Bar review: Cosmopolitan Bar, Lower Briggate, Leeds

Cosmopolitan Hotel bar, Lower Briggate, Leeds. Picture James Hardisty.

Cosmopolitan Hotel bar, Lower Briggate, Leeds. Picture James Hardisty.

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There is an interesting mix of the old and new at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

Having served Leeds as The Golden Lion Hotel for over 100 years, the venue in Lower Briggate was given a continental overhaul in 2008.

The corner venue’s gorgeous four-storey building went from traditional English fare to being decorated with cream and green-striped canopies and given a contemporary refit inside.

Its Wharf Bar and Restaurant has been turned into a plush, low-lit venue featuring dark wooden flooring, an exposed brick passage leading to reception and a glistening white-topped wooden centre-piece bar.

An array of spirits highlighted by decorative twigs sits below a huge mirror behind the bar itself and an open-ended soundtrack featuring the likes of Robbie Williams fits the bill for a broad clientele of mixed age drinkers and diners.

The petit bar space, stepped down from the main restaurant and littered with dark wood and leather tables and chairs as well as some feature French fancy cream and black fabric sofas, was popular with an older post-work crowd on our visit.

Clearly having a well put together, stylish bar space of its own, the Cosmopolitan has a range of eclectic neighbours.

Situated in the heart of Leeds’ gay district, it sits across the road from the likes of The New Penny gay bar as well as the swanky Malmaison hotel and the earthy Elbow Room sports bar.

You’re also close to The Cockpit music venue and the bars of Call Lane, so the choice for visitors is hugely varied – there is something for everyone.

But service can make or break a venue and in this case, it certainly cast a slight shadow over the Cosmopolitan.

Expecting slick, efficient service from somewhere that primarily acts as a customer-friendly hotel, I approached the bar before the brunette bartender stood with arms folded and tossed a closed cocktail menu on the bar in front of me when I asked whether they had a drinks menu. Not really the most welcoming start.

The menu itself however is pretty comprehensive and not overfacing price-wise. It focuses on more than a dozen classic, signature and champagne cocktails from £5.95 as well as an extensive wine list that features over 20 white, red and rose choices and half a dozen sparkling wines and champagnes. You can also enjoy a small selection of liqueur coffees and non-alcoholic mocktails.

There are five beers and ciders on tap including Boddingtons, Strongbow and Becks, while there are plenty more in the fridges.

Having been told they could serve us anything but the champagne mixes, we ordered a classic white rum, fresh mint and soda Mojito and a luminous Blue Curacao and vodka Blue Lagoon.

They were both well-presented and the latter was a refreshing mix, but the Mojito was utterly dominated by soda water and was cruel on the taste buds.

Although the cocktails were on a two-for-£10 offer, they didn’t really hit the spot and with the addition of an expensive small bottle of Peroni lager the bill came to £13.75.

The Cosmopolitan is a modern and suitably stylish bar but the off-putting service and poor cocktail on our visit did slightly overshadow what is an attractive and well-rounded venue.

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