Sometimes you just want to go where the beautiful people go, and so we found ourselves at Kori, one of the city’s hottest, newest cocktail spots.
This rooftop terrace bar - of the kind that are clearly the in thing in Leeds at the moment -sits on the third floor of the Victoria Gate shopping centre, offering majestic views of the city and a variety of enticingly named cocktails at a tenner a pop.
Dim, moody lighting inside leads to the open, green terrace with plush sofas and a variety of foliage giving it a oasis-like, dare I say it urban jungle-like feel.
But there was nothing jungle-like about the atmosphere or the clientele.
People were relaxing and chatting, and the soundtrack of housey, jazzy mellow vibes hit the spot perfectly for a crowd dominated by well dressed couples and groups of friends mostly on the other side of 30, who were clearly able to afford the premium prices and were after a more chilled out atmosphere and setting.
Jokes aside, I didn’t get the sense that this was a pretentious place at all. The atmosphere was relaxed and wlecoming. It’s the kind of place you could pop along to for a quick drink, and easily sink into a sofa for the whole evening.
We did just that, to the point that our well-laid plans to go on to a club and dance the night away quickly evaporated amidst the housey vibes and chilled banter.
Even a drizzle of rain didn’t put us off - the terrace is protected by a canopy.
The Kori Bar, which derives from the Japanese word for ‘Ice’, is actually the rooftop bar attached to Japanese restaurant Issho.
As well as drinks, there is an all day food menu.
The cocktail menu is inspired by the Japanese seasons. So you can enjoy a gin infused Spring cocktail like the Yuzo Bramble, or Kochia, a vodka based cocktail from the Autumn Collection.
There is also a ‘happy hour’ offer - the Kanpai menu. Kanpai mean ‘cheers’ in Japanese, And you’ll definitely be saying that, with six cocktails for £6 each giving a significant discount.
The bar also boasts the biggest sake collection in Leeds, Japanese whisky and beer. So for aficionados, the Mitani Fujio Gingo sake or the Nikka Miyagikyo premium single malt whisky and Kirin Ichiban bottled beers might prove tempting.
However, I am no expert on Japanese drinks, and had gone there searching simply for a relaxed atmosphere, tasty cocktails and ‘you can each other talk’ noise level. I got all of those
The live music is another real draw, with events every Friday and Saturday night from resident DJs playing a variety of chilled vibes and the occasional acoustic set.
The cocktail prices might be offputting for some, but it’s no more than other similar venues. It’s defineitely one for the older and/or more discerning crowd, but a real treat for fans of the true ‘cocktails on the terrace’ experience.