Bar review: The Alchemist, Greek Street, Leeds

The Alchemist, in Greek Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The Alchemist, in Greek Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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Bunsen burners, bubbling cocktail concoctions and sought-after style sum up the Alchemist formula.

Since the chain’s first bar opened at Trinity Leeds in 2013 the swanky rooftop venue has established itself as a decadent treat for city shoppers and nighttime revellers. Week to week it is packed – showing the mix is just right for Leeds.

The Alchemist, in Greek Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The Alchemist, in Greek Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Such has been its success that a second Alchemist has spawned in Greek Street – remember that place?

Once a destination for busy bars and restaurants, the area is now barely recognisable after a shift in impetus from bar owners to Leeds’ burgeoning Northern Quarter.

Greek Street was once a hive of activity and leather-filled bar-cum-club Prohibition, which used to occupy The Alchemist’s new site, was among the star attractions alongside the likes of Living Room and Henry’s.

Those bars no longer exist although Greek Street’s stock looks like it is once again on the rise. The Alchemist’s move comes amid the development of a new boutique hotel and after newbies such as Gusto, Seven Greek Street Social and The Liquorist have moved in.

The Alchemist, in Greek Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

The Alchemist, in Greek Street, Leeds. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Prohibition’s black and red boudoir feel has been replaced with an en vogue mix of weathered wood flooring, vintage copper wire lights and buttoned leather banquettes along with its unique molecular light fittings and decor.

Copper panels adorn the dramatic stepped entrance which leads to an eating area on the left and relaxed bar area to the right of the lengthy copper-topped bar. Bassy instrumental music sets the tone.

The cocktail menu is top notch, featuring around 50 mixes that are mostly inventive original cocktails. There are even flavour changing and colour changing drinks made with signature flair.

There are also around 40 red, white, rose and sparkling wines on the menu as well as three beers on tap. One slight bugbear we have is the fact that the beers, ciders and soft drinks aren’t on the menu, the beer taps aren’t labelled and the fridges don’t have glass panels to help guide you as to what’s on offer – it’s probably to guide you towards the cocktails but it is a bit irritating.

We went for a gin-centred Grapefruit and Apricot Martini, which packed a fruity punch, and a delicious bourbon Smokey Old Fashioned that came in a chemistry flask.

With the addition of a bottle of pear Rekorderlig cider the bill came to a premium £20.50.

After hearing about a second Alchemist opening within walking distance of Trinity, we couldn’t help but think that it might prove overkill.

But we’re pleased to report that The Alchemist mark II is a suave new offering in an area, between the shopping and business districts of the city centre, where it can thrive.

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