The Quakerhouse opened as a Licensed Bar in October 1998 having undergone major alterations from the old Quaker Coffee House. The building was originally 3 cottages built in the late 1700′s when the yard was active with tradesmen such as coopers and blacksmiths. Mechanics Yard as it is known now used to be known as Betty Hobson’s yard indeed it is thought that Betty still haunts the yard. Whether there is any connection between this and our resident ghost, Ethel, we can’t be sure but there are plenty of stories going around, so draw your own conclusions.Steve Metcalfe started here as manager in 2002 and installed four real ales, then increased capacity by adding another two, taking it to six in total. They then developed a house ale in connection with Darwin Brewery naming it Ghost Ale after our resident spook.
In June 2002 the pub was sold to the Tadcaster Pub Co. Steve and his partner Lynda bought the lease and traded for just over a year under a tied house, which limited buying power in the real ale market. Long negotiations with the Tadcaster Pub Co. eventually led to going free of tie. This obviously had its drawbacks with a sharp increase in rent, etc but also led to an increased variety in real ale provision, through adding an extra four hand pumps, three of these were resident all the time Jarrow Rivet Catcher, Greene King Abbot Ale and Westons Old Rosie Cider .
In October 2008 The Quaker was amongst 30 pubs sold by Tadcaster to Scottish & Newcastle. Sadly, it was a return to the dark days of full tie. The combination of high rent and limited cask availability, forced Steve to call it a day in February 2009. Closure was imminent (in fact it did close for one day), and that’s where we, Brian Dourish and Garry Hewitt, stepped in. We were able to run things virtually free of tie until S & N, in their wisdom decided the pub was not in their portfolio image, and promptly put it on the market. However, as sitting tenants, we were given first option to buy. Through a long period of intense negotiation, The Quakerhouse, (now re-named) became freehold on October 30th 2009. We would like to truly thank all those who have supported our battle.
The Quaker has been voted CAMRA pub of the year now ten times in Eleven years, the last being this years, 2012. Also we were honored with a bronze award in the regional pub of the year. Improvements are ongoing but there will not be any change to the unique atmosphere to which we hold dear, and there will be an ever growing commitment to provide an increasing choice of top quality real ales!
The Quakerhouse is also renowned as being one of the best venues for rock music on Wednesday nights, a reputation that has been achieved by attracting great musicians, and an appreciative and knowledgeable audience. Long may it ‘rock’