Grab a drink on one of Leeds’ rooftop bars and enjoy breathtaking views of the city this summer.
When the sun comes out to play, why not make the most of the city’s rooftop bars? You can enjoy a drink or two in the glorious sunshine, with views that look out over the city. It’s the perfect way to while away an afternoon – the only question is, where will you go? We’ve rounded up all your options, all in one place, to make the decison a little bit easier.
Although you won’t be able to see for miles around from Kennedy Meadows, you will be able to get a very interesting angle on some of the city’s finest landmarks. Look out over the domes of the Victoria Quarter and Kirkgate Market, with Briggate and the Pinnacle looming behind.
You’ve got two drinks options. Pick something up in Redondo Beach, the upstairs cocktail bar at Headrow House, or head downstairs for a pint of Pilsner Urquell, finished on site for the ultimate freshness (they have 60 other international beers, if you want to try something new). If you don’t fancy the walk downstairs, they’ve got a shed on the lower terrace to keep you fed and watered.
Headrow House, Bramleys Yard, 19 The Headrow, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PU.
Gaze out of the floor-to-ceiling windows of Trinity Leeds’ highest rooftop bar and you’ll see the shopping centre’s glass domes, through to the tops of Albion Street and The Headrow – and that’s just in one direction. Huge swathes of Leeds await on the other side, so step out onto the terrace to look out on Holy Trinity Church, with Boar Lane and Leeds Corn Exchange beyond.
They host barbecues and DJs outside during the summer months, on the terrace among trees, lavender and shrubbery. Big white umbrellas offer a spot of shade, with heat lamps so you can stay outside long into the night. Enjoy a glass of bubbly or one of their expertly made cocktails while you watch the world go by.
Angelica, Trinity Leeds, 70 Boar Lane, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW.
Victoria Gate Casino
When Victoria Gate Casino opened in January, it gave us more than the biggest super casino in the North. It’s got a medley of bars and restaurants inside, where you can grab a drink, and if you don’t want to look out over the action, you can go outside to their roof terrace.
It looks out over Victoria Gate and the Victoria Quarter, giving you a unique view of the city, and because it’s so new, hardly anyone knows about it. Inside, you’ll find yourself with plenty of boozing options – get champagne, premium spirits and local ales from Curve or head to Live Bar for tasty snacks and all the beer you could want (along with live sports, of course).
Victoria Gate Casino, Victoria Gate, Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7JL.
On another side of Trinity Leeds, Cielo Blanco’s roof terrace offers a view out over Briggate. The shopping centre’s glass arches sweep high above you, offering a stark contrast to the architecture of the city’s main thoroughfare and making the view up here all the more intriguing.
Of course, that’s not all Cielo Blanco has up its sleeve. It’ll tempt you in with plates of enchiladas and burritos, stuffed with chicken, pork, fish or veggie sweet potato, butternut and feta. The food here is best eaten the Mexican way – shared with friends in the summer sun, so take your tropical fruit juice, tequila laced cocktails and speciality lagers out onto the terrace.
Cielo Blanco, 415 Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AY.
The Alchemist’s horseshoe-shaped roof terrace is busy even on dull days, but don’t let that put you off. The sweeping view of Boar Lane, reveals everything from Leeds Corn Exchange to Bridgewater Place, as well as offering a unique angle on the shopping centre’s glass domes.
Chairs are lined around the edge of the terrace facing out over Leeds, with a few marble tables for groups – and after dark, your revelries will be lit by a canopy of fairy lights. Cocktails are what they’re famous for here, with a host of experimental concoctions to choose from, but you can also enjoy the food with everything from Jamaican Jerk Chicken to Japanese Raman.
The Alchemist, Trinity Leeds, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6HW.
Harvey Nichols’ Fourth Floor Bar
You’ll find four majestic stone lions on Harvey Nichols’ roof terrace, which looks out over Briggate from their Fourth Floor Cafe. The architecture on Leeds’ high street is anything but uniform, and from up here, you can really take your time to admire the eclectic mix of buildings, which include two of our famous shopping arcades.
The outdoor terrace is petite, with just four tables among the well-manicured shrubs, but that’s exactly what makes this rooftop bar special – it’s a quiet space to sit and chat in the sun. They offer table service, so there’s no need to get up for your next round, and you can indulge in anything from afternoon tea to a luxurious dinner.
Harvey Nichols Fourth Floor Bar & Restaurant, Victoria Quarter, 107-111 Briggate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6AZ.
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen
Overlooking the northern quarter, Belgrave Music Hall offers views of Crispin House’s dome and Leeds Grand Theatre, with its Gothic spires and ginormous stained glass window peeking up behind an array of industrial rooftops.
Belgrave’s rooftop bar is beloved by families, dog owners and just about everyone else. The terrace was revamped last year, swapping the old deck chairs and beach huts for cushioned benches, and the chimney stacks for umbrellas. It’s a welcome improvement, giving you more room to soak up the sun. The shed bar is still there, pedalling sangria and Northern Bloc ice-cream, but if you fancy something hot, grab a Patty Smith burger or a slice of Dough Boys pizza downstairs.
Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, 1-1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8JP.
For an utterly one-off view of Leeds, head to the highest rooftop bar in the city – SkyLounge sits at the pinnacle of the DoubleTree by Hilton, taking its place on the thirteenth floor and offering stunning views that stretch out into the horizon.
The cocktail menu is just as vast as the view, offering their own tasty concoctions alongside classics and fizz. The bar snacks are ever-so-slightly more refined here, think root vegetable crisps, marinated olives or toasted ciabatta with garlic butter and grated mozzarella, while bigger feeds come in the form of gourmet flatbread pizzas or mediterranean sharing platters.
SkyLounge, Doubletree by Hilton, Wharf Approach, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4BR.
That’s right, a cinema. Get up close and personal with Trinity Leeds’ glass dome in Everyman’s outdoor space – the rooftop absolutely dominates the view and that’s what makes it an interesting spot to have a drink or two.
Everyman is no ordinary cinema, so it should come as no surprise that they have their own secret sunspot. The narrow terrace is the perfect place to enjoy a cold beer, classic cocktail or glass of vino, with stone baked pizza fresh out of the oven, if you’re feeling peckish. This is the only cinema in Leeds you’ll want to visit when the sun’s out.
Everyman Cinema, Trinity Leeds, Albion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 5AY.Cover image copyright Jess Rowbottom.