With a creative arts scene, live music venues and a large student body, Leeds’ nightlife is alive with something for everyone, from traditional bars serving local beer to trendy wine bars and secret cocktail bars.
As the unofficial capital of Yorkshire, Leeds has grown from a northern industrial city to one of the most vibrant and popular tourist destinations in the UK. Long known for its lively music scene and student nightlife, the city also boasts an abundance of secret cocktail bars and Prohibition-style taverns that serve elaborate drinks in sophisticated settings. Of course, in a county town known for its traditional beers, it’s not hard to find a whole host of pubs in Leeds that embrace local beer and independent breweries. Here are our picks for you on the ten best bars in Leeds for all types of nightlife.
Located on one of the city’s busiest streets in a historic former textile mill, Headrow House has four floors for drinking and dining. The award-winning restaurant ‘Ox Club’ focuses on regional Yorkshire cuisine, serving meat from local family-run farms and fish from Hartlepool, while downstairs in the beer hall you can find over 60 beers from around the world. There are also two rooftop terraces, on-site event space and a weekly pub quiz.
North Side Bar.
Since opening in 1997, North Bar has been Leeds’ first craft beer bar and still leads the city with its unique beer offering. The founders were so passionate about craft beer and lager that they even started their own brewery and taproom, North Brewing Co, and brought other local breweries together for their annual summer party.
This cozy little jazz bar is located in a secret area behind the barbershop Lords’ barbershop. There’s live music most nights of the week, with an emphasis on jazz, blues, soul and funk, though you may find some reggae, hip-hop and even gospel music. The bar is known for serving signature craft cocktails and some classics, and the comprehensive beer menu has everything from pale ales to porters.
down a flight of stairs
This unpretentious cocktail bar focuses on serving warm drinks, not fancy decor. The menu makes it easy to choose your favorite cocktail, break each one down into simple ingredient lists and instructions, or ask the bar staff to create a classic cocktail for you. The restaurant’s wines are thoughtfully selected from small, in-house producers, with a selection of craft beers.
A café and brunch place during the day, Iroko transforms into a stylish bar at night, when the staff push the back bar out and the pile of coffee turns into a new bar with more drink options.Iroko is known for its excellent drink selection, but also offers craft cocktails, gin and tonic, and small plates for snacks.
Belgrave Music Hall is one of Leeds’ other nightlife spaces, with three floors, two bars, a large event space and a roof terrace. Events range from live music to movie and comedy nights. The menu features a variety of craft beers, cask ales and chilled cocktails, as well as food from popular Leeds pizzeria Dough Boys Leeds for a snack.
This laid-back bar offers a careful selection of wines from around the world, as well as a rotating selection of craft beers, so there’s something new to try every time. As the name implies, the barbecue platter is the main course on the menu, along with a few cheeses to complement the fortified European wines.
Blind Tyger isn’t a secret bar, but you’ll have to search the dark, winding staircase to find it.Blind Tyger is known for its expert bar team and craft cocktails, with a unique mixology that combines carefully selected spirits with house-made cocktails. If you don’t see something you like, ask the team to shake it up and stir it to your taste, or choose a craft beer or lager if you don’t feel like a cocktail.
Whitelock’s Ale House
Whitelock’s is the oldest pub in Leeds, over 300 years old and still one of the best places to have a pint. There’s plenty of real ale and cider here, and if you want to try a local ale, there are plenty of breweries from Yorkshire. It’s also worth a visit for the charming old-fashioned decor dating back to the late 19th century, with a real log fire in the winter and a small patio in the summer.
Outlaw Yacht Club.
The Outlaws Yacht Club is more than just a place to drink, there are plenty of activities, from bar quizzes and book clubs to DJ nights and more. The drink menu is as quirky as it gets here, including the bar’s homebrewed pale ales, a large selection of G&Ts, cocktails, and what Outlaws calls “special beers,” where the bar team mixes up classic drinks with their own ingredients.