Bar review: Be at One, Leeds

Be at One on Millennium Square, Leeds. Pictures: Tony Johnson.

Be at One on Millennium Square, Leeds. Pictures: Tony Johnson.

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THOUSANDS of people are descending on Leeds city centre for a gig at the O2 Academy – and I’m one of them.

It’s a Sunday evening and there are more people floating around town than you would normally find at this time due to the big name performing.

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We decide to get away from the hustle and bustle and nip into Be at One for a quick drink.

Craig David is blaring through the speakers as we walk in and it’s fairly busy.

The bar took over the former Casa Mia and Teppan 260 site almost exactly a year ago.

Since then, it has become a go-to destination for the quirkiest and coolest cocktails around.

As we make our way to the bar, I inform my companion I’ve been here a few times and am not ashamed to recommend the ‘Porn Star Martini’.

The name may be off-putting but it’s the perfect summer tipple with vanilla vodka, passionfruit liqueur, purée and prosecco. However, the bartender tells us they have no passionfruit purée left, and would usually use mango purée but they’re out of that as well.

She goes on to reel off a list of spirits, mixers and fruit juices that they don’t have due to a problem with the ordering, and she looks a little frustrated by the situation. After offering her apologies, we are directed back to the menu, which is overwhelming with more than 150 cocktails divided into sparkling, tequila, gin, whiskey, the ‘top 10’, rum, vodka and ice-cream-based drinks.

Luckily the bartenders see us struggling and suggest some ideas.

We’re told it’s two-for-one on the same cocktails, but as we’re both driving in a couple of hours we give our extra drinks to the bar staff after their shift.

I’m advised to try a passionfruit margarita with lime juice, Passoa and passionfruit syrup at £9.50.

Another chatty bartender shows off his skills as he flings bottles and glasses in the air.

He then hands me the cocktail shaker so I can have a go at mixing my own drink and it helps pick the mood up.

The tequila is still a bit much for me but it’s balanced with the sweetness of the other ingredients and the sugar rim.

My companion goes for a gin re-fashioned with passionfruit syrup and orange bitters at £8.50. It’s pretty strong and he actually prefers my cocktail so we end up sharing.

With such a diverse menu, it’s easy to get lost amongst the pages but if you persevere, you will find something you love.

It’s just a shame they don’t have the ingredients for my favourite tipple this time.

Although our drinks were not quite to our tastes on this visit, the bar staff really make up for it. Their friendly, helpful attitude helps perk us up in time for the concert, and it’s clear that at Be at One the bartenders are the stars of the show.

Rating: ***

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