Bar review: Oracle, Brewery Place, Leeds

Oracle, Brewery Place, Leeds. Picture by James Hardisty

Oracle, Brewery Place, Leeds. Picture by James Hardisty

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The glitz and glamour of structured-reality shows like Made in Chelsea are indulging flashy punters nationwide.

With champagne thrust to the fore, glowing neon backlights and glistening surfaces, TV’s untalented elite are helping to inspire a crowd after a taste of the extra special by converging in swanky bars.

For a number of years the riverside nightspot hub Oracle, in Brewery Place, has proven a indulgent venue popular with those flashing the cash.

On Barfly’s last visit we were confronted with an in-your-face Moet & Chandon reception desk and lashings of bubbly dotted all over the joint – something as off putting to many as it is enticing to some.

Following a recent groundfloor refit and a fresh cocktail menu, we couldn’t help but wonder if Oracle had toned it down.

On the surface of it, the cash-splashing exuberance of this venue is still evident with cabinets of Dom Perignon and the like not far from view everywhere you turn, although in a bid to attract a broader crowd it has been given a fresh-faced new look.

Its top class beer garden on the banks of the River Aire remains, and inside the circular venue is an impressive, white centrepiece bar bordered with glowing and spherical silver and glass fixtures. Multicoloured glass chandeliers also brighten up the space.

As you walk in there is a purple neon-lit grey leather banquette, tables and transparent purple plastic chairs and to the left there are aqua-coloured corner seating, stools and high chairs and low-level seating for diners on an earthy textured floor.

A pop and RnB soundtrack featuring the likes of Nicki Minaj and David Guetta emphasises Oracle’s appeal to a pretty mainstream audience, most likely out to enjoy a night in the venue’s upstairs club.

Oracle is a stylish, still at times overfacingly flashy bar space which lacks that homely, comfortable feel that could turn it into a regular haunt.

The new cocktails menu, featuring around 20 original mixes and bellinis, is an attempt at bringing a new side to a place with a reputation based on champagne and indulgence.

There are still reams of bottles of bubbly to choose from, around 20 white, red, rose and sparkling wines as well as a handful of beers and ciders on tap.

We went for a couple of the new cocktails, with a rum and tropical fruit juice St Lucian’s Zombie and a rum, blackberry liqueur and ginger Ransom.

The former was delivered in a jam jar and although pleasant, was certainly style over substance, while the Ransom was a much more measured and enjoyable mix.

The bill came to £21.50 with pints of Briska pear cider and Grolsch lager, which was arguably on the steep side.

Despite this, you can get better value for your money here, with two-for-one cocktails, house wine and bottled beer deals dotted throughout the week.

On the night we were joined by punters that predominantly included small groups of girls and guys aged under 30.

Yes, Oracle has a brisk new look and revamped menu but it has by no means forgotten its roots or core clientele.

Some may see it as a haven for those hoping for a Made in Chelsea cameo, while others might have it down as an extrovert beer garden retreat.

It may split opinion but overall, this venue does have an appeal and its attempt at original cocktails can only go to further that once they have been refined.

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