These Leeds bars have made the city such a popular night out, it would be an absolute crime if you didn’t show them some love.
We’re all for trying out new places, and heck, Leeds always has something new to try. But the city just wouldn’t be the same without some old favourites. These bars have rightly taken their place as mainstays and cornerstones of a vibrant nightlife scene that has seen Leeds become one of the most popular places for a night out in the UK, so don’t make a mistake and pass up a chance to pay your respects with a visit.
Leeds without North Bar is almost unthinkable, and thankfully, we don’t have to give that a second’s thought. That’s because it has been a cornerstone of the city’s nightlife for over 20 years, leading the way when it comes to showing off different craft beers and real ales from around the globe. From Germany to Belgium, America and Australia, and of course, plenty of choice from here in Yorkshire, North Bar is an iconic Leeds watering hole that stills pushes boozy boundaries today.
North Bar, 24 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
For something a little more low key, The Reliance has long been the best bar in Leeds to descend upon. During the day it’s a cracking spot for a relaxing bite to eat, a coffee and a read of the papers, while in the evening you can tuck into their hearty menu of British classics with a creative twist. If you’re out for a few drinks, delve into their array of craft beer, real ale or hand-picked wine in a laid-back little haunt you’ll be tempted into again and again.
The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
On the banks of the river from which it takes its name, Aire Bar is nestled in a Grade II-listed building with stunning views out across the water from its terrace. But that’s not all you get here – they have live sports, pool tables, plenty of comfy seating and, most importantly, a bar that’s jam-packed full of goodness, whether you want global beers, real ales, wine, spirits or cocktails – really, the choice is yours.
Aire Bar, Sparrow Wharfe, 32 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
Wax Bar is only small, and it’s almost overshadowed by Sela Bar downstairs, but it’s definitely one you should visit at least once. It’s decked out in pop culture references, from its cassette tape mosaic to the framed retro records, and it’s got a laid-back feel during the day that turns livelier as the night goes on. Grab a craft beer or cocktail from the bar and dance the night away to classic tunes that are played until the early hours.
Wax Bar, 20 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Nation of Shopkeepers
It only opened in 2009, but that hasn’t stopped Nation of Shopkeepers from becoming one of the staples of Leeds’ nightlife scene. Whether you’re trying out something from their varied food menu, enjoying a pint in their iconic courtyard or testing yourself at their tough pub quiz, Shopkeepers is a classic that’s perfect for chilling out in, day or night – just make sure you give yourself time at the bar come the weekend.
Nation of Shopkeepers, 29 Cookridge Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AG.
Since opening up in 2004, the super-cool underground haunt that is Jake’s Bar has become one of the most popular bars Leeds has to offer. It’s blessed with its own still room which allows them to make their own gins and spirits, often in new and unusual flavours. That means whether you’re heading down their stairs during the week for a relaxed drink, or visiting on a bustling weekend, you’ll always have something new on the menu to try.
Jake’s Bar and Still Room, 29 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
For over a decade, Sela Bar has been plying folk with cocktails and craft beers, as well as delicious stone-baked pizzas when you get the nibbles. But that’s not all – music is key to this cracking subterranean haunt that has become many people’s favourite over the years. They specialise in giving you the best funk, soul, jazz and blues tunes they can find, whether it’s through the speakers or live in front of you.
Sela Bar, 20 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
It’s one of the oldest pubs in Leeds and Whitelock’s is an absolute must on the city’s bar bucket list. Tucked away down an alley off Briggate, it’s jam-packed with character, from the brass top bar to the vintage beer mirrors and old-school mahogany fittings – not a surprise for a bar that’s older than the USA. Treat yourself to one of their ever-changing array of ales from Yorkshire and pair it with something from their cracking British pub grub menu.
Whitelock’s Ale House, 4 Turk’s Head Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HB.
One of the original Merrion Street bars that has dragged folk up to Leeds’ Northern Quarter for 20 years, Mojo is still doing the business. You can guarantee yourself a decent beer or cocktail while dancing the night away to some of the best music you’ve ever heard in your life thanks to the soundtrack of rock, soul and blues tunes that blare out of the speakers. It all creates a memorable atmosphere – it’s why it’s still going after two decades, after all.
Mojo, 18 Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PQ.
Oporto has been plying the Leeds masses with rock’n’roll tunes, beers, cocktails and of course, endless bottles of Jägermeister for over 20 years. You’ll struggle to move in there come Fridays and Saturdays, but whether you’re partying away the weekend or looking for a buzzing bar for a weeknight blow out, Oporto will provide it. They’ve even got vegan junk food courtesy of Knave’s Kitchen and they’re cracking for live music too, so why not couple it up with a bite to eat and a gig?
Oporto, 33 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.Cover image credit: © Copyright Leeds-List 2019 by Ollievision