You can’t beat the simple pleasure of enjoying a pint on the waterfront and here’s where you can do it around Leeds…
Picture this, you’re sat on a bench, looking out over the water with a pint in hand. That’s what we call living the dream, and when the weather comes through, there are loads of places where you can do it in Leeds. Whether you’re looking for a lively city centre bar, proper real ales in the suburbs or a picturesque countryside setting, there’s a riverside watering hole for everyone.
From cool city centre hangouts to suburban real ale favourites, you won’t have to go far to grab a drink and maybe even a bite to eat at these popular riverside haunts.
With its home right on the banks of the River Aire, Calls Landing is undeniably one of the best waterfront bars in Leeds. Choose one of their wide selection of beers, with cask ales on tap and a variety of delectable bottled beers from around the world. They’re best enjoyed outside, where the beer garden looks out over the river – and if you feel the need for some food to soak up the booze, they serve up stews, oysters and cheeseboards.
Calls Landing, 36-38 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
Craft Asylum #1
Craft Asylum #1 is the brainchild of Yorkshire micro-brewery, Salt Beer Factory. It’s got a sweet riverside spot on the ground floor of Candle House, where you can sit back and enjoy the setting as you sup a beer. They have 14 keg taps, seven of which are dedicated to their own craft brews, like the Jute Session IPA. The other seven play host to an ever-changing line-up of guest breweries like Magic Rock, Abyss and Thornbridge.
Craft Asylum #1, Candle House, Granary Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 4GJ.
A longtime favourite of Leeds’ nightlife, Aire Bar has a nice little spot by the River Aire on The Calls. Delve into the iconic arched rooms, grab a drink at the bar and head out onto the overhanging terrace for a close up of the waterfront. They have a range of local breweries on tap, such as Ilkley, Ossett and Saltaire, that will go down a storm on their balcony, and if you get peckish, Yorkshire Burgaire Company will sort you out.
Aire Bar, 32 The Calls, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 7EW.
Water Lane Boathouse
Water Lane Boathouse sits on the banks of the Leeds Liverpool Canal with cracking views over the water. It comes from the team behind Headrow House and Belgrave and it’s cool-as-heck, with original brickwork and minimalist decor. Take a pew in their amazing outdoor area, where you can sit and enjoy one of their many craft beers and artisan gins overlooking the water. If you get peckish, Small Victories offer delicious pizzas and burgers to munch through.
Water Lane Boathouse, Water Lane, Canal Wharf, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS11 5PS.
Kirkstall Bridge Inn
As a Kirkstall Brewery pub, you know you’re in for a treat when it comes to the beers on offer at The Bridge Inn. They’ve got everything from Dissolution IPA to Three Swords. However, it’s not just the beer you should look forward to in this traditional boozer – it’s got an amazing outdoor space with benches that sit along the banks of the River Aire. On a sunny day, there are few better spots to savour the weather.
Kirkstall Bridge Inn, 12 Bridge Road, Kirkstall, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS5 3BW.
The Fleece is one of the finest pubs in the picturesque market town of Otley, which is partly down to its tranquil spot right on the banks of the River Wharfe. The open space at the back of the pub looks out across the water, and you can delve into their fine selection of beer brewed just a mile or so downstream. They’ve also got a food menu that changes daily and champions locally-sourced produce.
The Fleece, Westgate, Otley, West Yorkshire, LS21 3DT.
Sometimes, it’s nice to go a little further out, so why not try one of these lovely bars and pubs near Leeds? They offer up plenty of amazing food and drink alongside stunning waterfront views.
George and Dragon
The George and Dragon offers a peaceful spot to enjoy a drink or two while looking out across the water. It’s a grade I-listed beauty built back in 1587, and with the river flowing by a stone’s throw away, it’s a delightful place to grab a beer with friends and take in the great outdoors. They proudly serve loads of British brews, from Hiver Honey craft beer to Cornish cider. Hungry? They offer a menu of hearty pub grub to sate your appetite.
George and Dragon, Apperley Road, Apperley Bridge, West Yorkshire, BD10 0PU.
With a stunning view of Brookfoot Lake, you’re unlikely to come across a waterfront pub quite like Casa anywhere else. Grab one of their cask ales, European lagers, ciders, spirits or wines, and head out to the peaceful terrace to enjoy the stunning countryside vista. You can treat yourself to something from their well-regarded menu, which features modern European favourites such as chicken Milanese and mushroom stroganoff. It’s all made with local produce, so you can experience the best of Yorkshire, both in the food and in that remarkable view.
Casa, 281 Elland Road, Brighouse, West Yorkshire, HD6 2RG.
The Black Horse
Dating back to 1676, The Black Horse is one of the most historic pubs in Skipton with a waterfront setting to match its history. There’s the original, now listed bar at the front of the pub, as well as a newer bar and restaurant to the rear, but once you’ve picked your choice of real ale, lager, wine or spirits, you should head out to the back, where their beer garden overlooks the Springs Branch Canal.
The Black Horse, 16-18 High Street, Skipton, West Yorkshire, BD23 1JZ.
The Navigation Inn
Sowerby Bridge is one of those picturesque little villages that straddles the River Calder, and it’s got the perfect pub to watch the day flow by. The Navigation Inn is at the top of Chapel Lane, on the north bank, and they serve up a slew of real ales from breweries like Oakham, Theakston and Osset, as well as lagers, wines and spirits. They also have an extensive menu of pub classics, but whether you’re eating, drinking or both, be sure to make the most of the stunning view of the Calder.
The Navigation Inn, Chapel Lane, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX6 3LF.
This is one for real ale fans. The Pub serve up to six cask ales at any one time, as well as craft cider, wine and spirits, that can be enjoyed in their petite outdoor space that overlooks the River Calder. But that’s not what makes it special – this is a pub that has no music, no TV and no shots, so you can enjoy your ale with people who appreciate it as much as you do, in a relaxed, uncomplicated space.
The Pub, 3 The Courtyard, Bridge Gate, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8EX.
The King’s Arms
It’s known as ‘The Pub That Floods’ but don’t let that put you off The King’s Arms on the banks of River Ouse. Its location just by the water makes it one of York’s most popular spots on a warm summer’s day, and it’s even better for being a Samuel Smith’s pub. The King’s Arms serves up quality pints for surprisingly affordable prices – if you play it right, you can even get change from £3.
The King’s Arms, 3 King’s Staith, York, North Yorkshire, YO1 9SN.
The Brown Cow
The Brown Cow in Bingley is one of the best places in Yorkshire to enjoy a riverside pint of Landlord or Boltmaker. The family-run pub overlooks the River Aire as it runs through the town. Alongside the range of Timothy Taylor’s ales on tap, they’ve got a great selection of handpicked wines, so there’s a little something for everyone here. Enjoy a drink or two as you look out over the water – or treat yourself to some of The Brown Cow’s locally sourced grub, which features classics like beef burgers, ribeye steaks and battered haddock.
The Brown Cow, Ireland Bridge, Bingley, West Yorkshire, BD16 2QX. They have table service and covered seating.
The Waterfront Inn
In the West Stockwith area of Doncaster, The Waterfront Inn has plenty going on, and it’s the only pub in this list that sits across from the River Trent. There’s plenty of room for boaters to moor outside, which makes it a popular spot for day trippers, especially since their range of real ales are accompanied by a menu of favourites from the grill. They host live music events and biker evenings throughout the year, so there’s a little something for everyone in this countryside spot by the river.
The Waterfront Inn, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, DN10 4ET. They have table service and covered seating.
It will come as little surprise that The Boat in Allerton Bywater sits beside the water, and with a slew of tables on the sizeable grassed area outside, it’s a lovely spot to soak up some rays and watch the River Aire flow by with a beer in hand. You can treat yourself to one of their local ales, a beer from around the world or a wide variety of wines and spirits. They also offer an extensive pub menu, serving up everything from giant Yorkshire puddings filled with roast beef to homemade burgers, lasagne and fish and chips.
The Boat, Main Street, Allerton Bywater, West Yorkshire, WF10 2BZ.
In the heart of Shipley, just half an hour from Leeds city centre, The Waterside is nestled right on the banks of the Leeds-Liverpool Canal. Food-wise, it offers a host of modern British dishes using meat from Bentley’s of Pudsey and vegetables from Deifresh of Bradford. To wash it down, you can treat yourself to tipples from Saltaire Brewery and Kirkstall Brewery, as well as a range of lagers, wines and spirits, all of which will go down nicely as you watch the boats float along the canal.
The Waterside, 7 Wharf Street, Shipley, West Yorkshire, BD17 7DW.Cover image: © Copyright Leeds-List 2021 by Oliver Dixon Photography.