Drink cocktails served in disco balls and tuck into your favourite Pot Noodle as Red Door opens its first Leeds bar.
It’s already popular in Liverpool and Chester, but now Red Door is bringing its cocktail obsessed concept to Leeds, taking up pride of place on Hirst’s Yard. They’re famed for their original cocktails, but that’s not the only reason to check it out because this laid back drinking den will be giving us a medley of live acts and DJs in the coming months.
It all started with Lee Lynch. Over the years, he’s had his hand in a lot of pies. He worked his way up from the bottom, starting straight out of school collecting glasses before moving behind the bar and into the mysterious realms of mixology. His talent for making original concoctions got him noticed, and he was soon snapped up by Living Ventures (then LMC) – he went on to help open 32 bars under The Living Room umbrella, as well as launching Prohibition in Leeds and designing the original menu for The Alchemist.
So what does this have to do with Red Door? Well, after 13 years of pushing someone else’s concept, he finally got to do his own. Red Door is his baby, a simple, laid back party bar where they mix creative cocktails, live music and DJs.
As Lee explained, it was built on ‘the third place’ mentality, “People have their home, the first place, their place of work, which is their second place, and then they all have their inherent third place. Some people have the gym, for others it’s the library, a friend’s house. We wanted to encapsulate that third place mentality of American-style bars where you can go and hang out with old friends, meet new friends, chat to people and get to know the bartender on a first name basis.”
But over the years it’s evolved to give customers more of what they want. “It’s a home away from home, but then obviously as the night goes on, the DJ comes on and it becomes that late night real party venue, so that third place mentality has developed – the crowd want to party late, they want DJs, they want dancing, it has just evolved with the crowds really.”
They handpick their staff to live and breathe ‘the third place’ mentality, and all their bar staff are trained in 100 classic cocktails, even though they’ve honed down their own cocktail list to 15 signature tipples.
You can try The Bulleit Spritz, which is made with Bulleit Bourbon, mixed with strawberry and red wine vinegar, then topped with a peach and elderflower foam, or go for something more conventional like the English Rose, which brings rose syrup and liquor together with Tanqueray Gin. If you’re looking for something a little bit fun, it has to be the Candy Girl – think candy floss, raspberries and glitter prosecco.
“One of our biggest party drinks is the Disco Diva. It’s a really fun drink and it’s served in a disco bowl,” Lee told us. That little bad boy is made up of Ketel One vodka, Licor 43, strawberry, apple and cranberry juice – well worth a try if you’re out with friends.
They’ll also be serving food – but you’re never going to guess what it is. Pot Noodles. That’s right, they’ll be topping up your favourite pot noodles with boiling water for the ultimate midnight munchies snack. Why so simple? They don’t serve food in their other bars, but in order to get the licence on their Leeds venue, they had to add food, in Lee’s words, “I am a bartender, not a chef!”
All this will be served up in the former Hirst’s Yard and 51% Bourbon, just off Call Lane. They’ve spent the last month making it their own, but they’ve kept a lot of the character – so the exposed brickwork, will be combined with reclaimed wood, up-cycled furnishings and pre-loved pieces. They have a ‘nothing new’ ethos that makes everything feel a bit raw and unfinished.
Check out Red Door when it opens on Friday 25th August 2017 and let us know what you think in the comments.
The Red Door, 11-15 Hirst’s Yard, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6NJ.