From real ale havens to top cocktail establishments, WOW247 is proud to present a wide-ranging guide to the very best Leeds bars and pubs, which we will update every week.
Compiled in collaboration with the Yorkshire Evening Post‘s Barfly column, scroll down to check out the city’s top drinking destinations.
360 Champagne and Cocktails
Trinity Kitchen, Trinity, Albion Street, LS1 5AT
Bangkok tuk tuks, a caravan named Bessie and picnic benches form a kaleidoscope of culture you wouldn’t expect in a sleek and classy champagne bar, but then 360 really does offer something out of the ordinary. A clever convenience bar offering quality drinks and lovely surroundings, it’s an unusual and somewhat refreshing venue for Leeds.
Level 6, Trinity Leeds, LS1 6HW
0113 897 0099
As an all round experience of contemporary bar luxury, Angelica stands alone in Leeds. Stylish and cool, with 360 degree views of the city centre, its expansive greenery-filled balcony adds another dimension to this venue’s already impressive bag of tricks. An indulgent treat, it stocks around 30 cocktails and 30 wines – almost half of which are sparkling or champagne.
5 Brewery Place, Leeds, LS10 1NE
0113 243 5761
A terracotta melting pot of cushioned leather booths, dark wooden furniture, and thick-framed mirrors, this laid-back Latino bar boasts delicious rum and tequila-based cocktails, a cosy beer garden and a cool South American vibe. Regulars rave about the Tapas, while rebellious icon Howard Marks neighbours, visits and added his own creative edge to the place.
166 Town Street, Horsforth, LS18 4AQ
0113 322 9910
Quite the complete venue, this establishment’s stylish yet subtle compromise between city bar and suburban pub caters to both ends of the drinking spectrum. The menu is nice and varied, there are plenty of beers, ciders and wines on offer, and as soon as you walk in the hearty pub glow breaks down any preconceptions you might have of what is quite an upmarket bar and bistro.
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen
[Photo: Giles Smith]
1-1a Cross Belgrave Street, LS2 8JP
0113 234 6160
The brainchild of Leeds promoters Simon Stevens and Ash Kollakowski, this brand new bar is probably the kindest venue on the senses imaginable – an arty music festival crammed into a room. There’s aromatic street food and an eclectic array of indie, reggae, rock and electronic music echoing around the open-plan space. Countless beers and ciders are in attendance at this must-visit destination.
Trinity Leeds, 67 Boar Lane, LS1 6HW
0113 205 3240
A refreshingly different offering that has charm and extraordinary style, this botanical-themed drinking hole is decked out with rustic furniture, empty plant pots and wall-mounted shovels under weathered skylights and a glass chandelier. An impressive beer garden, fantastic cocktail menu and surprisingly eclectic music selection are all good reasons to drop-in.
The Light, 72 The Headrow, LS1 8EQ
0113 243 9353
Exuding a sense of occasion through its golden low-hanging lights and chandeliers, grand windows, leather booths and warm cream and wooden decor, Browns nonetheless boasts a broad appeal – with a grand yet welcoming mix. With good value for money, an inclusive chatty vibe and a broad drinks selection, it’s hard to ignore and easy to enjoy.
Calverley St, LS1 3ED
0113 243 6264
Firmly embedded among the alternative crowd as a great place to spot unsigned music talent, go for cheap food and drinks and a game of pool, or even take on a monstrous eating challenge, this slightly gothic cellar strikes a fine balance between being an all-rounder pub, an alternative bar and a music venue. There’s a lot to like here.
Park Plaza Hotel, Boar Ln, LS1 5NS
0113 380 4080
Nestled on the first floor of the Park Plaza Hotel and attached to the Pan-Asian restaurant of the same name, this offers an impressive selection of cocktails to please the pickiest punter. The classy setting makes it one of the few places you can enjoy a quiet, sophisticated drink on an evening in the city centre.
6 Otley Rd, Guiseley, LS20 8AH
This popular watering hole in Guiseley showcases some of the best of Yorkshire’s brewing, with eight real ale handpumps have been squeezed onto its small corner bar. Well-stocked fridges further expand the choice and food is a big part of the offer here – if ever you fancy a roast beef and gravy sandwich, this is definitely the place to come!
Crowd Of Favours
Harper Street, LS2 7EA
0113 246 9405
Never mind the daft name – Leeds Brewery’s new pub is a nailed-on success. As soon as you enter you are faced by two banks of four real ale handpumps, separated by gleaming fonts serving a great choice of continental beers. The decor embraces a host of zeitgeist touches, the food includes sociable fondues, and it’s got a winning blend of top beer and warm character.
19 Boar Ln, LS1 6EA
0113 318 2274
The award-winning fine dining establishment is also fast-gaining a reputation as a superb bar. It exudes class, and more than 20 cocktails can be ordered, from teapot sharers and sparkling choices to specials and classic mixes. With its relaxed soundtrack featuring everything from Radiohead to Summer Madness by Kool and the Gang, this place is ideal for couples and small groups.
66-68A Wellington St, LS1 2EE
0113 246 7664
Recently rejuvenated and under new management, this venue is plush and exudes expense, with a grand piano in the restaurant and gleaming white tiled floors throughout. There are around a dozen classic cocktails to choose from and the bar staff do take requests, while the swanky decor, relaxing atmosphere and prime placement offers plenty of potential.
Friends Of Ham
4 New Station Street, LS1 5DL
0113 242 0275
Successfully providing a long-awaited interface between craft ale haven and up-market charcuterie, Friend Of Ham offers a whole new level of great beer and continental deli-grazing. The long bar topped with assorted handpumps and gleaming chrome fonts has a selection which changes regularly, while downstairs’ sofas and long tables are ideal for sociable drinking and dining.
The Gin Garden
The New Ellington Hotel, 23-25 York Pl
0113 204 2150
The drinks are great quality, prepared with fresh ingredients right in front of you and the bartenders are very attentive. But the best part is that it’s somewhere to escape from the hustle and bustle of inner city Leeds. The Gin Garden is peaceful and calm, even on a Saturday night, and for that reason plenty of people will agree that it is money well spent.
Horse & Farrier
7 Bridge St, Otley, LS21 1BQ
As a Market Town Tavern, a marque that has come to stand for a certain level of quality – both beer and food – this is a top ale destination. Masham’s Black Sheep and Ilkley’s Mary-Jane are nailed-on regulars, and local brewers Briscoe’s and Rodham’s often feature.
57-59 New Briggate, LS2 8JD
0113 246 9080
A fine compromise between inner-city cocktail bar and American burger joint, the wood-panelled centre-piece is crammed with cocktail menus and glistening beer taps to tempt you in, while dozens of spirits line the back wall and a blackboard above spells out what’s in the fridges. This place has a lot of potential.
Cross York St, LS2 7EE
0113 244 9901
A welcome addition to a burgeoning scene, this bar-cum-theatre club boasts a kaleidoscopic programme of events ranging from Friday jazz and Sunday open mic sessions to a monthly Moulin Rouge-themed burlesque night. Armed with a respectable array of spirits, a good-sized courtyard and an impressive and versatile event space, the eclectic soundtrack at this creative hub veers between minimal house and the Beatles.
First Floor, 1 Call Lane, Ls1 7DH
Located up a random unmarked set of stairs at the top of Call Lane, this old fashioned stripped-back venue offers great intricate drinks and has recently been extended to include a second bar. Specialising in cocktails galore, an impressively complex list of mixes served in odd-shaped and characterful glasses is the main attraction. Relaxed, simple, and stylish.
The Mustard Pot
20 Stainbeck Lane, Chapel Allerton, LS7 3QY
0113 269 5699
This up-market gastro pub has put itself back at the heart of the Chapel Allerton community, offering quality dining and a good selection of real ales in a suburb where the traditional pub was increasingly challenged by a rash of bars predominantly aimed at the 18-35s.
Nation of Shopkeepers
27-37 Cookridge Street, LS2 3AG
0113 203 1831
It may be rough around the edges, but this city centre gem hosts excellent regular live music, has a huge beer garden, and also offers a good selection of drinks at reasonable prices. Nation Of Shopkeepers strikes that fine balance between characterful charm and off-putting clutter, attracting and catering to a cool yet mixed clientele in the process.
The New Conservatory
Albion Place, LS1 6JL
0113 246 1853
An eye-catching example of unashamedly over-the-top style and indulgence, the New Conservatory’s wide range of drinks and eclectic music means there is likely to be at least one night of the week that fits your taste. It’s a basement hideout for the city’s suited and booted during the day, and a strange hybrid of diverse music and weathered decadence at night.
115 The Headrow, LS1 5JW
Tel: 0113 242 6630
Live football is advertised loud and clear, punky rock music is pumping from the speakers and playful monkey art adorns the walls – but there’s more to this down-to-earth place than mocking overblown stereotypes. There is a feeling of spaciousness, the bar stocks a great range of bottled beverages, and it has quite a popular pub grub menu that is available during the day as well.
Old Bridge Inn
Bridge Road, Kirkstall, LS5 3BW
0113 278 4044
The first pub to be bought by Kirkstall Brewery, whose thriving operation is just a couple of hundred yards away, this has proved an immediate success. Thankfully the pub has plenty to back up the twittering – not least with Kirkstall’s own brilliant beers. The Pale is sharp and thirst-quenching, and then there’s the dark, soporific Black Band Porter; all burnt toffee and licorice.
Outlaw’s Yacht Club
38 New York Street, LS2 7DY
0113 234 6998
A weird and wonderful independent venue, this has quirky styling and old fashioned furniture – but boasts great music and a cool crowd. Favourite drinks include cocktail oddities and shots, there are beers, ciders and a regularly updated specials menu, and once you’ve been served you can bed down by one of the random armchairs, weathered board games or the retro globe and feel far from the hustle and bustle of the city.
20A Blayds Court, Swinegate, LS1 4AG
0113 244 9339
A beautiful, modern, yet traditional bar that offers premium cocktails that are up there with the best in the city, Palm Sugar is based at specialist Thai restaurant Chaophraya. A luxurious no-expense-spared blend of contemporary design and traditional Thai, it takes you out of the inner city mind-set with its vibrant styling and glowing spotlights.
Lamberts Yard, 163 Lower Briggate, LS1 6LY
0113 246 7013
A decidedly exciting new addition to the drinking and dining scene, RARE is already raising eyebrows with an enormous stuffed cow as a centrepiece. But its quirky touches – including bathroom sinks that are half beer barrels, with taps like ale pumps – are fun and endearing. Best of all is the brave, stylised drinks menu, which includes unique cocktails themed by spirit and a 40-strong wine list.
Roxy Ball Room
1st Floor Trinity Square, Boar Lane, LS1 6HW
0113 322 1781
This new expansive, stripped-back space is jam-packed with ping pong and pool tables aimed at bringing out the big kid in you. Armed with an old school rock and new fangled indie soundtrack, and quirky touches include a cool spiral staircase up to the loos, unique ping pong graffiti art and a picnic table-filled corner floored with Astroturf, it’s a charming, exciting change in direction for the the area.
1-3 Grand Arcade, LS1 6PG
0113 244 4472
A great place to kick back with friends over music and drinks, this slightly niche rock bar caters to an alternative audience, with its grungey decor and a dark, gothic first floor that has been the stage for hundreds of unsigned acts over the years. It’s a friendly place with a pretty impressive drinks menu – including around 20 well put-together cocktails and a good range of about five beers and one cider on tap.
Bishopsgate Street, LS1 5D
0113 243 4590
If there were ever a contest to find the pub which has served great beer to a Leeds clientele, consistently, for decades, then the Scarbrough would be a definite frontrunner. A recent refit has pushed this great old pub to a new level, and will keep it right at the heart of the city’s vibrant drinking scene.
62 Town Street, Horsforth, LS18 4AP
0113 239 0624
This loosely themed American style bar/diner is an earthy alternative to its upmarket sister venue Bar 166, complete with sun soaked beer garden and a moody red-lit dark wooden interior. Its pizza, chicken and burgers broaden the appeal – while the rock-themed drinks menu features around 20 carefully-made classic cocktails.
21 Merrion Street, LS2 8NG
A broad, airy space already bubbling with chatty atmosphere, this new venture welcomes you in with candle-lit tables, gig posters, retro canvas prints, a piano and even table football. The suitably diverse playlist takes in everything from Maximo Park and Daughter to Grandmaster Flash, and it offers an array of well-priced craft beers, lagers, ciders and changeable real ales galore on tap – including its very own Session Lager.
44 North Lane, Headingley, LS6 3HU
0113 203 6090
One of the best cocktail bars in Leeds, boasting around 45 exotic and well thought-out concoctions, Trio also comes with a dedicated menu and well-trained staff. Providing cosy, suburban surroundings on the top floor of the Trio complex, there’s a sense of quality pumping through the veins here.
White Cloth Gallery
26 Aire Street, LS1 4HT
0113 218 1923
A spruced-up minimalist gem that’s a lovely place to enjoy a quiet drink among friends, this photography and film gallery offers friendly staff and a comfortable ambience. An ideal destination for those who fancy a pint, cocktail or bite to eat while perusing compelling artworks.