Leeds is a city I feel I should know better than I do. I have friends over there, have been to visit a fair few times over the years and it’s less than an hour on the train away from Manchester (unless you get Northern Rail and then it takes an age), but I’m not too familiar with its pub and bar scene so we decided to put this right.
Our first port of call was The Brewery Tap, which is close to the train station.
This is somewhere I’ve been before and it didn’t disappoint on this visit. Although it can look small and very packed, it has quite a large upstairs area and outside terrace so if you can’t get a seat downstairs, make sure to check out the rest of the pub. It’s owned by Leeds Brewery and also has a small brewery of its own on the first floor
As for the beer, it has a decent selection from Yorkshire and beyond, and a decent range of bottles.
We only stayed for a half, but could have easily spent a few hours in there.
After a visit to the Royal Armouries, our next stop was The Adelphi, which is on the way from the museum back to the city centre.
Set in a grade II-listed Victorian building, this place is exactly how a pub should look in my opinion. It has period features throughout which have been cared for and kept looking their best, along with a quirky layout.
On entrance you’re met with a large lobby with a sweeping staircase to the first floor (we couldn’t go upstairs as there was a function on), which has access to one side of the bar.
There are two separate rooms to the left (one you gain access to from the front and the second round the back past the passage to the toilets), each of which have access to the bar, and two further rooms on the left. One of these was booked out for a function and the second was very busy.
I also noticed it had a garden, but it was far too cold to go and have a look!
We each got a half (I was pleased to see two different Weissbiers on!) and after standing in the lobby for a few minutes, we wandered round to the room at the back and managed to grab a table.
I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Adelphi and I noticed it also had a tempting food menu so I think we’ll definitely have to make a return visit.
Our next stop was another historic pub. Whitelock’s claims to be the city’s oldest pub, dating from 1715, and is set in a little passage just off one of the busy shopping streets so I think it’s somewhere you have to be on the lookout for to find.
But the drinkers of Leeds seem to all know about it – it was absolutely rammed!
We managed to get to the copper bar (an amazing sight) and selected our beers (another wheat beer for me, hooray) then headed outside.
The main entrance is located off a small passageway which has been turned into a courtyard seating area with a large number of picnic benches. Some of them had heat lamps, but alas not the one we ended up at so we only stayed for one.
I’d love to visit again on a non-Saturday evening to get a proper look at the interior and its charming features which we could only glance!
Stop four was another Leeds Brewery pub and a recommendation from a friend who used to live in the city – The White Swan. Another pub hidden off a shopping street, it’s connected to the City Varieties theatre and also provides a pre-theatre menu for show patrons.
Although Leeds Brewery’s beers took centre stage, there were also a number of guest ales. I went for Sonnet 43‘s My Old Griefs – a mulled white stout. I’ve never had a white stout before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was OK to drink, but my favourite part was the mulled aftertaste.
We managed to grab a table (not easy, it was also packed) and went for some food – burger for Ross and steak pie for me. Mmm. The pie had excellent flavours and the chips were very moreish, there was just too much food for me. Very hearty!
Our final stop of the evening was North Bar. This was the only more ‘modern’ bar we visited and I don’t think it would have been out of place in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
Being a long and thin venue, it seems like it has been squeezed in between two other buildings. It has a fair few tables fitted in but it doesn’t seem too crowded or claustrophobic.
The bar is at the back of the room and about 15 beers on keg and cask, as well as bottles. There were some Yorkshire beers featured, but most of the options were from outside the area including the likes of Blackjack and Buxton. I went for Blackjack’s Doppelkopf III (just a bit of a standard Dunkel, nothing too exciting) while it was Sky Mountain, a collaboration between Buxton and To Ol, for Ross.
Easily my favourite thing about North Bar is the photo machine – very similar to the ones they have throughout Berlin. For £3, you get four photos with both a black and white print out and a colour one. A nice souvenir to remember our day with!
We’d bookmarked a decent number of pubs to check out during our day and managed to visit a fair few of them which was pretty good going, although we would liked to have spent longer in certain establishments.
The day was also quite affordable (which was welcome news because a day return was an excessive £18.80) and we found friendly service and well-kept beer in each location. Roll on our next visit t’Yorkshire!