A brief history of the Hales Bar…
Certainly the most historic and oldest pub in Harrogate, this establishment has a history going back to the earliest days of the town’s emergence as a leading spa resort.
Originating as one of the first inns for spa visitors after sulphur wells were first established in the mid-17th century. Sulphur springs still flow beneath the cellar and their distinctive odours occasionally percolate up to the bar area.
The premises were rebuilt circa 1827 and known as The Promenade Inn. At this time it was a most successful coaching inn. It was enlarged in 1856 and known as Hodgson’s until 1882 when William Hales became the landlord.
Although the smaller bar has lost its historic character, the main saloon bar preserves it well, with mirrors and other interesting features and fittings from the Victorian era, including traditional gas lighting and cigar lighters.
The inn would have been known to Tobias Smollett who in May 1766 visited Harrogate in which he set part of his novel Humphry Clinker. Used by Sir John Barbirolli as his favourite when the Halle Orchestra visited to play in the town, it was also used for interior scenes in the film Chariots of Fire.