My Favourite Leeds Cocktail Bars
By Diane at A Tale of Two Sittings
Leeds has a plethora of decent cocktail bars to choose from across its city centre. Coming in different styles, ambience, character and appeal. I’ve tried to choose my favourite independents from a long list, finding it particularly difficult not to leave some out. Some have been around for years and are well known nationally for their mixologists prowess, others have become loved over the last few years.Here are my 4 favourite Leeds cocktail bars:
1) The Maven
To the unknowledgeable this place can be a little hard to find as it doesn’t possess any signage and is found between a couple of completely unrelated establishments, e.g. an amusement shop. But this place became popular very quickly due to the quality of its drinks; the secret about this bar was out a long time ago. Walk off the pavement up the staircase, open the door and step back in time to the days of the pre-prohibition. The Maven specialises in cocktails and have plenty of choice for the cocktail connoisseur, their experienced bar staff are always very smartly dressed often in waistcoats and braces; there’s a definite laid back vibe to this cocktail haven. With a bar laden with an array of bottles and glasses it’s a beautiful bar to be sat at, while you watch these experts work their magic.
If you go, try: The Elder Lady cocktail
This bar first opened in 2009 and is sneakily tucked away off one of the main roads in Leeds city centre. Found in the under belly of Leeds, head down a flight of stairs where you’ll find a bar that’s dark and moody. A great place for Mediterranean and Middle Eastern tapas at lunch or dinner plus a great place to spend the evening with your favourite cocktails. A couple of my favourite drinks here are their Amaretto Sour and Lolita’s Bud. This place often has guest DJ’s who are well-known nationally and internationally on their books, makes this a great bar to frequent on a Saturday night.
If you go, try: The Almond Old Fashioned
Located in the Northern Quarter of Leeds city centre, this haunt has been around for years; 2002 to be exact and is still as popular as ever. The owner Si Ord named the bar after the Clash’s fourth album and Nicaraguan revolutionary party the ‘Sandinistas’. It comes with a Latin vibe and is well known for the quality of their cocktails and has a great atmosphere to boot! They swear by their cocktails made with either Rum or Tequila as the primary ingredient. Get there on a Friday or Saturday evening and there’s always a fantastic atmosphere with great music and cocktails to match.
If you go, try: Snickeboker Glory
4) Neon Cactus
Opened in 2009 on Call Lane, one of Leeds’ busiest streets lined with bars. Amongst the best of the bars in the centre of Leeds, this small but perfectly formed Mexican bar has tequila at the heart of their drinks and like it that way. The drinks menu lists a multitude of different Tequilas, at least 60 and counting on their ‘Sip Selection’, which you can see lining the shelves beings the bar. Of course you don’t need to be lover of Tequila to have a great night here as they make wonderful Tequila free cocktails too, e.g. their Mojitos and Caipirinha are pretty darn good. On the weekend it comes with a good party atmosphere with indie/electro/reggae tunes.
If you go, try: The Perfect Storm