Have you tried them all? If not, this is your new to-do list…
These bars all fly under the radar, they’re not as famous as their kin, in fact, your feet may never have passed their threshold, but they’re all worth a visit, and each for unique reasons. So whether you fancy a night of laidback tapas, original cocktails or lung-busting karaoke, let us lead from the well-trodden path and into one of these utterly underrated bars in Leeds.
Tucked away beneath Ibèrica lies a little slice of Mediterranean bliss. La Bodega is basement bar that shares its sibling’s love of tapas – tortilla, padrónes and croquetas de jamón make moreish bar snacks. The ever-changing wine list runs from super-sippable sherries to authentic Spanish cavas and riojas. But that’s just the beginning. Treat yourself to a Gin Mare G&T or choose from an array of Spanish beers – Estrella and Tyris feature heavily. And all this in a laidback setting that’s both rustic and chic.
La Bodega, Park Cross Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 2QH.
A little known treasure that needs to make an appearance on your next night out, Farrands is a petite bar with a big personality. From the pared back cocktail menu to the indoors-outdoors terrace and the cosy leather booths, it absolutely oozes style. And you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the drinks list. Hand-picked wines come with personal recommendations, cocktails are original but they’re not afraid to take requests (the mark of a good bartender), and local beers like Kirkstall’s Virtuous come on draught.
Farrands, 18 Swinegate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4AG.
Filippos Filippopoulos was one of the founding members of the The Watermark, but he’s moved on to pastures new with Tabula Rasa. It’s a classy establishment – deep teal walls are perfectly paired with velvet bar stools, polished wood floors and art deco stylings to create a bar that has one foot in the past and one foot firmly planted in the present. Everything here comes with a level of refinement – cocktails are named after the famous and arrive in Insta-worthy style with every garnish you never knew you needed.
Tabula Rasa, 8 Eastgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7JL.
The Brew Society
Part coffee shop, part craft beer bar, The Brew Society can quench your thirst from morning through to night, but it’s the latter we’re concerned with here. They have 13 rotating lines, each one adorned with a different micro-brewed beer. From Vault City’s Strawberry Skies to Northern Monk’s Divine Faith and Sevenbro7hers’ Honeycomb Pale, their taps read like a who’s who of brewing’s finest. There’s more in the fridges, and should you find yourself in a mood for something else, wine, whisky, gin and cocktails will call your name.
The Brew Society, 26 Aire Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4HT.
The downstairs restaurant, House of Fu, has been met by much fanfare, but you may not even have heard of the upstairs karaoke bar. Hello is an almost-secret drinking den when you can put your vocal chords to good use. Buzz the buzzer for entry, then head upstairs to the bar where you can choose from a tantalising array of drinks before heading to your booth. They use Singa Karaoke, so you can choose from a vast catalogue of warble-worthy hits on the app and queue them up ready to belt ‘em out. Pass the mic.
Hello Karaoke, House of Fu, 15-19 The Headrow, Leeds, LS1 6PUCover image credit: Crop45.