With a cool decor, foot-tapping soundtracks and craft beer on tap, these awesome indies are worth seeking out…
It’s time to give some love to Leeds’ fantastic but sometimes overlooked indie bars. From craft beer specialists to rock ’n’ roll drinking dens, these five bars are full of cool quirks that set them apart from the rest of the city’s lively nightlife scene. So the next time you’re heading out for a few drinks, break the mould and give them a try. You won’t regret it.
The Social is the place to go for cheap and cheerful drinks in Leeds. You can enjoy a cheap Carlsberg or a bargain Kirkstall cask ale, but there’s more to it than booze. With exposed brickwork, patterned walls and a jigsaw-effect wooden bar, it’s got a laidback but undeniably cool feel. It’s quieter in the week with an on-point soundtrack at a sensible volume, making it a great spot to catch up with your mates, but at the weekend it comes alive with revellers on their way to the many bars of Merrion Street or to gigs at the nearby arena.
The Social, 21 Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8GJ.
Doghouse is a charming drinking den nestled on Kirkgate, decked out with shabby chic furniture, an industrial style bar and local artwork. They have a fantastic selection of international craft beers on offer, with a line-up of tempting hand-pulls alongside bottles from Barcelona, Mexico and the USA. Prefer something local? You’ll always have wonderful Yorkshire cask ales to choose from here. You shouldn’t leave hungry, either – they have a belly-filling menu of amazing bagels to hit the spot. Anyone for a Philly cheesesteak bagel? Yes please!
Doghouse, 93 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
You can escape from the usual rowdiness of Call Lane at Roland’s, a relaxed and stylish little bar. Good drinks and good music are the order of the day, so expect quality beers and well-crafted cocktails served to a playlist of easy-listening Motown and soul classics. There’s always something new and intriguing to try, whether it’s a bottle of Icelandic Einstok beer or their fruity, gin-based Perfect Lady cocktail. The hidden beer terrace is a peaceful spot in the heart of the city and keep your eyes peeled for their pop-up food residencies.
Roland’s Bar, 39 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
You can’t get more rock ’n’ roll than Northern Guitars, a bar and guitar shop rolled into one. Gig posters and prints of rock gods are plastered across the walls, and at the bar you’ll find great local beers like Kirkstall’s Virtuous and Leeds Best alongside craft ales, ciders and spirits. A music-centric bar needs a killer soundtrack, and they don’t disappoint, with everything from The Clash to Bowie blaring out of the speakers. You can even catch free gigs and shop for your next toy upstairs while you’re here, so if you’re a music lover, it’s a must-visit.
Northern Guitars, 41 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
Outlaws Yacht Club
If you haven’t been to Outlaws Yacht Club yet, you need to pay this casual hang-out a visit ASAP. You can enjoy a relaxed drink, play retro board games and browse local art as you settle in on their comfy sofas. Their craft beers are carefully selected and their cocktails are seriously inventive, so you can sup everything from fruit beers to a Jammy Rodger – a mix of spiced rum, lime, coconut, pineapple and blackcurrant. Pair your pick with their pork pies or grilled cheese sarnies, flick through the record racks and enjoy DJs and live music on weekends.
Outlaws Yacht Club, 38 New York Street, Leeds West Yorkshire, LS2 7DY.Cover image credit: © Copyright Leeds-List 2023