Easy to miss but worth seeking out, these Leeds bars might have flown under the radar…
With so many places opening in Leeds, it’s easy to miss one or two, but what you might be surprised to discover is that most of the bars on this list aren’t that new. Some are hidden, others are off the beaten track, and a few of them are just bewilderingly underrated. They all have one thing in common though, they’re all worth seeking out.
Below Stairs is the very definition of out of the way, but seek out the unassuming staircase and you’ll be rewarded with one-off cocktails in a surprisingly mellow bar. Their experimental cocktails take after-work drinks to another level. Take the Scandivarian for example – you can escape to the Black Forest of Sweden with a drink that evokes the scents of pine trees, ripe cherries and a log fire through its mix of Monkey 47 gin, Aquavit, chocolate bitters, cherry herring, dill & woodchip.
Below Stairs, 12 South Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5QS.
Nestled in the business district, you could easily miss this petite bar, but hunt it out and you’ll be treated to a friendly, personal service in a cool little venue. As the name suggests, they specialise in wine, with a handpicked collection of red, white and pink, as well as a few bottles of bubbly. Owner Sakina Fotheringham will be happy to help you find your perfect tipple, you need only ask, and it’ll go down a treat with one of their meat or cheeseboards.
Wino, St Paul’s Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2TE.
Often overlooked in favour of Belgrave next door, The Watermark flies under the radar, but seek it out and you’ll be rewarded with expertly mixed drinks in an old school drinking den. Mahogany furniture, dark walls and leather benches await inside, along with reinvented classics made with home-infused spirits. You can shoo away your munchies with a menu of delicious morsels served until late – try their whiskey-washed butter crumpets, which are available until 4am.
The Watermark, 3 Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
At the top end of Call Lane, you will find Slocken. It’s a Yorkshire-inspired bar where you can indulge in local real ales and creative cocktails, many of which are Yorkshire-themed, like their Yorkshire MarTEAni. If you get peckish, they have a menu of weird and wonderful pizzas, including a Sunday Dinner one, which is topped with broccoli, cauliflower, gravy and a Yorkshire pudding. If you want some entertainment, head upstairs where you can play pool or foosball during the day, and enjoy live music at night.
Slocken, 10-12 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DN.
Brownhill & Co.
Brownhill & Co. is tucked away just behind Briggate, so you’d be forgiven for missing it. But as a specialist craft beer bar with table service, it’s absolutely worth seeking out. Big brother to Little Leeds Beerhouse, it’s a mecca for rare brews from across the world with a particular focus on Belgium and Germany. They have ten rotating kegs and one beer on cask, with plenty more bottles and cans in the fridge. Keep an eye out for their regular beer tastings and meet the brewer events.
Brownhill & Co., 30 Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE.
Kirkgate may not be completely back to its former glory yet, but it still has a few hidden gems for you to discover. Doghouse is one of them. It’s a down-to-earth bar with a certain Yorkshire charm – expect a stripped back vibe with bare walls, vintage furnishings and a welcoming smile when you walk through the door. You can take your pick from craft beer, real ale, cider and spirits, enjoy one of their popular seafood bar snacks and revel in their cool dance soundtrack, which is pumped out from their second-floor record store.
Doghouse Bar and Record Store, 90 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
Lazy Lounge is tucked away on the bottom floor of West Point – so if you work in the area, you’re probably a regular already, but if you don’t, you could go your whole life without ever stumbling upon it. That, however, would be a crying shame, because when it comes to wine, this is the place to go. They do weekly wine tastings with food pairings or you can just order a bottle and cosy up in the bar. Top tip for gin lovers – their huge menu has over 250 different bottles, ranging from classics like Sipsmiths to rare treats like Anty Gin, which is made with real ants.
Lazy Lounge, Unit D, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JY.
The shopfront may be the same, but Remedy is more than just a hairdressers. The barbers has moved upstairs and the ground floor space is an old school drinking den complete with live jazz and an exceptional wine list. You can get everything from a New Zealand Sauvignon to a Slovenian Cabernet Merlot – but if you want something different, they’re just as good with coffee and beer. Couple your drinks with one of their cheeseboards while you enjoy the entertainment.
Remedy Hairdressing, 16 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
North Brewing Co.
North Brewing Co. is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. It’s a brewery tap that’s only open on Fridays and Saturdays, but if you like your beer, you can drink it mere metres from where it’s made. Even better, you’ll get a chance to try short-run beers from their pilot kit, which is a double whammy of cool, because you can have something you’ve never had before, and it might just turn out to be the next big hit. Finally, they have games for you to play, a weekly street food feast and let you order in a takeaway if you get peckish.
North Brewing Co. Unit 6, Taverners Walk Industrial Estate, Sheepscar Grove, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 1AH.
Leeds Postal Service
It’s very easy to miss Leeds Postal Service – it’s barely a doorway, but once you find it, you’re in for a treat. They’ve got over 40 different bottles and cans from breweries like Ilkley, Northern Monk and Magic Rock in their fridges. Fancy something different? They’re famous for their boilermakers and bourbons. Oh, and it’s not just a bar – at the front of the venue, there’s a shop where you can pick up your favourites to take home.
Leeds Postal Service, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JY.Cover image credit: © Copyright Leeds-List 2019 by Corvin Pamp