When you’re taking someone out for the first time, you need to impress, so we’ve rounded up the best first date bars in Leeds.
First dates have a very specific set of requirements. It has to be cool, with a great atmosphere but not too loud that you can’t hear your date talk. You’ve got to have a drinks range that will suit everyone, whether they prefer wine, beer or cocktails. And of course, it’s got to be ‘you’ because the bar you choose says a lot about you. So where should you go? We’ve got a few suggestions…
Doghouse Bar and Record Store
The latest addition to Kirkgate, why not discover Doghouse together? It’s a petite bar, spread across three floors – grab a drink as you go in with a choice of craft beer, real ale, cider and spirits, the latter can be whipped up into a cocktail if you like. Then it’s off to find a seat – choose between cosying up on a vintage chesterfield sofa, perching on a stool or head outside to their beer garden, which is shared with Wapentake next door.
Doghouse Bar and Record Store, 90 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
The Reliance is an understated, vintage-chic bar that’s worth the walk every day of the week. Find yourself a spot on one of the cosy seats and enjoy something from the bar. They’ve got a very nice selection of wine and beer, but that’s not the only reason to go, so treat your date to something from the kitchen, whether it’s their homemade charcuterie boards or their famous twice-cooked chips.
The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, LS2 7PN.
Outlaws Yacht Club
There are few bars as chilled out as Outlaws Yacht Club. This Leeds bar has an eclectic soundtrack to accompany its comfy sofas and gaggle of vintage furniture, so pull up a pew with your date and enjoy a little something from the bar. With a decent range of beers, alongside wine, cocktails and a menu of five perfectly paired G&Ts, you’ll have plenty to choose from.
Outlaws Yacht Club, 38 New York Street, Leeds, LS2 7DY.
A petite little bar from the same family as North Bar, Preston is a real local favourite. It’s always busy, and it has a lively, friendly atmosphere that makes you feel instantly at home – which is why it’s so perfect for first dates. Choose from their huge selection of beers or pick one of the spirits from behind the bar and settle in for the night. In the summer, you could even couple your drinks with a walk around Roundhay Park.
Preston, 468 Roundhay Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HU.
The Domino Club
If you want to really impress your date, there’s only one place to go. Step inside Lords Barbering, head down the back stairs and emerge in the city’s only secret jazz bar, The Domino Club. You can treat your new squeeze to rare whiskey for a bargain price with a new cost price tipple every week – or why not try one of their exceptional cocktails? Then just find a corner and watch the band play.
The Domino Club, Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
The Cross Keys
Finding the perfect spot between modern and traditional, The Cross Keys has date night covered. It’s a homely pub with plenty of nooks and crannies where you can cosy up with your date, and you’ll find there’s a drink to suit every taste. The selection of real ales and craft beers on offer is matched by an impressive wine menu – and you’ll find all your favourite spirits behind the bar.
The Cross Keys, 107 Water Lane, Leeds, LS11 5WD.
The Mustard Pot
A relaxed suburban pub with loads of space, both inside and out, The Mustard Pot is a worthy choice for first dates. It’s traditional through and through – look out for their events, which bring the community together with a shared love of beer, street food and entertainment, or why not try their Sunday quiz and show off your general knowledge to your date?
The Mustard Pot, 20 Stainbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, LS7 3QY.
If there’s one bar that has something for everyone, it’s Candlebar. First of all, it’s an Ossett Brewery pub, so the bar is stacked out with real ales on tap and they’ve filled the fridges with craft beer. But they also have an incredible selection of premium wine, with tasting evenings every month to give you a chance to try something new. And if that’s not enough, you can get top quality Japanese street food from Sheffield exports, Edo Sushi.
Candlebar, Granary Wharf, Candle House, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GJ.
A wine bar with a surprisingly diverse array of craft beer, The Decanter has all the bases covered. It’s all dim lighting and cosy seats inside, perfect for first dates, and if you get peckish, you could always indulge in one of their meat or cheese boards. Look out for their wine and beer tastings too – they could be a great way to celebrate your anniversary down the line.
The Decanter, 17 Park Row, Leeds, LS1 5JQ.
White’s Cafe Bar
One of Headingley’s most popular hangouts, White’s is a cafe by day, serving up coffee and breakfast from 9am, but later in the day, it transforms into a cool-as-heck bar where you can enjoy a beer or a glass of wine. Look out for their events, which range from poetry to live music, for a chance to do something a little different with your date.
White’s Cafe Bar, 9 Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 3AA.
A modern bar with real independent spirit, The Brunswick is definitely one to seek out for first dates. Pull up a pew on the benches downstairs and enjoy a pint or two, with a rather exceptional selection on the bar, alongside handpicked spirits like Hendricks and Havana. If all goes well, you’ll be ready to take your show on the road later, with dinner in their dining hall – they’ve got some really impressive dishes here, like squid ink linguini with confit egg yolk and chilli.
The Brunswick, 82 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
One of the most underrated bars in Leeds, Lazy Lounge is perfect for you rebels doing date night on a school night. It’s in the heart of the business district and it really does have all your bases covered. It’s a wine bar, with an incredible selection of vino for you to choose from, but they’re also famed for their collections of whisky and gin. Why not try one of their wine tasting nights for something a little bit different?
Lazy Lounge, Unit D, Westpoint, Wellington Street, Leeds, LS1 4JY.
Town Street Tavern
A nice little spot for a drink, Town Street Tavern has a traditional look and feel, with a decent selection of real ale and continental beer behind the bar. That’s accompanied by an impressive wine menu and the usual choice of spirits – which can be enjoyed downstairs in the pub, upstairs in the brasserie or outside on their little pocket-sized patio area.
Town Street Tavern, 16-18 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4RJ.
A small, intimate bar positioned slap-bang-wallop in the middle of Call Lane, Roland’s is the perfect choice if you’re planning a night of bar hopping in the popular Leeds nightspot. You’ll find cosy booths alongside a private beer garden – and the selection on the bar is sure to please. Choose from a whole range of craft beers or hit the spirits in the form of one of their cocktails.
Roland’s, 39 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BT.
Friends of Ham
Definitely one of the best first date venues in the city (although you might want to re-think if your potential other half is veggie), Friends of Ham mixes good beer and good wine with tasty nibbles that make it only too easy to spend the whole night in one place. With a bright open space upstairs and a cosy snug downstairs, you can find the perfect place for your big date.
Friends of Ham, 4 New Station St, Leeds, West Yorkshire LS1 5DL.
One of Headingley’s hidden gems, Arcadia is a beer-obsessed bar with a down-to-earth feel. You’ll find a wide selection of beer on the bar, and they encourage you to try before you buy, so you know you’ll get something you like. Once you’ve got your drink, find yourself a cosy nook and settle down to get to know your date in an utterly relaxed setting.
Arcadia, 34 Arndale Centre, Headingley, Leeds, LS6 2UE.
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen
It’s the ultimate, multi-tasking venue with three floors of fun for you and your date to explore. You’ve got the bottom floor, where you’ll find a relaxed space, perfect for your first boozy adventure together, while upstairs there’s the event space, if you fancy catching a gig, and on the roof you’ll find the ultimate sun trap on their terrace. Choose your own adventure.
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen, 1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8JP.
Perfect if you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful date bar with a laid-back but utterly cool feel to it. The Social has a slew of quality beers and spirits behind the bar, and you might be surprised by how much change you get. Stay inside and enjoy a game of foosball or slip outside to the private beer garden.
The Social, 21 Merrion Street, Leeds, LS2 8NG.
Kirkstall Bridge Inn
A traditional pub brought back to life by Kirkstall Brewery, the Bridge combines an enviable selection of real ales with a small but good wine list. It’s a throwback to the good old days of public houses, with cosy booths, private corner tables and a huge beer garden that’s right beside the river, perfect for sunny days. Split a bag of salt ‘n’ vinegar crisps and you’ve got date night sorted.
Kirkstall Bridge Inn, 12 Bridge Road, Kirkstall, Leeds, LS5 3BW.
If it’s sunny, Calls Landing is the obvious choice. Sit out in the sunshine and watch the world go by as you and your date get to know each other. Beer is what they do best here, but you’ll also find an impressive selection of spirits behind the bar, alongside a small wine offering. Why not make it a date to remember with a round of their signature oysters?
Calls Landing, 36-38 The Calls, Leeds, LS2 7EW.
Think this one might be the one? Then it’s time to pull out all the stops with a trip to one of the city’s most exciting new additions. East 59th is a New York-style loft complete with floor to ceiling windows, concrete floors, statement light fittings and tailored furniture. Sup cocktails while the DJ plays or head out onto their suntrap of a terrace to take in the rays with a beer in hand.
East 59th, Issho, Victoria Gate, George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7AU.