If you like a wide variety in your life and you are thinking of going for drinks in Leeds, then you are certainly in the right place.
Despite the fact that the Tetley brewery at Hunslet closed in June 2011 (the traditional Yorkshire bitter is now brewed in Wolverhampton which is beyond the grasp of many Leeds bitter drinkers, so they’ve simply stopped drinking it) there are nonetheless nine breweries in the city. These range from the one man Briscoes, via the Burley Street Brewhouse at the Fox and Newt to the considerably larger Leeds Brewery. The latter, although only started in 2007, now has a small chain of pubs so you can sample its products all over the city.
Of course, Leeds isn’t just famous for its beers. If you can drink it you can find it in Leeds. Beers, lagers, wines, ciders and spirits can be found all over the city. If you don’t want something alcoholic then you can find lattes, espressos, teas, fruit juices and smoothies . Not to mention the cocktails. Leeds probably has the largest number of inventive barmen in the north. They don’t call Leeds the cocktail city of the north without good reason.
So let’s take a look at some of the wonderful watering holes the Leeds has to offer.
For beer drinkers the Ridgeside brewery has a range of hoppy bitters and a couple of strong ales (Southern Cross 5.7%) which you can try at The Grove in Holbeck. Sunbeam Ales “the smallest brewery in Leeds” has some unusual beers and can be found at Beer Ritz in Headingley. Wharfebank brewery are based near Otley and have a range of six regular beers including Slinger’s Gold (3.8%) and WISPA (5.1%) which you can try at their pub in Otley, The Fleece.
Toast Bar at West Point, Wellington Street, near the rail station offers freshly cooked meals all day together with a range of beers and wines and a huge selection of cocktails. It is also one of the few bars in the city centre with an outside seating area so you can grab a beer and lounge in the sun. (http://toastleisure.co.uk/).
Mojo in Merrion Street is decorated with a ton of Rock’n'Roll memorabilia and is reckoned to be the top cocktail bar in the north. In fact it was recently voted in the top 50 bars in the world by a national newspaper. Mojo has strong musical entertainment. (www.mojobar.co.uk/).
Tiger Tiger in Albion Street has several themed bars, so you can drink in a Canadian Lodge or ride a camel in the Arabian bar. There is also a restaurant with an extensive a la carte menu and a nightclub. They have a happy hour every day between 5.00 pm and 9.00 pm with 50% off drinks. Well, it’s more of a happy four hours really. (http://www.tigertiger.co.uk/).
Dan Ray a freelance SEO consultant based in the city centre said “leeds is such a vibrant city, you could drink something different every night of the week if you were that way inclined”
Smokestack on Lower Briggate is another classic cocktail bar with staff who can mix anything you’ve ever heard of and then some more that you haven’t. Music ranges from latin, reggae, soul, funk and blues to trad jazz. Open 3.00 pm to 3.00 am Friday and Saturday, 5.00 pm to 2.00 am Sunday to Thursday. (www.smokestackleeds.co.uk).
Livin’Italy at Granary Wharf is a restaurant, deli and bar. It offers a range of fine Italian wines and coffee by a top Italian roaster, Caffe Vero. The Italian cuisine is crafted by some of the finest italian chefs in the north. (http://livinitaly.com/).
Chilli White in Crown Street describes itself as having three floors of pure decadence. It has happy hours, drinks offers, premium spirit and champagne menus and, once again, a vast range of cocktails. (http://www.chilliwhite.com/leeds).
The Reform on Merrion Street has luxurious leather sofas and staff who are happy to take requests and play your favourite music all night long. You can shake a leg on the dance floor while you enjoy a range of beers from around the world or one of their speciality cocktails. (www.reformbar.co.uk).
The Arc, in Ash Road, Headingley, is converted from an old cinema. It has just had a £1 million refurbishment and is now one of the trendiest bars in Leeds. The “beach bar” serves a huge range of cocktails and staff are continually experimenting with new ones. It also has a large south facing balcony so you sip your cocktail in the sun. (www.arcinspirations.com).
These are only some of the places to have drinks in Leeds and you can sample an almost never ending range. Certainly, calling Leeds the cocktail city of the north is a pretty accurate description.