Established near the world’s strongest sulphur well by the 1660s Hales Bar would have been known to Tobias Smollett who in 1766 visited Harrogate, in which he set part of his novel ‘Humphrey Clinker’.
It was a lively coaching inn, with coaches such as the ‘Courier’, ‘Tally Ho!’ and ‘Teazle’ arriving and departing. Known as the ‘Promenade Inn’ after the opening of the nearby Promenade Room in 1806, it changes its name to ‘Hodgson’s’ (c.1849) before adopting the name of its new landlord, William Hale, in about 1882. Enlarged to the east in 1856, the inn was a favourite with Sir John Barbirolli who visited Harrogate each summer with the Halle Orchestra throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
Hale’s Bar still retains its gas-lit, early Victorian interior, used in 1980 for publicity shots for the film ‘Chariots of Fire’.