Bar review: Revolución de Cuba, Call Lane, Leeds

Revoluci�n de Cuba, in Call Lane, Leeds. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Revoluci�n de Cuba, in Call Lane, Leeds. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Latin American vibes, vibrant cocktails and Cuban cuisine have reinvigorated an increasingly quiet area for bars.

Following a couple of closures, Call Lane’s bar offering was seemingly shrinking earlier this year – stretching only from Norman Bar to Backroom.

Revoluci�n de Cuba, in Call Lane, Leeds. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Revoluci�n de Cuba, in Call Lane, Leeds. Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The lower stretch of the city’s long-standing bar hub has been in limbo since the closure of stalwart pool bar Elbow Rooms and the loss of Baracoa Luxe Bar on the corner with Lower Briggate after four years.

But a revival is afoot with big name venue Revolución de Cuba taking up the latter’s former home and spicing it up with a £1.5million revamp.

Baracoa’s decadent chandeliers, plush booths and buxom dancefloor have been replaced with ceiling fans, weathered wood, rustic tiles and a Latin, Motown and funk soundtrack. The huge bar and restaurant space, which is spread over two floors and can cater to 700 punters, is a massive and welcome change.

On our midweek visit the venue instantly seemed more open and airy, with floor-to-ceiling windows drenching the groundfloor with light and making it more attractive during daylight hours.

The broad food offering, featuring everything from tapas and sandwiches to Cuban-inspired mains, burritos and burgers, is bidding to turn what was a nightclub into an all-day venue fit for food around the clock and drinks at night.

White partition panels downstairs break up the groundfloor into a rustic dining area and a stooled bar space.

Drinks-wise there is a real emphasis on rum here, with dozens of world spirits on offer, although the cocktail menu has something for everyone.

There are around 40 inventive mixes ranging from caipirinhas, mojitos, daiquiris, classics and tequila cocktails to rum mixes, teapot sharers and a range that you even shake yourself. There is even an arrack and Midori-based Ruby Punch – sales from which boost a Sri Lankan elephant charity. Most mixes cost around £8.

You can also choose from more than 20 red, white, rose, sparkling wines and champagnes as well as bottled drinks and nine draught beers and ciders including Aspall cider, Blue Moon and Mahou.

We went for a sweet rum-based toffee apple daiquiri and a spiced rum, strawberry, mint and ginger beer Strawberry Blonde, which was suitably fruity. With the addition of a bottle of pear Kopparberg the bill came to a pricey £22.40.

Taking over this space was a brave move, its revamp was a huge and expensive undertaking but the result is a vast improvement on what was a sleeping giant of a venue.

Revolución de Cuba is a fresh and exciting space and, with the brand’s national reputation, this place could soon become a go-to bar in the city centre.

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