Looking for a certain drinking experience in Leeds, but not sure where to start? Not to worry, we've got you covered!
Whether you want a fancy cocktail adorned with decorations, or just a beer garden to enjoy the weather, Leeds has a great variety of bars to please everyone. With an unparalleled intertwined music scene, delicious food, and different bars for every occasion and drink, it can be hard to choose where to start. The bars and pubs in Leeds are a vital part of the nightlife and community in the city.
The Fenton is an indie pub, as classically English as you can imagine, settled between Leeds Beckett and the University of Leeds. Hosting trivia and open-mic nights in the week, as well as the occasional gig in its upstairs room, The Fenton also offers quick bites to eat and an outside area with picnic tables for beer garden weather. With a mixed clientele from older gentlemen drinking pints at the bar to the student-aged Otley Run mobs clad in costume, an eclectic mix of characters control the Juke Box in the Fenton, so you're in for a whale of a time!
The iconic Dry Dock resides in a stranded boat on the greenery opposite Leeds Beckett and has become a popular spot not only to sit in the sunshine on the tables atop the ship, but as a place to visit for an eventful evening. With karaoke on Tuesdays and a resident drag queen on Thursdays, Dry Dock draws a good crowd and offers a wide range of drinks and food to be enjoyed from 11AM onwards. Ahoy!
NATION OF SHOPKEEPERS
For a more relaxed atmosphere, Nation of Shopkeepers may be the perfect fit, with delicious food; we recommend the pizzas, burgers and chips & gravy (although maybe not all at once.) They’re also a very popular scene for drinks on warmer days, packing out their beer garden all summer long. If you don’t fancy a seat on the terrace, their main bar inside boasts an Instagram-worthy interior full of twinkling fairy lights and colourful local artwork – even the toilets are memorialised in celebration of local artists!
Cuckoo is best described best by its own name, completely cuckoo! This bar tucked along Call Lane is a vibrant venue offering cocktails, pizzas, and humungous beers within its brightly coloured walls – walking in feels like you’ve been transported right through the looking glass into Wonderland. Best of all you even get a free pizza slice (savoury or sweet, your choice) before 9PM with every cocktail!
FOR MUSIC LOVERS
Many of the bars and pubs in Leeds also hold live music events, and Oporto is a great place to catch the next great up-and-coming artists. As another small bar at the top of Call Lane, you can start at Oporto for a show before heading off down a great street full of bars to hop between and explore!
BELGRAVE MUSIC HALL
If you’re a fan of music, Belgrave is the place for you. Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen spans over three floors (including their fabulous roof terrace) for food, drink, and music. The ground floor is a cosy indoor seating area with mood lighting and a resident DJ each night with an ever-changing music taste to keep you on your toes, and offers mouthwatering pizza slices, burgers & loaded fries from the kitchen.
Their first floor is home to their events hall, which hosts a variety of events from vintage sales to yoga to gigs. Lastly, right at the top, sits the infamous Belgrave terrace. An open rooftop area full of picnic tables and a cracking view of the city, and plenty of heaters to keep you cosy as you sip on pints beneath the iconic Belgrave sign. Four-legged friends are also welcome, so if you're missing your pets during term time, a variety of furry friends can be found here! If Belgrave sounds like your kinda vibe, check out their sister venues Headrow House & Water Lane Boat House!
If you want a more experience-worthy bar, there are a few locations as interesting as Pixel. Pixel is Leeds’ resident gaming bar, with a mixture of consoles, gaming PCs, and of course old school arcade games. Book a console to keep you and your guests entertained as you drink your way through their creative video-game-themed cocktails! Their popular Pokémon range, which comes with a card for you to keep, is a must-try; just be sure to bring your student card with you so you can get a discount, because you've gotta you catch 'em all!
THE DOMINO CLUB
If you want to impress your friends, The Domino Cub is the place to bring them. Go back in time at this speakeasy hidden behind the back door of the barbershop in Grand Arcade. Open Thursday through Sunday, The Domino Club hosts live music to accompany your drinks, with a mixture of jazz, soul, funk, and blues. Whilst their seasonal cocktails may be a little on the expensive side, they're the perfect fancy treat that you can sip on knowing that the price of your round is helping boost the local music scene; since opening in 2017, The Domino Club have invested £500k back into local musicians. We'll raise a glass to that!