City Tastes & Tipples: ‘Elephant has been one of the best pubs’

Elephant & Castle, Westgate, Wakefield.
Elephant & Castle, Westgate, Wakefield.

A ‘landmark’ pub in Wakefield city centre that was faced with closure is being returned to its former glory.

The Grade-II listed facade of the Elephant and Castle is one of the more notable sites coming into the city centre on Westgate. And now former landlord Tony Padgett has returned to take the reins at the establishment.

BACK IN BUSINESS:  Tony Padgett and Jamie Russell, and the 19th century facade.

BACK IN BUSINESS: Tony Padgett and Jamie Russell, and the 19th century facade.

With a mixture of traditional pub grub, hand pull ales, premium lagers and craft beers, Tony and manager Jamie
Russell have big plans after stepping in to save the tavern from the brink.

Tony said: “It’s a Wakefield landmark. It has been one of the best pubs in the city.

“It’s been closed on and off four times over the past two and a half years and a lot of people think once a pub hits three or four closures that’s it, but we want to bring it back to its best.”

It will be the first time in recent history that the pub has been a free house.

Tony, who also runs the Black Horse on Westgate, is banking on his experience of what people in the city are looking for in his latest venture.

The veteran landlord is enthusiastic about the way Wakefield now boasts a more modern and diverse collection of bars and restaurants but knows there will always be room for an old fashioned inn.

He said: “It’s as simple as this – you need to sell what people in the city like or they won’t come in.

“Wakefield is certainly on the up and with a bit of work from Wakefield Council and Wakefield Business Improvement District we can bring a lot more people into the city. And we want to be a part of that.”

Cocktails and gins – including dry, rhubarb, and dandelion and burdock – will be available alongside the ales. A disco, quiz nights and live music will also make a return.