IT’S hard to believe that Friends of Ham first arrived in Leeds back in 2012.
Since then, the venue on New Station Street has blossomed, outgrowing the original, tiny ground floor bar area and its downstairs basement.
It now takes up a much larger plot after expanding into the next door premises and has become well known for its great range of beer, wine, charcuterie and cheese.
It’s proved so popular that Ilkley now has its own Friends of Ham as well.
But it’s the Leeds venue that we decide to visit on a sunny weekday afternoon.
Stepping into the bar we are greeted by a friendly waitress who offers us a seat at the end of one of the long tables on the left-hand side of the bar.
The windows stretch across the length of the bar, providing a light and airy feel, whilst its rustic furniture and decor adds a warmth.
It’s fairly busy, with
The beer menu is a little different to your usual menus.
Each beer is listed with a box next to it.
The top box for each tap shows what’s currently available, and when it’s run out, it gets stamped off and you move down to the box below.
There’s a great range, from cherry beer, pale ale and stout to smoke barbecue beer and cider.
There is also a wide range of bottled beer available, as well as sherry, port, sweet wine and whisky.
The wine list is also extensive, with varieties from Luxembourg to Hungary.
Most of the wine on offer is available in either a 175ml glass or a 500ml carafe.
I go for a large glass of the house white – a Chateau Fontainebleau Blanc – for £4.50.
My companion follows suit and we’re impressed that such a refreshing, light wine can have such bold flavours.
We then go back to the menu to try another wine.
We decide to give the rosé, red and sparkling wine a miss and stick to white. We go with the next wine down on the list – a Camino Real Blanco, priced at £3.50 per glass.
It is also easy on the palate and has light biscuit flavours with a hint of fruit, making quite a mouth-watering combination.
There are so many unusual tipples to try at Friends of Ham and that has no doubt helped contribute to its popularity, encouraging visitors to return to try something different each time.
The food and brunch menus are also proving a hit, with most of those who are drinking at the venue also choosing to dine there as well.
It’s only been a few years since its launch but with such a great food and drink offering within a friendly, cosy setting, we have a feeling that Friends of Ham will continue to see success.
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