Bar review: Distrikt, Duncan Street

Distrikt, Leeds. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Distrikt, Leeds. Pictures: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Beneath the city streets are some of the best kept secrets and Leeds is rife with cosy basement eateries and drinking holes.

Distrikt, which is tucked away on Duncan Street, off Boar Lane, is one such establishment and is found at the foot of a couple of flights of stairs. At the bottom is a cavernous room that can fit a surprising number of patrons.

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Black wooden floors, a dimly lit bar illuminated by black steel lamps and large alcoves where the ceiling curves down on the far side of the room give the venue a distinctive atmosphere.

The alcoves are each lined on three sides by plush, black leather seating with button detail. Moroccan-style lamps with tealights in are placed on some of the tables.

Along the nearside walls is a cluster of smaller tables with plastic backed seating.

There is a DJ booth by the door, indicating lively nights as this bar stays open until late.

Canvas artwork on the walls has street/gothic overtones, and intermittent coloured lighting from the ceiling complete this bar’s ‘look’.

As I seat myself and peruse the artfully-designed and lengthy drinks menu, music plays out at an unobtrusive volume - jazz music with a beat laid over it, and other tunes that are more ‘dancey’.

To the right of the bar, a short flight of stairs leads to the outside world where an enclosed walled space has been cunningly converted into a hidden-away beer garden. Again there is a DJ booth for when the party is in full swing.

Down to business and the drinks menu is a full one, featuring a plethora of cocktails from the classics to a selection of contemporary recipes, sours, daquiris and mojitos.

In all there are around 50 cocktails to choose from but two drinks in particular take my fancy: the hazelito mojito comprising of Santa Teresa Claro rum and Briottet Crème de Noisette, and of course, mint, lime and sugar.

The other is devil’s manhattan made with Jack Daniels Single Barrel, Southern Comfort, Antiga Formula and Fee Brothers orange.

Both are nicely balanced drinks and are presented in style by the friendly, tattooed owner who brings them over to where I’m sat. All cocktails are priced £7 to £9.

There are also generous wine and fizz options, and a strong array of craft beer.

Distrikt also does food and offers a tapas menu. I can testify that the meat platter (£9) that comes served with brie is a winner and washes down well with a Brooklyn Summer Ale which is available on draught.

The drinks bill comes to just over £20, relatively pricey but this is a place to enjoy a premium drinks selection.

A cool underground den for escaping the city streets and sampling fine food and drink.

Rating: ****

PIC: Simon Hulme

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