In part two of Wakey’s Best Bits, we asked our students for their top picks of places to quench the thirst and tickle the tastebuds.
Did you know that Wakefield is famed for being the capital of the Rhubarb Triangle, with its own festival to celebrate just that? And with that fun little fact, we can segway nicely into part two of our Wakey’s Best Bits as we give you just a taste [pun definitely intended] of our students’ favourite spots to eat, drink and be ‘Merrie’.
On our whistle-stop tour of some of Wakefields watering holes & eateries, we also stopped by a very special exhibition from Backstage Academy’s third-year BA (Hons) Live Events Production students, Elicia Freemantle & Sasha Kite. Hosted in the upper mall of The Ridings Shopping Centre, Wakefield On Tap celebrates and commemorates the memories, perspectives and facts surrounding Wakefield and its iconic hospitality industry through a collection of photographs, artefacts, posters, local perspectives and videos which reflect on Wakefield’s nightlife.
First up, it’s over to our knowledgeable group of Backstage students.
Qubanas © Be Wakefield, 2021
I really enjoy going to the Ruddy Duck next to the Hepworth Gallery. It’s a great place to sit outside with your friends beside the canal and enjoy the sun during the summer.
Ellis, 1st year BA (Hons) Stage & Production Management
Ooo, where to start! For a good, hearty and affordable meal, I really enjoy going to the Toby Carvery and the Ruddy Duck. Both have cheap alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. In terms of bars, however, I really like Qubana and Kindred Spirit! Although a little bit on the pricey side, they're really awesome and lovely places to have a few bevs!
Leo, 2nd year BA (Hons) Live Events Production
My favourite places to drink in Wakefield are The Supper Club, Qubanas and The Golden Pineapple. Favourite places to eat are above, as well as Mr and Mrs C’s, Prego and Fino.
Becky, 2nd year BA (Hons) Stage & Production Management
Qubana © Be Wakefield, 2021
One of my all-time favourite places to eat is at Smokehouse, situated right in the centre of Wakefield. The food is absolutely to die for.
Erika, 2nd year BA (Hons) Live Events Production
I love Hinnits bakery which is located near campus. Best brew ever. [Brew = a cup of Yorkshire tea]
Gee, 1st year BA (Hons) Stage & Production Management
My favourite place to drink and eat in Wakefield would be the local spoons [Whetherspoons] as it’s affordable and the food is nice. I also like the Counting House as they do delicious food.
Maisy, 2nd year BA (Hons) Stage & Production Management
We’d also recommend paying a visit to the team at Corarima. Vegan friendly, gluten-free & lovingly prepared by Ethiopian and Eritrean chefs - Corarima is most definitely Abyssinian cooking at its best! They’re even launching online cooking courses!
Last but not least, make sure to call into Create Cafe: "where good food and people matter", serving fresh, great quality lunches. With a vision to help those in society who may not be as fortunate as others, the flagship cafe provides people with learning difficulties or other mental health issues to experience the world of work.
Create Cafe © Be Wakefield, 2021
Next stop, a final word on ‘Wakefield On Tap’. Sasha & Elicia have created more than just an exhibition. They’ve sparked reminiscence and conversation about Wakefield’s hospitality industry, from the heydays of Casanovas & Rooftop Garden to championing the future of the Merrie City.
Wakefield’s nightlife has a history full of culture and served as a home for many amazing venues. This is a chance to learn and discover the important role played by our nightlife - past and present.
Elicia Freemantle, 3rd year BA (Hons) Live Events Production
The exhibition presents a brilliant collection of film, photography, poetry, artwork and memories, plus a selection of former ticket stubs that will be sure to make you crack a smile!
That’s one of the things we wanted to achieve from the project, bringing those memories back to people. I think we definitely ticked this box as we’ve had so many people coming in saying "oh I remember that night out" or "do you remember this night?" This has definitely been a highlight for us!
Sasha Kite, 3rd year BA (Hons) Live Events Production
Wakefield On Tap comes at a poignant time for Wakefield’s Westgate. The Upper Westgate Heritage Action Zone is a four-year partnership between Historic England and Wakefield Council.
Having recently been awarded £1.9m from Historic England, which will be equally matched by the council, the Upper Westgate area will undergo regeneration and investment into its historic buildings and public realm. Bringing back its character and supporting features that make Westgate a unique and attractive destination for culture, creativity and community.
Find out more about the Upper Wakefield Heritage Action Zone here.
From beauty pageants to getting a birthday voucher in the post, there’s nothing quite like taking a trip down memory lane. Like many cities and cultural spaces, Wakefield is evolving. Maybe this will mean the return of 10p pints and free chicken on a night out … here’s hoping!
Wakefield On Tap is open daily 10 am - 4 pm on the 24th & 25th May, with a special late-night opening as part of Artwalk Wakefield until 9 pm, Wednesday 26th May.
Find Wakefield On Tap on Facebook @WakeyOnTap
Read more about Artwalk Wakefield and how to get involved here and @artwalkwakefield
For more places to eat & drink in and around Wakefield, check out Experience Wakefield.