re going to put something on the wall that will tell the story. It’s quite a unique bit of history – not that many people have been killed by a bear in Wakey.”

The pub now hosts open mic nights on Thursdays and Tony is hoping to get planning permission approved to revamp the 300-capacity beer garden, which has recently picked up a taste for holding barbecues and hog roasts on sunny days.