Wine is a good idea no matter what day of the week or time of the year, but ‘where?’ is the question on everyone’s lips…
There’s something so rewarding about finding the perfect wine bar. When a place just suits your personality, fits your vibe or matches your mood it’s like a magic recipe. Maybe it’s a few glasses with an old friend or a bottle of Champagne with a new someone. And if there’s something delicious to eat while you’re quaffing away – then even better. These are 11 of the best wine bars Leeds has for you to discover, and all offer something unique.
Wayward Wines is the wine shop sister of The Reliance and is dedicated to all things plonk. It’s a shop and bar rolled into one, so expect an intimate venue with a handful of stools for you to pull up and quaff a glass with a friend. They specialise in organic wines, so alongside familiar bottles like Cabernet Sauvignon, you can try more adventurous tipples like Pét-Nat that will test the most seasoned wine lovers. If you’re not sure where to start, you can sample your way to a new favourite. Pair your drink with a charcuterie board in their cosy wine bar or take it home to enjoy at your leisure.
Wayward Wines, 1c Regent Street, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 4PE.
The Decanter brings a meticulously curated collection of wines to Leeds city centre. Beautiful old-world classics from Italy and France sit alongside more adventurous bottles that ease the drinker into new worlds of flavour from the likes of Chile. Comparing and contrasting is half the fun, so if you love the ripe red fruit of the La Grupa Malbec from Argentina, then try the mulberry nose of the Illusion Pinotage from South Africa. The exposed brick walls mixed with period wood paneling, high ceilings and leather seating create an atmospheric spot to discover something new.
The Decanter, 17 Park Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5JQ.
Just a stone’s throw from the station, the wine-loving Lazy Lounge has an eclectic vintage vibe with chandeliers, gold gilt mirrors and Chesterfield sofas galore. It’s a chilled option for daytime drinking that changes tune into a sultry den when the sun goes down. This fine Leeds wine bar prides itself on its award-winning plonk list, which gallops from grape to grape. The Rioja Blanco and Dornfelder are particular favourites – but if you can’t decide, why not go to one of their regular wine-tasting events? You’ll hear about the history of wine then try seven of their best vintages.
Lazy Lounge, Wellington Street, Leeds West Yorkshire, LS1 4JY.
Friends of Ham
A cornerstone of the Leeds wine bar scene, Friends of Ham has it all. The rustic charm of long wooden benches is perfect for groups, there’s window seating for people watching, cosy round tables for intimate get-togethers and even a winged back armchair or two. The global wine selection is ever-changing but chosen with care. Expect crowd pleasers mixed with vinos that will broaden your horizons. Try their orange wine for something new and different. The kitchen deserves mention – build your own sharing platter or choose from their curated boards which pair wonderfully with wine – the ‘nduja toast is an absolute must.
Friends of Ham, 4-8 New Station Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5DL.
Once Upon a Vine
This is a special place. Half-shop, half-bar, it’s one of the best wine bars in Leeds. Take a pew on the wooden benches or perch on bar stools and meet over a barrel serving as your table. It’s got character – almost as much as the owner Simon Cocks, who is a genuine wine enthusiast. His passion has filled the shop with bottles to delight and fascinate in equal measure. You’ll find classics sitting side-by-side with rarer, mouthwatering specimens. Think Argentinian Malbec, Chilean Sauvignon and sparkling Bole Rose from Emilia Romagna. Exceptional cheese and charcuterie are also on offer. Dreamy.
Once Upon a Vine, 21 Town Street, Horsforth, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS18 5LJ.
If you’re after something with a little more polish, Angelica is the place you have to go. Sitting pretty on top of Trinity Leeds, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the city. The sofas on the wrap-around terrace add extra luxury while you’re sipping something chilled – with blankets and heaters for cooler days and nights. At the centre of it all, you’ll find a 360-degree bar that boasts an extensive selection of wines, from Chablis to Pinot Noir. But it’s really all about the Champagne here – there are 11 different bottles you can pop, including Moet & Chandon Ice Rose, Dom Perignon and Rulnat.
Angelica, Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW.
This utter gem is the perfect combo of a deli and bar. The bleached peach-painted exterior alone is enough to make you want to enter immediately – but when you walk through the door, the happy chatter, flowing wine and tasty platters landing on tables will confirm that your decision was a most excellent one. They specialise in flavourful organic and biodynamic wines from around the world, so go with an open mind, an open mouth and you won’t regret it. If you find something you love, buy a bottle and take it home. You can even pick up a sourdough loaf from the adjoining deli for the morning after.
Bottle Chop, 14 Weetwood Lane, Headingley, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS16 5LX.
Farrands is a little escape in a surprising spot. With a refined urban feel – think exposed red brick and cool pendant lighting – this place would make an ideal spot for a date just as much as a catch up with old friends. Their superb selection of wines and fizz offer are categorised by colour and flavour, helping guide you to something you’ll love depending on your palate. The Francophile Chenin Blanc from the white ‘Light and Fresh’ section is a delight, especially when chased with a Chilean Carmenere from the red ‘Soft and Juicy’ menu. Why not try nibbling on their ‘Nibble Plates’ while sipping?
Farrands, 18 Swinegate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AG.
Veeno aims to capture Italian wine culture at its best. The Leeds bar offers a relaxed atmosphere where you can sup an array of top tipples from acclaimed vineyards. Sample the crisp Grillo followed by a fruity Inzolia or, if red is your colour, the spiced Cusora Cabernet Sauvignon is a must. You can soak up the glasses with a deliciously authentic sharing board, piled with meats, cheeses and appetisers made using only the best produce Sicily has to offer. Order by the glass, try three complementary tipples in a flight or go all-out with a 90-minute tasting session. Heck, they’re even dog friendly.
Veeno, 5 Wellington Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AP.
This Leeds favourite just seems to get better and better. A true home of creativity when it comes to both drinks and eats, the ever-evolving The Reliance is a place where knowledge meets skill. Looking at the fabulous wine list and accomplished seasonal menu, you’d be forgiven for expecting some ‘too cool for school’ staff, but they’re absolutely lovely. A specialist in natural wines, they know their grapes, so try before you buy and get to know what you like. The interiors are as light and airy as the vibe, with floor-to-ceiling glass windows perfect for watching the world go by, glass-in-hand.
The Reliance, 76-78 North Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7PN.
Eat Your Greens
A most modern mix of grocery store by day and restaurant by night. Eat Your Green is also a Leeds wine bar with big character. Don’t be deceived by the small vino selection – their organic, natural, and low intervention wine list is perfectly formed and packs a delicious punch, the Marsilea Verdejo from Valencia is a case in point. They enjoy discovering new wines and so introduce customers to a weekly guest special. Soak up the sun on the curb-side seating, or take a people-watching spot in the huge, curved window. Hungry? Don’t miss the monkfish chowder or the yummy bhajis.
Eat your Greens, 42 New York Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DY.Cover image © Copyright Leeds-List 2022 by Ellie Hodgson.