Pay a visit to the city’s finest independent bars on your next night out in Leeds…
Independent bars define a city’s nightlife and nowhere is that more true than Leeds. It’s home to loads of incredible watering holes, all with their own unique charm. There’s truly something for everyone – you can hunt out secret speakeasies, party the night away at rock ‘n’ roll whiskey bars or discover plentiful craft beer havens. Each one will show you why Leeds is one of the best nights out in the UK. If you haven’t already, it’s time to pay them a visit, one by one.
Whitelock’s is one of the oldest pubs in Leeds and a proper local favourite. Head inside and you’ll find a throwback of a boozer that’s absolutely full of character – it’s all mahogany furniture, brass bar tops and old beer mirrors. This is a must for beer lovers with local cask ales like Kirkstall, Ilkley and Saltaire on tap alongside one-offs from around the world. Hungry? Their menu of British classics will go perfectly with a pint.
Whitelock’s, 4 Turk’s Head Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 8HB.
Hyde Park Book Club
A cafe-bar in a converted petrol station, Hyde Park Book Club is one of the coolest indies in Leeds. It’s a Greenwich Village-style bar in the centre of Hyde Park, where you can enjoy a coffee or a huge selection of craft beers, most of which are sourced from the best up and coming breweries in Leeds. If you get peckish, they have a menu of 100% veggie eats, from cakes to burgers. They also host loads of cool events, like book readings, quiz nights and gigs.
Hyde Park Book Club, 27-29 Headingley Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1BL.
A joint effort between two Leeds icons, Brudenell Social Club and Sela Bar, The Social is a local institution in its own right. It’s a cool, spacious bar with an understated decor brought to life by classic gig posters. You can enjoy a trio of ever-changing local cask ales, one of their vast array of craft beers or a tipple from their decent value cocktail menu. When the weather’s good, their beer garden at the rear is one of the best in the city.
The Social, 21 Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JG.
North Bar was one of the first craft beer bars in the country when it opened over 20 years ago, and it’s still one of the best in Leeds. This is heaven for beer lovers. Whether it’s keg, cask or bottle, you have more than 150 beers to choose from. They have all their own brews from North Brewing Co, alongside local beers and rare finds from America, Japan and Australia. Don’t know where to start? Their expert staff can point you in the right direction.
North Bar, 24 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Belgrave Music Hall
Spread across three floors, Belgrave Music Hall has a little something for everyone. Downstairs, you can take your pick from a well-stocked bar full of craft beer, real ales and spirits. It’s nestled between Dough Boys’ pizzas and Patty Smith’s burgers, so don’t worry about those beer munchies. Upstairs, there’s a first floor venue for gigs, arts markets and film screenings, then up again, there’s a spectacular roof terrace perfect for sunny days.
Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, 1-1a Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JR.
Outlaws Yacht Club
Outlaws Yacht Club is an exhibition space, a record shop, a cafe and a bar all rolled into one cool-as-heck venue. Whether you fancy a few drinks during the day or need a place to start your night out, this is the perfect place to go. It’s got a relaxed atmosphere and DJs spin laid-back tunes. At the bar you can expect a host of craft beers from Leeds and beyond as well as a tempting cocktail menu – their Bloody Mary is a must-try.
Outlaws Yacht Club, 38 New York Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DY.
The Brunswick combines craft beer, creative food and art exhibitions across three floors. Head into the narrow ground floor bar where DJs spin the decks on a weekend and choose from a huge array of craft beers from around the world. If you’re hungry, you can take your pint upstairs and tuck into burgers, fried chicken and loaded chips. And the top floor is home to an ever-changing series of exhibitions.
The Brunswick, 82 North Street, Mabgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
This Call Lane favourite is one of the best independent bars in Leeds. Oporto is known for its party atmosphere soundtracked by classic indie anthems at night, but it’s more than welcoming for a few quiet drinks during the day. There are oodles of craft beers on the bar, as well as a vast back bar full of spirits. It’s renowned for its love of live music, so look out for their regular gigs. And if you get hungry, it’s also home to Knave’s Kitchen, a delicious vegan junk food joint.
Oporto, 33 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
Water Lane Boathouse
Nestled on the waterfront at Granary Wharf, Water Lane Boathouse is a gem of an independent. From the same folks behind Belgrave and Headrow House, it’s a cool haunt with exposed brickwork and a minimalist decor. The bar is home to a wealth of craft beers and an impressive artisan gin menu, which you can pair with a bite to eat from the Small Victories kitchen. If it’s nice, take your drinks outside and enjoy the huge beer garden.
Water Lane Boathouse, Canal Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5PS.
If you like rock music, Santiago is a must-visit. This is a good ol’ fashioned dive bar where the tunes are heavy and the whiskey is poured freely. During the day, it’s perfect for a few quiet beers, but come the evening it becomes one of the liveliest joints in town. Expect a soundtrack of rock classics, like AC/DC, Kiss and Iron Maiden, as you sup quality craft beers from both sides of the pond. Need something stronger? Start working your way through that whiskey collection.
Santiago, 1-13 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
The Wardrobe has been a staple of the city’s nightlife since 1999. It’s a music-loving haunt with big leather booths, industrial fittings and raw wooden tables. Slap bang in the middle is a ginormous bar where you can choose from a range of craft beers, gins and cocktails. Hungry? Grab a bite from their eclectic menu of sandwiches, grills and small plates. Downstairs, they have one of the best small gig venues in the city to see the best up and coming bands.
The Wardrobe, 6 St Peter’s Square, Quarry Hill, West Yorkshire, LS9 8AH.
Huge windows, vintage-chic furnishing and a laidback atmosphere make The Reliance one of the best indie bars in Leeds. It’s home to a vast selection of craft beers from around the world, including local favourites like Kirkstall and Northern Monk. If you prefer wine, they’re just as good with a hand-picked list for you to choose from. Alongside the booze, you can devour delicious bar snacks like twice-cooked chips and charcuterie boards or fill a bigger hole with their menu of refined pub grub.
The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
Sela Bar is a Leeds legend. This underground haunt is famous for its love of music. You can expect an eclectic soundtrack of jazz, funk, soul and blues – they even have live bands playing from time to time. While you move your feet to the beat, you can try one of their unusual takes on classic cocktails, like the Long Island Iced Ting, or go for craft beer and real ale. You won’t go hungry either, their stone-baked pizzas are a must-try.
Sela Bar, 20 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
Roland’s is a little bit different to its Call Lane counterparts. This is a grown-up venue with a rustic-meets-industrial decor and a laidback attitude. As classic soul and rock tunes play over the speakers, you can head to the bar where you find all manner of treats. They love craft beer and have an extensive selection of brews you won’t find elsewhere, like Einstok and American Portland. If cocktails are more your bag, their Espresso Martini is one of the best in Leeds.
Roland’s Bar, 39 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
Right above Sela Bar is another independent Leeds gem. It’s only small, but Wax is one of the most popular bars in the city. Their soundtrack of old school rock, soul and blues tunes is turned up at night as their DJs take to the decks. Grab a craft beer or a cocktail from the bar and dance into the early hours. Take a look at the walls too, they’re covered in cool pop culture references like vintage records and retro posters.
Wax Bar, 20 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
The Old Red Bus Station
An old 1930s bus station transformed into a multi-faceted venue, The Old Red Bus Station is one of the best Indies in Leeds. Spread across two floors, you can pop in for a few drinks downstairs, where an extensive selection of craft beers and creative cocktails await, or head upstairs to Cantina for a 100% vegan feed. They also host exhibitions, gigs and club nights to keep you coming back for more.
The Old Red Bus Station, 101 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
Wapentake is a Yorkshire treasure. It’s a charming bar full of rustic, vintage chic where you can enjoy the best of God’s Own Country. Sup a pint from an ever-changing line-up of Yorkshire beers, like Northern Monk, Ilkley and Roosters, or go for one of their locally made spirits. Peckish? Their bar snacks are the stuff of legend, so tuck into Yorkshire puddings, crisp sarnies and loaded wedges over your pint. Top tip – the first floor hideaway is one of the best places to watch live sport in Leeds.
Wapentake, 92 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
Hidden away in the business district, Wino is easily missed, but once you’ve found it, you’ll never want to leave. The extensive selection of wine is hand-picked by owner Sakina Fotheringham and has a healthy selection of red, white, and pink. If you don’t know where to start, just ask and they’ll help you find something that’s right up your street. When you’ve got your perfect glass, order one of their meat or cheeseboards.
Wino, St Paul’s Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2TE.
The Domino Club
A subterranean speakeasy hidden inside Lords Barbering, The Domino Club is one of the best indie bars in Leeds. Head down the back stairs, where you’ll find a candle-lit drinking den with live jazz bands playing throughout the evening. You can choose a vino from their extensive wine list or go for one of their inventive cocktails which they’re renowned for. Then get a spot on one of the tables in front of the stage or hide away in one of the leather booths at the back.
The Domino Club, 7 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.
Distrikt is only small, but this underground bar is a must-try. Pay a visit during the day to try a menu of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern small plates and couple them with something from their extensive cocktail menu – the PS I Love You brings together Santa Teresa Claro, Disaronno, Kahlua, Bailey’s, cream and milk. The cocktails will take you into the night when the bar transforms into one of the city’s best clubs, attracting big name DJs to their decks.
Distrikt, 7 Duncan Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DQ.
Nestled on the banks of the River Aire in a Grade II-listed building, Aire Bar is an indie favourite in Leeds. Head to the iconic arched spaces and make a beeline for the bar. You can choose from local ales from local breweries or go for one of their many wines, spirits or cocktails. If the weather’s nice, you can settle down on the overhanging terrace to take in the beautiful riverside views, but if it’s not, there’s loads of seating inside, as well as live sport and pool tables. Hungry? The Yorkshire Burgaire Company’s creations will fill a hole.
Aire Bar, Sparrow Wharfe, 32 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
If you’re looking for a bar that does just about everything, Headrow House is the one. Split across four levels, start in the ground floor Beer Hall where you can commandeer one of the long benches. The bar has over 60 craft beers to choose from and you can even tuck into Michelin recommended food from Ox Club next door. Upstairs, there’s an event space where they host gigs, and above that you’ll find Redondo Beach, a terrace bar where you can get craft beer and classic cocktails. It leads you onto two spectacular roof terraces, perfect for soaking up the rays.
Headrow House, 19a The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU.
Brudenell Social Club
Even when the Brudenell doesn’t have incredible musical talent playing live, it’s still one of the best pubs in Leeds. They have a stonking selection of ever-changing real ales on tap, with craft beers from around the world in the fridges – and you can get them for a very decent price too. Take a pew in their vast lounge room where they play all the big live games or head into the games room at the back where you can challenge your mates to pool and darts.
Brudenell Social Club, 33 Queen’s Road, Hyde Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1NY.
212 Cafe & Bar
New York-inspired hangout 212 Cafe & Bar is a must if you love dance music. During the day, it’s the place to go for a relaxing drink and a bite to eat, but come the evening, it transforms into a buzzing spot on Brewery Wharf. 212 is inspired by the history of house music and their DJs create a party atmosphere throughout the week as they play huge dance anthems to soundtrack your night and get you moving.
212 Cafe & Bar, 6a Brewery Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NE.
Slap bang in the middle of Hyde Park is the last place you’d think to find a New York-inspired dive bar, but there East Village is and it’s one of the coolest drinking dens you can come across in Leeds. It’s a laidback haunt with a visible love of music, covered in pictures of rock and roll icons. Settle into one of their comfy leather sofas and choose from unique cocktails or quality craft beers. Hungry? Slap & Pickle cook up delicious juicy burgers in the kitchen.
East Village, 47-49 Brudenell Grove, Hyde Park, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 1HR.
Sheaf Street is a hidden gem just minutes from the city centre. It’s a cool venue with exposed brickwork, long benches and a jam-packed bar. There’s a host of great beers from Yorkshire breweries like Magic Rock and North Brewing Co. but they also have a small cocktail menu, a petite wine list and a selection of local spirits. Pair your drinks with a bite to eat from The Grub and Grog Shop kitchen, and if the weather’s good, take a pew in one of their two outdoor spaces.
Sheaf Street, 3 Sheaf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1HD.
Next door to sister bar The Decanter, Thewlis is one of the coolest independent cocktail bars in Leeds. It’s an intimate drinking den in a Grade-II listed building – from the leather booths to the decadent classic cocktails, it absolutely oozes elegance. You can enjoy a host of popular concoctions so treat yourself to favourites like the Side Car, a mix of cognac, lemon juice and Triple Sec, or if you fancy trying something a little different, they also have beer, wine and cider.
Thewlis, 18 Park Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5JA.
Wayward is a small shop-cum-bar in Chapel Allerton. They specialise in natural and organic labels you won’t find in the supermarket. They’re all tried and tested, so if you don’t know where to begin, just ask one of their friendly experts who will help you select a bottle to suit your tastes. And once you’ve got one, you can take it home or crack it open there and then – they even have meat and cheese boards to pair with it.
Wayward Wines, 1c Regent Street, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4PE.
Tucked away in the basement of a Grade-II listed building, Below Stairs is one of the best loved indie bars in Leeds. It’s the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, as you enjoy table service in a cool-as-heck venue with an old school feel. Their cocktails are like nothing you’ve ever tried, experiential creations designed to take you to another place. Take The Sun Rises, which will transport you to a Valencian street with its mix of Lustau East India Sherry, Chorizo-washed Tanqueray Gin, Spanish bitters, fresh orange and foamer.
Below Stairs, 12 South Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5QS.
The Cardigan Arms
A legendary Victorian pub saved from dereliction by Kirkstall Brewery, The Cardigan Arms is like stepping back a whole century. It’s all dark wood furnishings, brass finishes and vintage beer mirrors. Behind the bar, you can choose from Kirkstall’s own real ales, alongside craft beers from other local breweries. Pair your pint with quality pub grub and settle down in one of the many quaint little snug rooms off the main bar.
The Cardigan Arms, 364 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS4 2HQ.
Remedy is a barber-cum-bar with an old school, Parisian vibe. You can take advantage of table service and enjoy hand-picked wines paired with one of their locally-sourced charcuterie boards as classic jazz tunes play in the background. If you head downstairs, you’ll find their secret subterranean speakeasy, Poison, where they create unusual cocktails and host live jazz musicians.
Remedy, 16 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
If you love craft beer, Bundobust is a must. It’s a laid-back indie, with a rustic-meets-industrial decor. You can try a host of craft beers here, with everything from their own Bombay Dazzler Indian Witbier to brews like Kirkstall Three Swords, Veltins Pilsner and Northern Monk Eternal. They have a staggering selection on tap and even more in bottles and cans. Why not pair it with one of their Indian street food plates like Vada Pav, Okra Fries and Tarka Dal?
Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DQ.
Preston is a petite local bar where craft beer rules the roost. This laidback hangout is just minutes from Roundhay Park, so it’s a popular spot for a post-walk pint. Grab a seat on their Chesterfield sofa or nab one of their vintage tables before you take your pick at the bar. They have four cask ales, with brews from the likes of Kirkstall and Saltaire, or you can go for one of their 10 keg lines, which are home to North’s creations and loads of guest brews.
Preston, 468 Roundhay Road, Oakwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS8 2HU.
North Brewing Co. Tap Room
North Brewing Co. Tap Room is one of the coolest independent bars in Leeds. The first thing you’ll notice is the wall of 24 ever-changing taps of craft beer – they have their own brews alongside an ever-changing line-up of tipples from breweries like Cloudwater, Magic Rock and Track. You can enjoy yours in a bar full of colourful stools, geometric wood panelling and white tiles. If you get hungry, head to the Little Bao Boy hatch where you can chow down on oh-so-delicious bao buns.
North Brewing Co. Tap Room, 3 Sovereign Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BA.
The Maven is a cool-as-heck speakeasy hidden behind an unmarked doorway on Call Lane. Cocktails are the speciality here, and they’re all originals, so you can work your way through loads of unusual creations. Try the Velvet Punch, a vibrant blend of Havana Club 3 Year Rum, mandarin liqueur, Falernum and lime juice. Enjoy yours as you boogie to an eclectic soundtrack of classic rock, pop and hip-hop.
The Maven, 1 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7DH.
Leeds Postal Service
Leeds Postal Service is a stripped-back bar that takes its cue from a mail sorting office. It’s a cool and unusual place to enjoy 40 different bottles and cans in their fridges from the likes of Northern Monk, Magic Rock and Beavertown. They have loads of spirits too, including an extensive collection of bourbon. It’s not even just a bar, there’s a shop by the entrance, so you can get your favourites to take home.
Leeds Postal Service, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JY.
North Brewing Co.
North Brewing Co. is one of the city’s best-kept secrets. During the week, it’s a plain old brewery, but on Fridays and Saturdays, they open the tap room, so you can drink beer mere metres from where it’s made. Alongside North’s regular brews, you can try short-run beers before anyone else. While you’re there, hop on the ping pong or foosball tables – or visit in the summer and pop along to their weekly street food feasts.
North Brewing Co. Unit 6, Taverners Walk Industrial Estate, Sheepscar Grove, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 1AH.
Lazy Lounge is one of the best independent bars in Leeds, a laid-back watering hole that’s furnished with chunky Chesterfield sofas and dark wood tables. It’s worth seeking out to try one of the many options on their hand-picked wine list. They have a weekly wine and food pairing evening, so you can learn while you drink, and if you prefer gin, there are over 250 different bottles for you to choose from, including unusual tipples like Anty Gin, made from real red ants.
Lazy Lounge, Unit D, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JY.
Alfred is a chilled out craft beer bar in the heart of Meanwood with a mish-mash of vintage furniture and local art adorning the walls. It’s a petite bar, busy on weekdays, packed out on weekends, and it’s easy to see why. You can choose from an ever-changing line-up of eight keg and three cask ales, full of local favourites. Fancy something different? Delve into their packed fridges for a host of weird and wonderful brews.
Alfred, 6 Stonegate Road, Meanwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4HY.
Doghouse is a down-to-earth, music-loving bar. It’s completely stripped back, with bare plaster walls and vintage furniture. You’ll get a friendly welcome from their resident dogs Ralph and Rita, then it’s time to head to the bar to try something from one of their locally sourced craft beer, cider or spirits, which pair very nicely indeed with the daily-changing menu of bagels. Your visit will be soundtracked by an eclectic playlist of dance tunes.
Doghouse Bar and Record Store, 90 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
Brownhill & Co.
Brownhill & Co. is one of the best specialist craft beer bars in Leeds. It comes from the folk behind Little Leeds Beerhouse and you can get all their hoppy expertise here. They have a huge selection of beer from around the world and you can order yours without moving an inch because they offer table service as standard. There are 10 rotating kegs and one cask, with loads more in the fridge, so grab a table, pore over the beer list and enjoy.
Brownhill & Co., 30 Central Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DE.
Smokestack is one of the most legendary independents in Leeds, a cool speakeasy with a reputation as the go-to-bar for soul, funk, jazz and blues music. They bring in DJs and live bands to create a lively, party atmosphere. You can dance the night away as you enjoy your pick from the ever-changing cocktail menu, which features unusual spins on classics like the Tramp Stamp Martini, which brings together Craiel vanilla vodka, spiced pear jam, apple juice and a sparkling rose shot.
Smokestack, 159A Lower Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LY.
Northern Monk Refectory
Northern Monk’s Refectory is a stripped back bar with exposed brickwork and long wooden tables. This is a beer lover’s paradise with 16 keg taps, two cask lines and a heaving fridge full of must-try beers. It’s the perfect place to try their own brews, like Eternal Session IPA and True North Pale, which are made just metres away, but you can also enjoy guest brews from their favourite local breweries. If you get peckish, their kitchen hosts an ever-changing line-up of street food favourites.
Northern Monk Refectory, The Old Flax Store, Marshalls Mills, Marshall Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 9YJ.
Stepping into Blind Tiger is like stepping back in time. It’s a dark, atmospheric drinking den with a cool 1920s vibe. Think vintage wallpaper, comfy leather booths and a traditional wooden bar. In this opulent setting, you can enjoy craft beers, local spirits and hand-picked wines, but it’s the cocktails that keep people coming back. Take the Iced Melon Bubble Tea for example, it’s an exotic mix of Akashi-Tai Junmai sake, jasmine iced tea and midori bubbles.
Blind Tyger, 5a Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
The Turk’s Head
Next door to Whitelock’s is its sister bar, The Turk’s Head. This intimate little drinking den is decked out in Victorian apothecary-style, so it feels a world away from its neighbour. You’ll find a dazzling array of rare, small-batch craft beers behind the bar, as well as a small, but perfectly formed cocktail list. Quality is key here, they make all their delicious concoctions with hand-picked premium spirits.
The Turk’s Head, 4 Turk’s Head Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AH.
A cosy local in the heart of Chapel Allerton, Further North is great for craft beer aficionados. They have a handful of tables downstairs, surrounded by bold blue walls and vintage wallpaper, but if you head upstairs you’ll find a Scandi-style hideaway full of plants and mid-century furniture. You can get North and Kirkstall’s brews on their two cask pumps or try something from the ever-changing selection on their eight keg lines.
Further North, 194 Harrogate Road, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4NZ.
The original rock & roll dive bar, Mojo opened in Leeds in 1997 and it’s still one of the best indies around. You can boogie to foot-stompers from the last 60 years as hits by the likes of James Brown, The Rolling Stones and Elton John see you into the early hours. The bar is lined with beers and spirits, but it’s the cocktail menu they’re really famous for, especially their rum-based concoctions. Try the Bahama Mama, which brings together Appleton Rum, coconut creme, grenadine and pineapple juice.
Mojo, 18 Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PQ.
The Decanter is a cosy little venue, with low lighting, leather booths and a chilled out soundtrack. If you love wine, this will be your paradise – all their wines are hand-picked and the list changes on a regular basis, so you can try something new on every visit. There’s beers and cocktails if you’re not into vino, but whatever you go for, be sure to pair it with one of their charcuterie platters for a stomach-lining treat.
The Decanter, 17 Park Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5JQ.
Call Lane Social
Call Lane Social is a classic rock and roll dive bar. Exposed brickwork and dark furnishings create a cool vibe that’s taken to the next levels thanks to a soundtrack of rock, indie and soul anthems. As you boogie your way into the early hours, you can work your way through their collection of premium spirits and imported beers like Quilmes, Pacifico and Cusquena. More fun awaits upstairs, but that’s a whole different story.
Call Lane Social, 38 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DT.
The Tiki Hideaway
Above Call Lane Social, you’ll find a completely different bar. The Tiki Hideaway is an exotic cocktail joint that will transport you to warmer climes. The walls are covered in bamboo, fairy lights hang above you and they have two beach hut bars. Grab a beer or try one of their inventive cocktails, which are served in all sorts of unusual ways. The Mai Tai comes in a coconut shell and their famous Zombie comes in a skull-shaped glass that’s set on fire before your eyes.
The Tiki Hideaway, Call Lane Social, 38 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DT.
Jake’s Bar and Still Room
Jake’s Bar is one of the most popular indies in Leeds and it has been for over a decade. Head straight to the bar where you can pick your poison. They have a wide array of continental beers for you to choose from, but it’s the cocktails that really stand out here. They have a Still Room where they make their own spirits and liqueurs, which means you can try all manner of unusual creations, like the Konichiwa, a Japanese inspired gin spritz made with homemade matcha tea and lemongrass syrup.
Jake’s Bar and Still Room, 29 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
Slocken celebrates Yorkshire and all its brilliance. The exposed brickwork is covered in work by local artists, and if you head to the bar, you’ll find a host of amazing beers made in God’s Own Country. They have a menu of Yorkshire-inspired cocktails too, like the Yorkshire MarTEAni, a spin on the classic made with Yorkshire Tea. Hungry? Go for one of their weird and wonderful pizzas. They put on local bands on a regular basis if you’re looking for entertainment.
Slocken, 10-12 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DN.
The Mustard Pot
The Mustard Pot is an independent country pub in the heart of Chapel Allerton. It has armchairs to snuggle up in and roaring fires to cosy up in front of, but if the weather’s good, you can make hay while the sunshines in their big beer garden. At the bar, you’ll find plenty of local ales as well as an extensive menu of wines and classic cocktails. Pair yours with a plate of hearty pub grub, with everything from burgers to sausage and mash.
The Mustard Pot, 20 Stainbeck Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 3QY.
If you like your music heavy, Bad Apples is one of the best bars in Leeds. Black Sabbath, AC/DC and Mastodon blare out of the speakers in this Call Lane dive bar – and you can party safe in the knowledge that you’ll never, ever hear Morrissey. While you’re there, check out the skeleton embedded in the floor and enjoy one of the many craft beers or rare whiskies behind the bar. Time it right and you might even be able to see a live band playing downstairs.
Bad Apples, 7 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7DH.
Calls Landing is a Leeds legend. It offers incredible views across the River Aire from its riverside beer garden, but if the weather’s not up to scratch, you can head inside to a warm and cosy pub with a warming menu of stews. This is a beery wonderland with loads of craft brews on tap and even more in the fridges. Love gin? They have plenty of that too. Whatever you go for, it will pair perfectly with one of their sharing boards or you can be adventurous with their oysters.
Calls Landing, 36-38 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
East Parade Social
Avenue HQ has one of the best kept secrets in Leeds – East Parade Social. Downstairs, you’ll find a smart cafe where you can grab a bite to eat or enjoy a few drinks during the day. They have six beers on tap including Kirkstall’s Virtuous and Beavertown’s Gamma Ray. There’s a handpicked menu of wine too, if that’s more your bag. Upstairs, you’ll find an amazing rooftop bar with views over Leeds Town Hall. Pair beer, wine and cocktails with tapas-style small plates.
East Parade Social, 10-12 East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2BH.
Terminus Tap Room
The Terminus Tap Room is a stripped back bar at The Meanwood Brewery. It has exposed brickwork, industrial lighting and a wooden bar. You can work your way through their latest and greatest creations, from their famous Heroic IPA to their one-off brews and collaborations. If you like what you order, you can take your favourites home from their bottle shop. Don’t feel like beer? They have locally-made gin, wine and cider too.
Terminus Tap Room and Bottle Shop, 8a Stonegate Road, Meanwood, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS6 4HY.
Ten Bar is a buzzing hotspot that brings together exposed brickwork, original features and unusual artwork. Stay on the ground floor or head upstairs, where you’ll find another bar, oodles of tables and DJs playing dance tunes. There’s a real party atmosphere here, so stay a while and enjoy classic cocktails, like the Espresso Martini, or go for one of their unusual creations like the Raspberry and Mango One.
Ten Bar, 10 Duncan Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6DL.
The Tetley is an absolute must-visit. The art gallery is full of amazing contemporary works and you can pair it with a visit to their bar. It’s home to loads of marvellous beers, including plenty of Tetley’s brews, or you can choose from an extensive collection of wine, spirits and cocktails. If you get hungry, they have an all-day menu that’s built around quality Yorkshire produce. The Tetley is a great shout when the sun shines because they have a big old beer garden.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ.
The Duck and Drake
The Duck and Drake is one of the best pubs in Leeds for real ales – you can get the likes of Saltaire, Ilkley and Half Moon on cask, with more on keg and in the fridges. Enjoy yours in an old school pub with a huge mural dedicated to rock and roll legends or head out back where you’ll find a large beer garden. Why not pair your pint with a Pieminister pie and mash? If you visit on an evening, they have quality local and tribute bands playing on a regular basis.
The Duck and Drake, 43 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DR.
The Watermark is an old school drinking den where you can enjoy unusual cocktails in a unique setting. Eclectic art adorns the walls and mahogany furniture adds an old world charm – pull up a pew and peruse the menu of classic cocktails made using home-infused spirits. They’re created by owners Dariush Haghighi and Filippos Filippopoulos, two mixologists who like to get creative with their concoctions. If you visit on Fridays or Saturdays, you can head upstairs to The Living Room, their secret bar.
The Watermark, 3 Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
Cuckoo is as bonkers as the name suggests. There are neon signs, hand-painted murals and secret doorways here, there and everywhere. If you visit before 9pm, you can get a free slice of pizza with your drink. Speaking of drinks, you can get loads of craft beers or try one of their cocktails like the Peanut Butter Martini. Once you’ve got your drink, get ready to boogie as party anthems take you into the early hours of the morning.
Cuckoo, 37 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
Craft Asylum #1 and #2
Salt Beer Factory have two Craft Asylum bars in Leeds, one on Granary Wharf and another on East Parade. They both have a cool, industrial-chic decor with loads of space for you to while away the hours over a few beers. You can choose from 14 keg taps, seven that are dedicated to their own Salt brews and seven that are given over to an ever-changing line-up of guest UK breweries. Prefer cask? They have four taps for local real ales or you can enjoy a wide selection of UK craft gins.
Craft Asylum #1, Candle House, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GJ & Craft Asylum #2, 26 East Parade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5BW.
Vice and Virtue
Vice and Virtue is a luxurious cocktail lounge with a big reputation. They take the same creative approach to their cocktails as they do their tasting menus, so you can expect a menu of experimental concoctions created by their expert mixologists. It changes often, so you can try something new on every visit. Try the Creole Sazerac, it’s a tribute to the earliest known cocktails and brings together Mount Gay Black Barrel rum with Pedro Ximinez sherry, Benedictine and Peychaud’s bitters.
Vice & Virtue, 68 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
The Pack Horse
The Pack Horse is one of the oldest pubs in Leeds and you’ll find it tucked away down one of the alleys just off Briggate. There are a handful of tables outside, but head inside and you’ll discover a proper throwback, all brass fittings, mahogany furniture and traditional beer branded mirrors. You can get a quality pint of cask ale with eight taps on at any time, pumping out the likes of Copper Dragon, Kirkstall and Leeds Brewery.
The Pack Horse, Packhorse Yard, Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AT.
Once Upon a Vine
Once Upon a Vine is a wine-lovers paradise created by Simon Cocks, a wine expert who’s worked in the industry for years. This is your one-stop shop for hand-picked labels from the world’s best vineyards. You can get them to enjoy at home or pop one open there and then – get any bottle to drink in with an £8 corkage fee or try one of their by-the-glass wines, which will pair perfectly with their charcuterie boards.
Once Upon a Vine, 21 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 5LJ.
Number Thirty Three
Number Thirty Three is run by local brothers Jamie and Matt Hanson. It’s a stripped back bar in Farsley, with exposed brickwork and raw, wooden furniture. Head to the bar where you can choose from a selection of great craft beers, like Beavertown, Lagunitas and Maltsmiths, or pore over their menu of classic cocktails and G&Ts. Hungry? Their sharing platters and charcuterie boards are the perfect combo.
Number Thirty Three, 33 Town Street, Farsley, Pudsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 5HX.
Toast is a great little bar in the city’s business district – it’s certainly popular with the after-work crowd. You can get a host of great beers on tap, from continental lagers to local real ales, or go for one of their classic cocktails. You won’t go hungry either, as they serve a menu of pub classics like steaks, burgers and pizza – and if you want to watch the big game, there are TVs in every corner showing the latest matches on Sky and BT.
Toast, Unit C, West Point, Wellington Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4JY.
Assembly Underground is a street food haven with a bar run by Hebden Bridge’s Vocation Brewery and a secret gin hideaway. The former is a 50-beer tap room where you can get their own creations like Pride & Joy or Bread & Butter, as well as guest beers from their favourite UK breweries. The latter is a cool-as-heck nook where you can find a huge selection of local gins. Couple your tipple with a treat from one of the incredible street food vendors.
Assembly Underground, 12 Great George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 3AL.
A bottle-shop-cum-bar, The Assembly is the go-to independent in Crossgates. They’ve created a cool, laid-back joint where you can enjoy a few drinks in one of their comfy leather sofas. Pore over a carefully curated menu of craft beer, wine and spirits, all of which are available to drink in or take out. There’s beer from Kirkstall, Beavertown and North Brewing Co. alongside hand-picked wines and local gins like Mason’s. You can even grab a bite with one of their charcuterie boards.
The Assembly, Terminus Parade, Station Road, Crossgates, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS15 7JZ.
Alley Cats is a cafe bar and record store on the edge of Chapel Allerton. It’s decked out in vintage film and music posters, with a well-stocked bar where you can get craft beers from local and international breweries. If beer isn’t your thing, they have a small menu of creative cocktails like Milk of the Poppy, a heady mix of gin and Cointreau. If you get hungry, they do fried chicken and grilled cheese sarnies. While you’re here, you can play their second-hand records or even buy them to add to your collection.
Alley Cats, 38 Harrogate Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4LA.
Six is the magic number at Hardy’s, so you won’t struggle with indecision. This dark and atmospheric bar gives you six of everything, whether it’s wine, beer or spirits. They also have two cocktail menus, made up of six concoctions each. Try The Yorkshire One, a mix of Mason’s Yorkshire Tea gin, Yorkshire Rhubarb gin, Yorkshire Tea syrup and lemon, or the Grapefruit Margarita, a blend of El Jimador Reposado Tequila, apricot brandy liqueur, fresh lime, grapefruit and sugar.
Hardy’s Bar, 52 New Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NU.
The Beck & Call
The folk behind Belgrave Music Hall and Headrow House have reached out into the suburbs with The Beck & Call, a family-friendly gastropub in Meanwood. It’s got a stylish Scandinavian-inspired decor and each of its multiple rooms has its own personality, from their leafy, spacious dining room to the Tap Room, which has an 80-inch HD screen for sport. You can choose from loads of craft beers or try twists on classic cocktails, which will go perfectly with a menu of modern pub grub designed by Ox Club’s Ben Davy.
The Beck & Call, Stainbeck Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 2NP.
7 Steps is a rustic yet modern venue where wooden furniture meets cool grey walls and kitschy artwork in the heart of Pudsey. The bar is well-stocked with wares from local breweries like Saltaire, Ossett and Rudgate, as well as guest brews which change on a regular basis. Prefer cocktails or wine? They have small, but perfectly formed menus for both. If you fancy a bite, you can tuck into a delicious menu of locally-sourced grub, like Pan Fried Sea Bass, Saddle of Venison and 12-hour Pork Belly.
7 Steps, 9 Chapeltown, Pudsey, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS28 7RZ.
Love good ol’ fashioned heavy rock & roll? Head to Howl, one of the best alternative bars in Leeds. It specialises in punk, rock and goth music, so you can mosh out with your mates over a few drinks. Take a look at the vintage music artwork and posters on the wall before you head to the bar, where you’ll find Brooklyn Lager on tap alongside the rather apt Iron Maiden’s Trooper Ale. It’s no frills, no fuss, just good times with good music.
Howl Bar, 112 Vicar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7NL.
Exposed brickwork, finished steel and real wood create the perfect look for Tobacco Rd, a rustic venue with a party atmosphere. They have loads of quality craft beers from Leeds and beyond or you can take a look at their cocktail menu, which is full of creative takes on classic combinations. While you’re there, get ready to boogie to classic rock, pop and hip-hop anthems. If you get peckish, Alley Cats run the kitchen serving up their indulgent American comfort food.
Tobacco Rd, 5 Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
The Brew Society
A laid-back cafe by day and a cool bar by night, The Brew Society is a smart independent, filled with exposed brickwork, bold painted walls and local art. Head over to the softly-lit wooden bar where you’ll be met by 13 rotating cask and keg lines, all dedicated to local breweries. They have one more, with a permanent German lager. If you’d rather a glass of vino, they have a hand-picked list put together with the help of Harrogate-based specialists Ake & Humphris.
The Brew Society, 26 Aire Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4HT.Cover image credit: Nick Maw