As one of the north’s best-loved party cities with a thriving student population, Leeds has a cavalcade of bars, pubs and clubs that combine to produce the perfect night out to rival any contender, such as Newcastle, Manchester or London. Whether you’re on the outskirts of the city limits or deep in the heart of Leeds, you’ll never be short of places to grab a drink with friends or family.
Call Lane hosts one of the best selection of bars in the centre, though may be overlooked by those less familiar with Leeds. Tucked away along from the Corn Exchange, there are bars to suit all tastes. For a quiet, modern environment, Norman Bar is a perfect place for great food (including their famous “crack wings”) and a huge selection of beers, wines and spirits. Open until 3am on Fridays and 4am on Saturdays, the party never seems to stop.
Neon Cactus, meanwhile, aims to please with its Mexico-inspired combination of Latin food, tequilas, plush and warm decor, as well as the finest selection of indie-electro music anywhere in the country. Descending into Jake’s Bar will open your eyes to some of the most fanciful cocktails in Leeds, its famous “burnt ends” beef brisket special, and beautiful interior design combining stone and wood.
Away from Call Lane are a number of other hidden gems. Behind the Corn Exchange is Chilli White, providing three floors of “pure decadence” with eye-opening white decor and the finest selection of premium cocktails, spirits and champagnes. Just opposite is Mezz, a more overstated club that specialises in house, indie and funk music. If you want more of this party atmosphere, look no further than Mission, one of the best house clubs in the north of England if not the UK. Tucked underneath six railway arches, this spot will deliver to the clubbing faithful.
The remarkable choice in Leeds continues in Lower Briggate, which is home to Fibre. Receiving countless awards for its decor and entertainment, it once again won the award for Best Bar None in Leeds in 2010. Undoubtedly challenging for this title is the Mint Club, which had a £500,000 refurbishment to put it on par with the celebrated Watergate club in Berlin.
Pubs litter the city centre and appeal to all budgets. The famous – and often somewhat infamous – Angel Inn serves the cheapest beer in Leeds, bar none. Meanwhile, local breweries are supported by The Hop, which enjoys one of the best locations and interior designs of any ale house, sitting comfortably underneath the train station near to the canal. A whole host of chain pubs, bars and clubs surround all the above locations, making the journey between each planned destination excitingly different each time you visit.
Finally, there’s one famous drinking run in Leeds that ought to be tried, should you and your friends want a challenge. If you desire to have an entire night of pubs and bars lined up for you on a Saturday night without worrying about getting lost, you may want to undertake the Otley Run. Starting at Woodies in Far Headingley, this traditional Saturday afternoon/evening activity takes entrants two miles along Otley Road and into the city centre, via 14 to 16 bars depending on the route chosen. Travelling through the heart of Headingley, Hyde Park and Woodhouse, there’s everything from traditional pubs such as the New Inn and the Packhorse to underrated bars like Arc and Strawberry Fields (“Strawbs“).
This is, however, by no means a definitive list. Have you got any suggestions? Leave a comment below with your recommendations!