From cool bars to classy restaurants, The Calls, Kirkgate and Brewery Wharf have plenty to offer those going out in Leeds.
The Calls, Kirkgate and Brewery Wharf are some of the most well known areas of Leeds, particularly for those looking for a decent pint, a quality cocktail or a plate of tantalising grub. Call Lane and Merrion Street tend to steal the limelight, but there are a slew of amazing bars and restaurants in this part of town worth checking out. Let us introduce you to them…
Brasserie Forty 4
For over 20 years, Brasserie Forty 4 has been dishing up cracking British and Mediterranean grub on The Calls, in its old warehouse building that is now one of the smartest places to eat in Leeds. The menu at Brasserie Forty 4 changes every eight weeks, but you can always expect the best ingredients, much of which is sourced from nearby. With the likes of confit leg of duck, pork stroganoff, sea trout and a puff pastry pie all vying for your attention on their set menu which shows off a little of what you can expect, alongside an extensive wine list and plenty of quality beers, it makes for a great night out.
Brasserie Forty 4, 44 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
You can’t go wrong with a bit of tapas. One of Leeds’ longstanding favourites is Ambiente on The Calls – and rightly so too, with an impressive menu and an atmosphere to match. Their Mediterranean grub is top drawer, with the likes of black bean fritters, caramelised chorizo with potatoes, and barbecued lamb rump from their new Josper Grill making up a menu that will impress with its culinary ingenuity. Take advantage of their extensive wine list too, and if you’re going with a group, the sharing platters are worth going all out for.
Ambiente, 36-38 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
Down by the river, Calls Landing is one of the best spots for sitting out in the sun in the summer, but no matter what time of year it is, it has plenty to offer. Inside, it’s a cosy little pub, with plenty of seating, exposed brickwork and riverside views – but obviously you’ll need some quality food and drink to go alongside it. Luckily, they’re happy to offer just that, with a menu of stew and oysters. There’s beef and beer, spiced lamb and chickpea and smoked haddock chowder, while oysters come in a range of flavours using tabasco, lemongrass, and even Glenfiddich whiskey.
Calls Landing, 36-38 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
A longstanding Leeds favourite, Aire Bar is the cornerstone of The Calls thanks to its amazing riverside views and enticing food and drink served in a Grade II listed building. If you’re peckish, they’ve gone burger crazy with The Yorkshire Burgaire Company, offering all kinds of combinations, like the exotic Loiner (double wild boar and chorizo patty) and a Game Yorkshire Bird (double chicken burger with chorizo). There’s plenty of booze on offer too, with Aire Bar priding themselves on serving beer from local Leeds breweries like Ilkley, Ossett and Saltaire, alongside lager, craft beer and plenty of wine.
Aire Bar, Sparrow Wharfe, 32 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
Fine dining with a modern twist, Shears Yard has quickly become one of the most revered dining spots in Leeds. Situated just opposite The Calls on Wharf Street, it has cultivated a reputation for using the finest local ingredients and whipping them up into stunning, refined dishes like Curry roasted heritage carrot, pistachio granola, buttermilk and pickled kohlrabi or fillet of beef, ox cheek croquette, king oyster mushroom, kale and Henderson’s relish aioli. Their cocktails are just as inventive, and you get to enjoy them in a converted warehouse venue that’s as cool as the food and drink.
Shears Yard, 11-15 Wharf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EH.
Bridging the gap between The Calls and Kirkgate, Wharf Chambers is a venue like no other. It’s a co-operative run by its members, and in turn, provides some of the coolest gigs and clubnights in the city. Membership costs £2, and is the only way to get yourself into any of their events, but when you do, you’ll have a cracking new haunt to enjoy next time you’re out. They’re also happy to open up their space for art, film, politics and discussions with a focus on bringing communities together – oh and look out for their food and drink festivals, which have become some of the most popular in the city.
Wharf Chambers, Wharf Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EQ.
The Lamb and Flag
Just a short walk away from The Calls, The Lamb and Flag has taken an old building that was derelict for years and turned it into a cool gastropub, by uncovering old fireplaces and exposing the brickwork. But while it looks nice, that’s not the only reason to visit next time you’re going out in Leeds. The bar is topped with a slew of Leeds Brewery favourites and they’ve cooked up a tasty menu using locally-sourced ingredients, including the likes of Yorkshire Dales steak and Midnight Bell ale pie, beer battered haddock and chips and pan-fried east coast sea bass fillet.
The Lamb and Flag, 1 Church Row, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7HD.
There aren’t an abundance of Persian restaurants in Leeds, which makes Safran all the more special. The understated, traditionally decorated venue, is a welcome getaway from the hustle and bustle of Kirkgate, while the menu is full of authentic Middle Eastern dishes, packed full of flavour. There are 10 different Persian kebabs to choose from, as well as the likes of gheymeh, barniyeh, fesenjaan and mahicheh, which you can follow with baklava or faloodeh shirazi for dessert.
Safran, 81 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
Kirkgate’s long been a target for regeneration and one of the first signs that it’s actually happening is Wapentake. They do a bit of everything – you can pop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner, with a range of hot dishes and sandwiches, while the petite bar serves up a host of tasty local ales and craft beers for you to make the most of (though maybe not with breakfast). Regardless of what you pick, it’s a lovely little spot, decorated in quirky vintage style, that’s perfect for whiling away the hours.
Wapentake, 92 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DJ.
The Duck and Drake
A classic Victorian pub if ever there was one, there are nearly 200 years of history within The Duck and Drake, and it’s as popular today as it has ever been. They have one of the finest selections of real ale in the city, making a special effort to put on local breweries like Timothy Taylor, Saltaire, Daleside, Theakston’s, Roosters and Ossett. But that’s not the only reason people keep on coming back – it’s also one of the most prolific live music venues in the city, welcoming a range of national and international talent alongside tribute bands and local artists.
The Duck and Drake, 43 Kirkgate, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DR.
Crowd of Favours
Just off Kirkgate, a short walk from The Calls, Crowd of Favours is a fine place to relax with a pint, grab a bite to eat, and dabble in their wide range of entertainment. With the full Leeds Brewery range, alongside a stash of guest beers on tap and in bottles, and a menu of locally-sourced goodness, you’ll never get bored at Crowd of Favours. They have free film screenings in their downstairs basement, there are retro video games by the bar and a slew of board games to spend a couple of hours battling over – it really has everything you need.
Crowd of Favours, Harper Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EA.
Outlaws Yacht Club
The ultimate hangout venue, Outlaws Yacht Club is a cafe-cum-bar-cum-gallery, with vinyl and artwork decorating the walls, squishy sofas to sink into and a buzzing atmosphere worth coming back for. Whether you’re going out to drink, eat or just chill, this Leeds bar has it covered. There’s a decent selection of cocktails and beers on the bar, including their own brew which comes highly recommended. If you’re peckish they have a range of platters, stews and sarnies to dig into. They also regularly have DJs and their uber cool Chinwag chats on, so it’s worth nipping by on an evening.
Outlaws Yacht Club, 38 New York Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7DY.
Opposite The Calls on the South bank of the River Aire, Oracle is a cool city bar by day, and a vibrant venue with a buzzing atmosphere by night. If you’re looking to grab a bite, they have a different street food vendor in every two weeks – give them a try on the weekend and take advantage of their bottomless brunch. It’s in the evening when Oracle truly comes alive though, as the club venue on the first floor opens its doors. Priding itself on being ‘Leeds’ only VIP club and celebrity haunt’, see if you can spot any famous faces while sipping on their extensive beer, spirit and champagne collection.
Oracle, 3 Brewery Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NE.
Tapas lovers are well catered for when going out on Brewery Wharf thanks to South American eatery Azucar. With over 40 dishes to pick from you’re really spoilt for choice. They’ve got favourites like calamares, jamon iberico and patatas bravas, as well as inventive additions such as pisto de frijoles, a Cuban ratatouille, and huevos rotos, a Spanish version of egg and chips. Wash them down with one of their six versions of sangria, or some of their rum and tequila cocktails.
Azucar, 5 Brewery Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NE.
212 Cafe and Bar
Taking inspiration (and its name) from New York City, 212 is a super cool hangout at the heart of Brewery Wharf, blending good tunes, good booze and good food. The venue isn’t huge but it does have an extensive outdoor area that comes into play when the sun shines. Regardless of the weather, you can tuck into their craft beers on tap or by the bottle, while DJs spin tunes on their decks, creating a unique atmosphere.
212 Cafe and Bar, Brewery Place, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1NE.