Bar review: Golf Cafe Bar, Little Neville Street, Leeds

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Oddly patterned knitwear, sun visors and sun-drenched scenery give golfing an unusual allure.

The club spirit and rolling hills of the world’s great courses, combined with the iconic stars of the sport such as Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, have given it a boost in mainstream popularity in recent years.

Nevertheless its role in the hustle and bustle of city centre life is often reduced to nothing more than handheld games consoles, advertisements and televised competitions.

But Golf Cafe Bar, slyly situated down an offshoot of busy Neville Street next to Granary Wharf, has been giving city dwellers the chance to try their hand at the sport through an innovative virtual system for years.

You can pop by to what claims to be the only place you can play indoor golf in Yorkshire, go on the computerised driving range or even play a full 18-holes at world-famous courses.

All that swinging – and missing, for the amateurs among us – can’t help but leave you thirsty, and so the dedicated sports bar here comes in handy.

It’s a sprawling golf-themed groundfloor space, which looks out on to a bridge over to the sophisticated bars of Granary Wharf.

It feels like quite a modern, sterile venue, jazzed up ever so slightly by a few golf ball table decorations, tartan-patterned cloth covered seating nearer the windows and modern moulded golf ball-themed seats everywhere else.

The tactile grey flooring, glass tables, triple-height part-blue tinted windows and gleaming black bar are quite cold on first impressions, although the space is all set up as a niche sports bar.

An upbeat pop music soundtrack, buy-in-bulk bottled beer offers, a big wall-mounted projector screen, outside beer garden and pool table add all the right facilities despite the frosty decor.

The Golf Cafe Bar menu is another positive ingredient.

It features around a dozen bottled and draught beers including Kozel, Heineken and Guinness as well as plenty of bottled ciders along with Strongbow on tap – all at quite reasonable prices considering the pricey location.

Aside from those, you can choose from around a dozen white, red and rosé wines, a good range of spirits and mixers and a handful of basic cocktails.

We plumped for two pints of Kozel and bottles of Crabbies alcoholic ginger beer and Peroni beer, which brought the bill to a less than controversial £14.40.

There is also a pretty extensive food menu at Golf Cafe Bar, again adding to the idea that the venue wants not only to be seen as somewhere to play golf but also a straight-up sports bar.

Its golf club appeal and sports bar credentials make this place popular with groups aged 25 to 50, although on Barfly’s post-Christmas visit it was noticeably quiet.

You can’t really argue that this venue offers something different to its neighbours.

And neighbouring the wine bars of Granary Wharf, while being a 10-minute walk from the bars of Boar Lane and Lower Briggate, there is plenty of scope for success.

Golf Cafe Bar is open on Monday to Saturday from 12noon to 10pm and on Sunday from 12noon to 7pm, so for live sports you can’t go wrong.

But as much as this bar fills a gap in the market, its sterile styling makes it somewhere you’re unlikely to go out of your way for just to have a drink.

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