Looking for the best beer gardens in Leeds? Then you’ve come to the right place, because we’ve rounded up the finest outdoor drinking spots in the city centre…
Sunshine is a rarity in the UK, so when those lovely summer days do come around, we inevitably want to make the most of them – and what better way to do it than by visiting one of Leeds’ finest beer gardens? From rooftop terraces to riverside locations, you’ll find the city centre’s best and most underrated beer gardens right here.
1. Headrow House
One of Leeds’ newest beer gardens, Headrow House will take you to the heady heights of their second floor roof terrace – or even the third floor Kennedy Meadows which offers views over the Victoria Quarter. As the sister bar to Belgrave Music Hall, our expectations are set understandably high, although they’re not quite as well positioned to catch the sun’s rays.
It’s got just about everything you need out on the terrace – oodles of seating, a bar and even a kitchen, in case you need to line your stomach as well as quench your thirst. Redondo Beach is the connecting bar, with its pint-sized cocktail menu, but you can always head downstairs to the beer hall if you want something a little more long-lasting.
Headrow House, Bramleys Yard, 19 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU.
2. Parkside Tavern
Parkside Tavern has not one, not two, but three beer gardens – plenty of space to pull up a pew with a beer in hand. You can even rent them out for your private party, snagging your own little city centre sunspot.
Inside, you’ll find a bar filled with local treats – the selection of beers on offer constantly changes, as they bring in the breweries you know, along with those you’ve probably never tried before. Add wine, spirits and cocktails galore, with a Secret Pizza Company menu that suits summer to a T and you’re all set for a great day out. If the sun should disappear behind the clouds, why not nip inside for a game of pool?
Parkside Tavern, St John’s House, Merrion Street, Leeds, LS2 8JE.
The latest addition to City Square, Banyan has arrived just in time to indulge the whims of the sun seeking masses. Its beer garden is perfectly placed to catch the late afternoon sun, with plenty of people watching opportunities as folk hurry on their way to the station or meander into town in search of an evening’s entertainment.
You’ll find plenty of beers here to sate your thirst, but gin is the real star of the show, so work your way through their matching menu which pairs 10 gins with their perfect tonic. And if that’s not your cup of tea, they’ve got cocktails and wine aplenty. Hungry? They’ve got a menu full of light summer dishes, so you’re sure to find something you like.
Banyan Bar & Kitchen, The Old Post Office, 2 City Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2ES.
One of the lesser-known beer gardens in Leeds, Roland’s little space out back is a hidden gem just waiting to be discovered. Jam-packed with character, from the old brick walls to the fresh flowers on the tables, it’s a nice place to enjoy the warm weather with a pint in-hand, and once you’re in there, you’ll never believe you’re on Call Lane.
The selection behind the bar is as good as the garden itself, with a host of lagers and ales alongside a carefully curated cocktail list and just about any spirit-mixer combo you could desire. Of course, you’ll need to fill your belly for those all day sessions, and luckily for you, Roland’s are set up for that with their frizzas, which make pizza even naughtier.
Roland’s, 39 Call Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 7BT.
5. Lamb & Flag
There’s no doubt in our minds that Lamb & Flag has one of the best beer gardens in Leeds. It’s an impressive space, generously sized (and a good thing too because it fills out fast) with seating downstairs and up on the sun terrace. But what makes this garden really special is the view – it looks out on Leeds Minster, one of the city’s finest landmarks.
The offering here is exactly what you’d expect – you’ve got a mighty fine selection of Leeds Brewery beers on the bar, as well as a few select pints from further afield, and there’s a well stocked liquor shelf nestled in the old chimney. If it’s wine you’re after, you might be surprised by the selection, it’s quite impressive, and of course, there’s a menu of British classics for you to devour if you’re hungry.
Lamb & Flag, 1 Church Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HD.
6. A Nation of Shopkeepers
An old favourite, this year you’ll get to experience the Nation of Shopkeepers beer garden a-new, because they’ve given it a serious makeover. It’s now blissfully uncovered, at least for the most part, with cool, colourful furniture in the centre, and a line of shaded benches as you come out.
But while the style of the place may have changed, the food and drink offering hasn’t. Nation always has a good selection of beers on tap, whether you’re after an ale or a lager, and they’ve been known to mix the abundance of spirits behind the bar into the odd cocktail. Food comes in the form of burgers, fried chicken and salads – the perfect beer garden fodder.
A Nation of Shopkeepers, 29 Cookridge Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AG.
7. The Social
Come rain or shine, Merrion Street is a popular spot for nights out, but it’s particularly good when the sun does make an appearance. The Social’s beer garden is tucked down an alleyway, off the street, with a lovely view of St John’s Church. When the sun finally sets, it’s lit up by a string of fairy lights, with magical effect.
Now, as you likely know, The Social has a lot to offer the discerning beer drinker – choose from a selection of affordably priced pints and cans from a slew of respected breweries. Their spirits are just as cheap, making this an all-too-tempting sunspot, especially in the week before payday.
The Social, 21 Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8NG.
8. Calls Landing
Calls Landing is famed for its beer garden, and people flock here in the summer as their outdoor space overlooks the River Aire. It’s got a decent amount of seating and plenty of room for standing if you’re keeping an eagle eye out for a spare table.
This is undoubtedly one of the most popular beer gardens in Leeds – and it’s easy to see why. The outdoor area is accompanied by a constantly revolving selection of real ales, so you can try something new every time you visit, and they have a good selection of spirits too, should you want something stronger. Hungry? Stews don’t make the best pub garden grub, but you can always get oysters to eat in the Leeds sunshine.
Calls Landing, 36-38 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
9. Water Lane Boathouse
Water Lane Boathouse has taken the place of The Pour House, which closed earlier this year. It comes from the folk behind Headrow House and Belgrave Music Hall, so you’re in for a treat. They’ve given it an almighty makeover, exposing the original brickwork and complementing it with a minimalist decor that looks cool as heck.
The outdoor space is as good as ever, with loads of seating and views that look out over the canal. You can expect a selection of quality beers behind the bar, as well as a gin menu that will tempt you to try something new in the summer sun. And if you get hungry, they’ve got Neapolitan pizzas, original salads and loaded sarnies, courtesy of Small Victories, who’ve taken over the kitchen.
Water Lane Boathouse, Water Lane, Canal Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5PS.
10. Greek Street
Have you heard? Greek Street’s been pedestrianised for the summer, making this your new go-to drinking destination. They tried it last year, and people flocked here, so this time they’ve gone the whole hog, closing the street to traffic from 11.30am to midnight every day until 31st October 2017 (not that we’re expecting much sun that late in the year).
Needless to say, the bars and restaurants on the strip have come out in force to fill the space, so as soon as the road closes, they start bringing out chairs and tables to help you make the most of the summer sun. From wine at The Liquorist to cocktails at The Alchemist and tasty Italian food at Gusto, there’s a little something for everyone on sunny days.
Greek Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5SX.
Offering some of the best views in Leeds, SkyLounge’s terrace is the perfect spot to enjoy a drink or two on summer days. Pull up a seat outside and watch the world go by, then when temperatures start to drop, head inside for equally good views courtesy of their floor to ceiling windows.
Of course, you can have beer here, but it’s really about the cocktails. They have an extensive menu for you to choose from, with all the classics, alongside their own creations – and they have plenty of bubbles too, this is the lap of luxury, after all. For those of you who are peckish, there’s a menu of burgers and platters, as well as afternoon tea.
SkyLounge, 2 Wharf Approach, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BR.
12. The Cross Keys
Another traditional pub to add to the list, The Cross Keys has a nifty beer garden for Leeds folk to enjoy along with a pint of something nice. Tucked away off the street, it’s a peaceful place to enjoy a drink, more akin to a country inn than an urban pub.
As part of the North Bar gang, you can expect some mighty fine brews to enjoy when the sun comes out. There’s always a pump serving up one of the North Brewing Co. beers, but they like to get creative with the rest, so you can try something new. Just add a menu of tasty classics, including an awesome Sunday lunch, and you’re all set for a day in the sun.
The Cross Keys, 107 Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WD.
13. The Faversham
The first thing you need to know about The Faversham’s pub garden is that it’s south facing, so it gets the sun from morning until night. Even better, it’s tucked away from the road, which makes it feel like you’ve left the city centre and ventured further afield. It’s not all calm and serenity though. In the summer months, The Faversham comes alive – firing up the barbecue, spinning the decks and keeping the party going until the early hours. That makes it one of the best beer gardens in Leeds.
Inside the pub, you’ll find a fully decked out bar, with all the drinks you could desire – the cocktails are well worth a try, and will give your pub garden experience a certain holiday feel. Food-wise, there’s a good selection, with everything from sandwiches to sharing boards to line your stomach. And it all comes in at a decent price, so you won’t feel out of pocket.
The Faversham, 1-5 Springfield Mount, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 9NG.
14. Northern Monk
One of the lesser known beer gardens in Leeds, Northern Monk is a little off the beaten track, but it’s perfectly positioned for catching the sun. It’s not the most conventional space, but with oodles of space and benches aplenty, you can sit in the sun from early until late, while looking out on two of the most historic mills in Leeds.
The Refectory, Northern Monk’s bar, has plenty to keep your thirst at bay on a hot summer’s day – they’ve got twenty draught beers behind the bar, with even more in the fridge. Be sure to try their World Beer Cup Bronze medal winning Eternal IPA while you’re there.
Northern Monk, The Old Flax Store, Marshall Street, Saw Mill St, Leeds, Yorkshire LS11 9YJ.
15. The Duck & Drake
Home to one of Leeds’ most underrated beer gardens, The Duck & Drake is often missed in favour of trendier venues, but if it’s good beer, friendly service and sunshine you’re after, there are few better places to go. Their outdoor space has loads of character with cherubs, guitars and more to catch your eye while you sup your pint.
The selection on the bar is a beer drinker’s dream, boasting six permanent residents with Timothy Taylor’s, Saltaire and Ossett all there for keeps, as well as another nine taps in rotation to give you a taste of something new. It’s backed up by proper pub snacks, including our personal favourites, scampi fries, which are hard to find these days.
The Duck & Drake, 43 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DR.
16. Cielo Blanco
Cielo Blanco has a modest roof terrace with a particularly special view of Leeds – and by that, we mean it’s perfect for people watching. The Leeds restaurant is positioned over Briggate, so you can look down on the shoppers, the buskers and the street performers. It’s a nice way to spend a few hours in the city, whether you’re staying for food or just ordering drinks.
Speaking of which, the Mexican restaurant has an incredible menu, offering up authentic street food and sharing platters. The pork belly platter owns a special place in our hearts, and it tastes even better in the summer sun – so if you’re looking for an alternative to the usual Leeds beer gardens (one that specialises in cocktails and tequila), this is the place to go.
Cielo Blanco, Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AY.
Another obvious choice, Angelica has one of the best roof terraces in Leeds, with a menu that will make you want to stay all day. Wine and champagne rule the roost here, so it’s great for sophisticated summer soirees, but they also have a tempting array of beers and cocktails for you to try. You can look out over the rooftop while you drink, with heated lamps to keep you warm after dark.
Hungry? The food in on a par with the drinks and it’ll take you from brunch through to dinner. Ease into the day with waffles, posh butties and fry ups – or arrive later to indulge in oysters, tiger prawns and one hell of a burger (Orkney beef with crispy bacon, cheddar, chipotle mayo, lettuce, pickle and tomato).
Angelica, Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW.
18. The Alchemist
One of Trinity Leeds’ most popular bars, The Alchemist is always busy, but when the sun comes out, folk queue out the doors for a chance to sup a cocktail on their roof terrace. It winds around the bar, so you’re sure to find a spot in the sun – and one that offers lovely views, with plenty of people watching opportunities.
The menu here is more suited to cocktail drinkers than beer enthusiasts, promising a whole host of unusual concoctions that are guaranteed to impress. From coffee-based cocktails to wake you up to colour-changing creations that look more like a lab experiment than a drink, the sun won’t be the highlight of your day.
The Alchemist, Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW.
19. Sheaf Street Cafeteria
If you’re yet to discover the hidden treasure that is Sheaf Street Cafeteria, then you’re missing out – and not just on a tasty menu of food and drink. They also have a cool as heck beer garden, called the Yarden, where you can enjoy a cuppa or something a little bit stronger, out in the sunshine.
Grub & Grog are in charge of the food, so you can expect a menu of creative dishes with plenty of scrumptious veggie options. They’ve got it all – homemade tarts, organic hash served with eggs and greens, even kippers! It’s the perfect way to line your stomach before a long day of drinking.
Sheaf Street Cafeteria, 3 Sheaf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1HD.
20. Lower Merrion Street
Since being pedestrianised, Lower Merrion Street has become one of the best beer gardens in town, combining the menus and atmospheres of each of the bars on the strip. The sun hits at the perfect time for after work drinking, taking you from late afternoon to early evening in summer bliss.
You do, of course, have plenty of choice. It starts with Brotherhood at the top end of the street, followed by Manahatta, Ham & Friends, Bar Soba and The Pit, then on the other side of the road, Mojo, Verve and Mean Eyed Cat – which means you’re well catered for whether you want cocktails, wine or beer.
Lower Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PQ.
21. Victoria Gate Casino
Did you know that there’s a secret sun trap at Victoria Gate Casino? It sits above the new luxury shopping centre, looking out over the rooftops – and now’s the time to try it, because word hasn’t spread yet.
When it does, people will flock here – and not just because of the sunshine. You see, they’ll be showing all the latest sport inside, be it football, rugby, cricket or tennis – so you can catch all the action, then make a beeline for the sun, taking your beer, cocktail or glass of vino with you.
Victoria Gate Casino, Victoria Gate, Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7JL.
22. The Midnight Bell
Now we’re talking, a traditional pub in Leeds city centre. The Midnight Bell may seem like a bit of a trek, it’s across the river on Water Lane, but since you can tuck into some hearty fodder washed down with good beer, the walk might do you good. They have one of the biggest beer gardens in Leeds, and it gets the sun almost all the time, although the surrounding buildings mean you can always find a spot in the shade if you do desire.
When it comes to the food and drink on offer, you won’t be disappointed. The beer is certainly the highlight – they have four Leeds Brewery ales on tap – Leeds Pale, Leeds Best, Yorkshire Gold and, of course, Midnight Bell – as well as an ever-changing selection of guest ales and ciders. And if that’s not your cup of tea, you can get wine and spirits too.
The Midnight Bell, 101 Water Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5QN
For years, we waited for the bottom floor of Candle House to be taken, and now it has, giving us a new riverside beer garden to enjoy. It stretches out from the unique round building, offering tables in the shade and the sunshine, all of which have a lovely view of the canal, making this one of the more scenic beer gardens in Leeds.
Candlebar is an Ossett Brewery pub, so you’re well catered for in terms of beer, but that’s not the only thing they do well. The wine list is incredible, and quality is a real focus here – their house labels really are their favourites, so take it as a recommendation. You’ll now find a range of Japanese wines and whiskies here too, which go perfectly with the new menu from Sheffield favourite Edo Sushi.
Candlebar, Candle House, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GJ.
24. The Palace
Definitely one of the prettiest beer gardens in Leeds, The Palace is a popular spot come summer. There are tables out front where you can sit on the street, but head out back to their little enclosed garden and you’ll find a much more peaceful option. You won’t be able to top up your tan everywhere as part of the garden is covered, but come dusk you’ll be drinking your pint under a canopy of fairy lights.
It’s all about the beer here. They have a humungous selection of real ales on, which change regularly, so you can get a taste of something new. That said, those of you who’d prefer wine or spirits will find plenty of options. They also serve up a menu of proper pub classics, so you can settle in for the day.
The Palace, Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
25. Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen
Belgrave has more than earned its place in this list of the best beer gardens in Leeds. Their rooftop terrace has oodles of personality, and seems to change every time you visit, but it always has great views and uninterrupted access to the sunshine.
You can get a drink up on the terrace, from their handy hut, but if you can adjust to the dark stairway, a trip downstairs will treat you to all manner of options – from the beers that line the bar to the street food from Dough Boys pizzas and Patty Smith’s burgers.
Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, 1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
One of the city’s lesser known sun spots, the Everyman is best known as a cinema, and yet, like many of the venues in Trinity, it also has a rooftop terrace with views across Leeds. Don’t expect to find Everyman’s signature sofas outside – you’ll find modern patio furniture and unique views outside on their terrace.
If you’ve ever indulged in a film at the Everyman, you’ll know that they have a mighty fine bar to quench your thirst. There’s a small but good selection of wine, including bubbles for those of you who want a treat – and if you don’t mind your beer in bottles, there’s plenty of that too. But nothing feels quite as summery as a jug of Pimm’s, which sits alongside a range of other cocktails on the menu.
Everyman Cinema, Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AT.
27. The Tetley
Believe it or not, The Tetley has one of the best beer gardens in Leeds. You’ll find a whole host of benches outside the venue, with even more on the grass across the road. It’s the perfect place to enjoy a pint in the sun, and it’s totally family-friendly, so you can bring the kids along too.
A pint of Tetley’s is the logical choice when it comes to drinks, but they’ve got a whole host of beers on draught, including Grimbergen Blonde, San Miguel and Birra Poretti Pale, so why restrict yourself to just one? You can also indulge in a long list of cocktails, wines and spirits, with a tasty food menu, complete with salads, sandwiches and a proper Ploughman’s.
The Tetley, Hunslet Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1JQ.
Oracle is one of the city’s summer mainstays, with a beer garden that never fails to impress. It stretches around the circular bar, offering views across the river – and they recently launched an unlimited brunch menu that makes it an even more appealing prospect.
The downstairs bar has been transformed into The Kitchen, a space that blends modern lines with rustic details. Cocktails are the order of the day, but they have plenty of wine, beer and spirits, for those of you who fancy something different. And if you’re hungry, try out their new street food vendor Bocca for delicious Italian eats.
Oracle, 3 Brewery Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NE.
29. Mr Nobody
Another little known beer garden, you’d be forgiven for missing this one. From the outside, you wouldn’t know it was there, which is why it’s so peaceful. One thing to keep in mind, Mr Nobody’s beer garden is surrounded by buildings which means you could find yourself sat in the shade, against your will.
Mr Nobody prides itself on its cocktails as much as its food, so you might want to forgo your usual beer garden brew for one of their tantalising concoctions. You could sup a Land Sea Skye (Talisker 10 year, black cherry liqueur, green apple juice, New Zealand sauvignon blanc and vanilla syrup) or treat yourself to a Rhubarb & Elderflower Spritz (Aperol, elderflower cordial, rhubarb liqueur, prosecco and soda water) in the sun.
Mr Nobody, 163 Lower Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6LY.
30. Brasserie Blanc
This famed French restaurant is set to impress with its beer garden. Admittedly, it’s a little off the beaten track, but venture down to their riverside location and you’ll be treated to stunning views in a rather idyllic spot. This is alfresco dining at its best, so be sure to come at lunch time or for an early supper in high summer.
The food is one of the highlights of this Leeds beer garden. You can tuck into some of the celebrity chef’s famed French dishes, with a seasonal menu that will make summer feel, well – summery. And let’s not forget the wine. Brasserie Blanc have an exceptional wine list, so even if you’re not visiting the restaurant to eat, you can still order one of the best things on the menu – the wine menu that is.
Brasserie Blanc, Victoria Mill, Sovereign Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BJ.
31. Dry Dock
It’s hard to miss Dry Dock. The boat-cum-pub looks rather out of place on Woodhouse Lane, but that doesn’t put people off – if anything, it’s the opposite. It has a packed beer garden in summer, so get there early and enjoy a spot of sunshine on the deck.
Dry Dock is a Scream pub, which means it’s popular with students and anyone else that likes to keep their pub garden outings cheap and cheerful. The food is as affordable as the drinks, with plenty of offers to help you save a few pennies – and if you’re on a diet, you can even choose from a selection of dishes that are under 500 calories. Not bad at all.
Dry Dock, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 3AX.
32. Restaurant Bar & Grill
Restaurant Bar & Grill is best known for its food, served up in the iconic setting of the old Post Office building, but come summer, it’s the outdoor area that gets all the attention, as folk flock to City Square to grab a place in the sun. In high summer, their outdoor bar means you won’t even need to go inside to order your drinks.
The menu is extensive, covering all the bases. You’ve got beers, ciders and spirits – the latter are mixed into some very nice cocktails, but it’s the wine that really excels here. They have a huge selection for you to choose from with red, white, pink, and of course, champagne – perfect for celebrating the summer sun.
Restaurant Bar & Grill, The Old Post Office, 3 City Square, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2AN.
The new Japanese restaurant from D&D London, Issho has a secret in store for the city’s sun-seekers – a 700 square foot roof terrace that looks out over the rooftops. It’s south-facing, so you can get your fill of sun and with their Kori bar to keep you fed and watered, you won’t be wanting for anything. Treat yourself to cocktails, sake or Japanese whiskey while you enjoy the summer sun on their cosy outdoor sofas.
Issho, Victoria Gate, George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7AU.
34. East 59th
A cool as heck New York style loft, East 59th is the city’s newest sunspot. Pick up a drink at the bar, with a choice of experimental and classic cocktails alongside premium wine, craft beer and all the spirits you could want, then head out to their terrace. It’s a swanky affair that looks out over the city, and they take good care of you, with umbrellas, heat lamps and blankets on hand. If you get peckish, treat yourself to a burger or cool off with one of their huge Knickerbocker Glorys.
East 59th, Issho, Victoria Gate, George Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7AU.Tom Joy