Bar review: Livin’ Italy, Granary Wharf, Leeds

Livin' Italy at Granary Wharf.  Pictures: Simon Hulme

Livin' Italy at Granary Wharf. Pictures: Simon Hulme

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The secret of Granary Wharf’s snug collection of bars and eateries is long since out but a trip to the Leeds Liverpool canal side remains a worthy one.

Clustered together here are a number of options for a cocktail or a beer, live music and DJ performances and each venue has its own style.

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Livin’ Italy brings a taste and atmosphere of its own to the popular spot at the foot of Leeds train station’s revamped southern entrance.

There is no mistake of the origins here, with a typically Italian style red scooter displayed prominently over the doorway of the bar-come-kitchen’s glass frontage.

Tucked beneath one of the railway station’s busy lines, occupying the arch of the rail bridge, the thunder of a passing train can occasionally be detected amid the lively atmosphere inside.

While the interior is small, narrow and has low ceilings, the ambiance is cosy and jovial with enough seating for maybe 15 people to sup a drink in the front part of the venue that comprises the bar area. Round the back, past the bar, is the restaurant area.

In a typical display of Italian bluster, the bar is a hive of activity. Beneath fairy lights and in front of shelves of liquor, a team of bar and kitchen staff - many of whom appeared to be speaking in Italian - could be seen preparing food and drinks.

There are three options of drink on the taps: the venue’s own Nostra Birra, Addlestones cider and Franciscan Well’s Chieftain IPA.

I opt for the home brew, a pint of which is £4.10 and comes served swiftly in a simple glass tankard.

The bar is full on this midweek evening visit, with the afterwork crowd, couples and a few small groups of friends.

Creaky floorboards add a rustic quaintness, while foreign bank notes are affixed to the wall behind the bar.

There is an outside area at the bar entrance with tables, chairs and an overhead heater.

Open all day, this is a bar that serves food round the clock in its neat restaurant, from dolce Italian and Italo-English breakfasts, to deli plates of pasta, Italian meats and cheese to burgers, pizza and antipasti boards, and evening menu classics such as lasagne and tagliatelle al pesto.

There is an extensive wine list with bottles starting at around the £20 mark, plus, for those feeling extra fancy there is a selection of vintage wines to choose from too.

There is a quartet of Martini cocktails for those who drink like James Bond and a selection of Italy inspired cocktails priced at £7.95 each.

For a taste of Italy in a cosy, bubbly setting, you could not go wrong with a trip to Livin’, but with space limited, get here early or book ahead to dine.

Rating: 4/5.

Bar review: Banyan, Roundhay, Leeds