The calm waters of the Leeds Liverpool Canal at Granary Wharf help to set a picturesque scene.
It’s no wonder that the area’s mix of ex-industrial buildings, flowing water and Victorian railway arches have attracted bar, restaurant and hotel developers for punters seeking an escape from the busy streets just a few hundred yards away.
For years the largely pedestrianised space has been a great destination for food and drink but now, more than ever before, Granary Wharf is super hot property.
With Leeds City Station’s multimillion pound southern entrance set to open on the doorstep to the Dark Arches, this often placid place is soon to see its visitor numbers rocket.
As a result Ossett Brewery, which is behind relative Granary Wharf stalwart music and real ale bar The Hop, has splashed the cash on two new venues – the suave date night retreat, Candle Bar, and now Archie’s Bar and Kitchen.
On Barfly’s midweek visit to Archie’s, named after its location under Leeds’ railway arches, it became clear straight away that this place was no wallflower.
‘Eat, drink, disco’ is spelled out by a humongous light-up window display that stretches most of the two-arch broad venue – the rest is taken up by an orange converted VW camper van that dispenses real ale, coffee and juices.
It is in your face and, above all, different to its neighbours. The space is dotted with bright, fun house-style touches of red, yellow and green on the beer pumps, light fittings and drain pipes. There’s even a feature wall plastered with images of tropical fish.
Retro 80s music from the likes of Phil Collins drew us from the low-ceilinged bar to the double-height dancefloor that leads you to an upstairs area or ground floor dining space on the other side of the U-shaped venue. The stunning arched ceilings are laid bare and added to by stone, tiles and reclaimed wood furnishings.
Menu-wise it is very much geared at being an all day venue open for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as for drinks after dark. The food menu changes for each meal of the day and drinks-wise you can choose from soft drinks such as juices and coffees or a vast array of 15 draught real ales, lagers and ciders such as Estrella, Rekorderlig and Blue Moon. You can also choose from a range of wines, cocktails and a vast collection of spirits.
Our pints of Carling cider and Staropramen along with a bottle of Corona and a rum and ginger beer came to a good value £15.40.
Archie’s was designed to be something different from its neighbours and it has achieved that – it’s an eccentric bar with a broad offer.
Its decor may be brash in places but there is fun to be had in Archie’s Bar and Kitchen.