It’s a renowned underground speakeasy that brings together cocktails, whiskey and jazz, but The Domino Club is only just getting started.
The city’s favourite secret cocktail bar is set to get even better. The Domino Club is already the go-to place for live jazz music in Leeds, but now they’ll have three times as many jazz and funk bands every Friday and Saturday night, with sets from 8pm through to 2am. So grab a cocktail, find a booth and settle in for a night of quality entertainment.
This underground speakeasy is already one of the best in Leeds
The Domino Club opened just over a year ago, but it’s quickly become one of the best bars in Leeds. It’s the epitome of cool – a hidden bar with the feel of a speakeasy. You’ll find the doorway at the back of Lord’s Barbering in Grand Arcade, but only a neon sign marks its existence, and this ingenuity earned it a place on the Difford’s Guide list of the world’s best-hidden bars.
It has its own unique character – they’ve stayed true to Grand Arcade’s heritage by putting their own Victorian twist on the place, but the venue itself is timeless. It’s got parquet flooring, leather booths and a handmade brass-topped bar, as well as artwork from well-known artists like Vivian Maier and Martin Parr.
The same attention to detail carries through to the bar. General manager Naill McGloin has worked with a team of award-winning mixologists to design a carefully curated cocktail menu – they have 15 original creations alongside 12 classics, all of which have been given a Domino twist. Try their Floralis, a mix of Botanist Gin, Jasmine tea, Double Dutch cucumber and watermelon soda and sugar with a cucumber ribbon garnish. Or what about the Lord’s Above? It’s a nod to their barbershop neighbours and brings together Courvoisier V.S.O.P. Cognac, figue liqueur, maraschino cherry liqueur, lemon juice and sugar.
They also have a handpicked wine list, which is refreshed every three months, and a wide selection of craft beers. Or you could try one of their boilermakers – they’ve handpicked 12 beers and 12 whiskies to bring back an old staple. But it’s their cost-price liquor that really steals the show. Every week, they buy a rare bottle and sell it at cost price – they’ve just got their hands on a very special bottle of Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve, so this will be one of the only places you can drink it outside London. These can go for over £600 each, but The Domino Club could serve it up for as little as £10. Oh, and did we mention they do table service?
None of this is changing, it’s staying just the way it’s always been, but the music? That’s going to get even better…
Now you can see even more top quality live bands every weekend
Since it opened, The Domino Club has been the city’s go-to jazz venue. But from the August bank holiday, it’s going to get even better – they’re going to triple the number of bands playing on Fridays and Saturdays, so you can enjoy live music from 8pm all the way through to 2am. And now that word of The Domino Club has spread, they’re bringing in an even better class of band.
“We started off with just local acts, but as our reputation grew, we started to get calls from bands touring around America, the UK and Europe,” Owner Alexander Neil told us, “They wanted to know if they could play here, so we spent time going out there, hustling and drumming up business, and now people are coming to us and the quality of the acts is getting much higher.”
You’ll be able to tell the difference right away – it kicks off with poppy jazz group Rodina playing on Friday 24th August 2018, which is followed the next night by King Zepha with their unique blend of ska, dub and blues. September brings vocal-led jazz trio The Ben Playford Trio and 9-piece funk, soul and blues band Highway Child, to name but a few. And come autumn, you can look forward to a night of New Orleans jazz, hip-hop and pop fusion from The Hyde Park Brass Band, a celebration of swing music from The Big Easy and a raucous night of ‘riot jazz’ from Huddersfield 10-piece Deadbeat Brass.
Now, all this extra quality does come at a price – but it’s akin to pocket change. They’re putting a £3 entry fee on the door on Friday and Saturday evenings, so you can get a whole night of entertainment for less than you’ll spend on your first drink. And they’re also going to put on bigger gigs, starting with The New Mastersounds on Friday 21st September 2018. The Leeds-based four-piece are one of the most popular jazz and funk groups in the UK. They’ve released 10 acclaimed albums over the past two decades and earned a huge reputation as one of the best live groups around, so it’ll definitely be worth the £16.50 ticket price.
The Domino Club has already reinvigorated the Leeds jazz scene and now it’s upping the stakes, so you’ve got yet another excellent reason to seek out the city’s finest hidden cocktail joint.
The Domino Club, 7 Grand Arcade, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS1 6PG.Cover image copyright McFade Photography.