Peek around corners and peer down stairs – you might find your new favourite haunt!
Need a dark corner to hatch a masterplan? Somewhere to slink off to where you won’t be discovered? Or perhaps you just want to really get to know Leeds? Our city is packed with secret cocktail bars and hidden pubs, from speakeasies behind plain doors to traditional taverns off busy streets. We’ve rounded up Leeds’ best secret bars and drinking establishments, so you can discover more about the city you love.
Secret Cocktail Bars
Leeds hides incredible cocktail bars right in front of your eyes, underneath offices and behind old banks.
The Domino Club
There’s no other secret bar in Leeds quite like The Domino Club. Head through the door at the back of Lord’s Barbering in Grand Arcade and down the stairs to enter a cool-as 1920s jazz-loving drinking den. Think leather booths to slide into, parquet floors to dance on and a brass bar top to grab drinks from. From White Russians and French Martinis to signature cocktails, the drinks menu effervesces with creativity. Live jazz, blues, funk and soul is the Domino sound and it plays every night of the week.
The Domino Club, Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
Prefer a night of electronica? Distrikt is an underground cocktail bar in the heart of the city that likes to bring the party. Every week the soundtrack is provided by some of the best DJs and musicians around – all designed to get you throwing shapes on the dance floor. When you get thirsty, there’s an extensive drinks menu waiting for you. Sup classics like Old Fashioneds and Mai Tais or sample creative tipples like their Gingerbread Mescal Martini – the cocktail list here will have you returning time and time again.
Distrikt, 7 Duncan Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DQ.
The Turk’s Head
If you go down enough alleyways off Briggate, you’ll find Turk’s Head Yard. It’s home to The Turk’s Head, sister bar to Whitelock’s. Inside, it boasts plush velvet seating, turquoise subway tiles and one of the prettiest bars in Leeds – it’s glass-fronted and filled with old bottles. On the drinks menu, you’ll find a small but perfectly formed selection of classic cocktails done well, as well as craft beer and cask ales, wines and spirits. It’s quality over quantity here and you’ll find that every ingredient is carefully sourced and combined.
The Turk’s Head, 4 Turk’s Head Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AH.
Look closer next time you’re on Call Lane and you might just be able to spot one of the best secret bars in Leeds. The Maven sits behind an unmarked door, but if you’re brave enough to see what’s behind it, you’ll find a prohibition style cocktail bar. The playlist is rocking, the bartenders are impeccably dressed and the drinks are second to none. Slip into a corner or one of their snugs and try the Velvet Punch, where Havana Club rum mixes with mandarin liqueur, spicy sugar syrup and lime juice.
The Maven, 1 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7DH.
Below Stairs is an easy-to-miss cocktail bar, but keep a keen eye and you’ll spot the stairs you need to descend off South Parade. You’ll end up in a luxe, modern bar with dark walls, herringbone floors, metro tiles and industrial finishing touches. Head to the bar and you can choose from a menu of experiential cocktails that all have their own intricate back story, like Between the Pines. This is a drink that starts with a woody, aromatic gin, evoking forest adventures, and ends with pear brandy liqueur, absinthe and pine soda.
Below Stairs, 12 South Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AL.
Fancy escaping the grey of every day? Get a slice of sunshine at Tiki Hideaway, a secret cocktail bar hidden above Call Lane Social. It’s a 1950’s style Polynesian paradise, complete with tiki bar and delicious rum cocktails. We’re talking classics like Dark and Stormy, Daiquiris and Mai Tais as well as creative drinks that’ll transport you straight to the beach. Try the Don Mixo, a meeting of dark rum, bergamot-infused liqueur, lime juice and almonds. It’s even topped off with a juicy pineapple ring.
Tiki Hideaway, Call Lane Social, 38 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DT.
Blind Tyger is a seriously cool drinking den, tucked away behind an anonymous looking door and up an undistinguished staircase. Once inside, it’s all dark wood, walls adorned with floral wallpaper and framed insects, while illumination comes from dripping candles. Grab a booth and start plotting your masterplan – namely, which drink you’ll have next. You’ll find an extensive menu of signature and classic cocktails, gin flights, shots and more. Ingredients are high quality, some even lovingly homemade.
Blind Tyger, 5A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
Don’t fancy a cocktail? There are lots of quality bars and pubs hidden in Leeds’ maze of alleyways where cask ales and craft beer have top billing.
Whitelock’s is a little bit of history, hidden down an initially undistinguished alleyway. Down it, you’ll find one of Leeds’ oldest pubs, established over 300 years ago. Cosy, atmospheric and ornate, it still has many features from the Victorian era including the copper-topped bar, etched mirrors and cast iron fireplace. You can grab an ale from Yorkshire breweries, a glass of wine or a locally-made spirit. Hungry? Classic pub grub is sourced locally, homemade and served by a friendly face always happy to help.
Whitelock’s Ale House, Turk’s Head Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HB.
The Pack Horse
A historic old pub nestled off Briggate, The Pack Horse always has a brilliant, bustling atmosphere. It’s a proper traditional pub, so you can expect mahogany furniture, a brass-topped bar and old photos of Leeds on the walls. The quirky layout means that there are plenty of cosy corners too. They hold themed nights, from karaoke and quizzes to DJ sets and live music. You can also catch football here too. The drinks menu is everything you’d expect from a decent pub, and the prices are very reasonable.
The Pack Horse, Pack Horse Yard, Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AT.
One of Leeds’ most hidden bars, The Angel is another characterful tavern that you’re unlikely to stumble across unless you knew it was there. It’s buried in a Briggate alleyway, an oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of the city. There’s a surprisingly big beer garden for the location, where you can soak up the sun on summer days. It’s a Sam Smith’s pub, so it does things old school – you can expect a wide range of cheap pints, a no-phone policy and a menu full of hearty pub classics.
The Angel Inn, Off Land’s Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LN.
The White Swan
On Swan Street, a glorified alleyway off Briggate, you’ll find the eponymous White Swan pub. It adjoins the City Varieties Music Hall, making it the perfect place for a pre-theatre pint and something to eat. There’s the best of Leeds Brewery on offer here, from Yorkshire Gold to Midnight Bell. You can pair yours with pub classics like fish and chips, pie and gravy and sausage and mash, as well as more refined dishes like pan-roasted cod with a chorizo and cannellini bean tomato stew. Their musical pub quiz is a must, too.
The White Swan, 5 Swan Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LG.
The Ship is a little pub squeezed in down a ginnel between shops on Briggate. If it wasn’t for the sign above the archway you would never know it was there. The ship theme makes its presence known through the dark-wood panelling, quirky nautical decor and mood lighting. It’s small but punches above its weight, with a bijou bar serving cask ales from local breweries. They’ve even managed to squeeze in a dining room, where you can feast on old favourites like lasagne, scampi or burgers.
The Ship, 71 Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LH.
The Shed Bar
One of the best hidden bars in Leeds, you’re probably never going to find the legendary Shed by chance. It’s tucked away on Heaton’s Court, under the railway arches. The ceilings are vaulted and the walls are covered with album art from their favourite rock n’ roll and indie artists. The atmosphere is electric, helped along by a playlist of classic and modern rock and indie anthems. When it comes to picking your poison, your night here is fuelled by a vast array of quality whiskies, creative cocktails and craft ales.
The Shed Bar, 6 Heaton’s Court, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4LJ.