Bar review: Calls Landing, Leeds city centre

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A cluster of date night retreats and swanky city restaurants are thriving on The Calls.

A mini business quarter in itself, this fashionable district of Leeds city centre boasts the likes of Shears Yard, Ambiente and Brasserie Forty 4 for couples and small groups to relax beside the River Aire.

Situated around the corner from the bustling nightlife hub that is Call Lane, The Calls hosts a slower paced, intimate offering of bars, pubs and restaurants.

Calls Landing is a well-established venue in the district, well known for its fairylight-laden riverside bar and its specialism selling stew and oysters.

The bar itself is set overlooking the river and features an expansive and popular beer garden along with a quaint little balcony.

Low tempo instrumental music to the likes of bouncy R&B rap from Fatman Scoop welcomed us into this red brick, polished metal and oak wood escape.

Grey metal pillars, aged wood floors, modern brown low level banquettes and sofas and a sheet metal bar are subtly lit by candles and fairylights in what is a warm and comfortable bar space.

Its entrance almost has that barge-like linear feel before it opens out into a series of extra rooms.

The whole venue is given a warm glow and feels infinitely cosy, hence the date night couples dotted throughout who look like they have probably nipped in following meals at The Calls’ range of restaurants.

Nevertheless there are a few small groups of drinkers of varying ages although you’d have to say the core of punters are 25 plus.

The fact that the biggest group of guys in when we visited were wearing old-style braces and blazers shows this is hardly a beer and a burger joint but by the same token you don’t have to dress out of the 1950s to feel comfortable.

There is an uncomplicated cool about this place. There are no flashy cocktails or gimmicky themes, the bar is simply a calm, stylish setting for evening drinks with one of the best beer gardens in the city.

Call Landing’s quirky stew and oyster speciality is also evident in here, with blackboard menus and displays punctuating the bar, but the drinks menu isn’t quite so off-the-wall.

Instead there is a broad and unpretentious selection of draught beers and ciders available and countless more bottled up in the fridges.

And although there are no cocktails available to choose from, there are plenty of spirits on the backlit shelves behind the bar.

We went for pints of refreshing Symonds Cider and Heineken lager, before ordering a bottle of sharp Original Sin pear cider and a smooth cask whiskey chaser that came recommended by the friendly bartender. The bill came to a pretty reasonable £15.70.

Calls Landing, situated in a space once occupied by Karma Lounge, is one of a handful of bars, cafes and restaurants giving this section of the city centre a name as a classy alternative to high octane Call Lane.

You’re not too far from the bouncy nightlife for it not to be an option, while being within walking distance of similarly low key watering holes as well and eateries.

If you’re after an intimate drink in friendly yet stylish surroundings, you can’t go far wrong with Calls Landing.

It is a soft spoken gem of a bar in a top quality location.

Rating: 4/5

Nathan Clark at Brudenell Social Club

Bar review: Brudenell Social Club, Leeds