Going out for sophisticated inner city cocktails and maintaining your allotment aren’t two past times that immediately meld together.
Well if that’s what you thought, the Trinity Leeds shopping centre has news for you with its latest themed bar offering, The Botanist.
Hidden behind Holy Trinity Church, in Boar Lane, this botanically-themed drinking hole is decked out with rustic furniture, empty plant pots and wall-mounted shovels under weathered skylights and an impressive glass chandelier that features wine glasses, perfume bottles and beads.
Much like its high-rise Trinity sibling The Alchemist, which dines out on chemistry and flamboyant cocktail mixes, this recently-opened venue embraces its name with floral wrought iron decoration, its very own potting shed and an aged wood-panelled bar.
The venue itself is actually quite easy to miss, as it’s not accessible from Trinity itself and is hidden between the church and Burger King.
Its impressive beer garden is the first thing that catches your eye, with its floral iron barriers and arching metal lily pad lighting that leads you into the basement bar.
Inside you can see the bustling kitchen on your right as you turn left into a pale grey-blue hideaway bar that feels like an abandoned outhouse. The mirror-backed bar contrasts with its aged grey surroundings, forming a real focal point for visitors through a display of wines and spirits, barrels of ale and stacks of gleaming glasses.
Inside there are a few areas to explore, with the main bar spread with brown leather stools and a cloth banquette, while the adjacent area and potting shed, mainly used by diners, are filled with benches and mixed wooden furniture.
On Barfly’s visit, the bar was filled with post-work suits, young couples and groups, with drinkers aged 20 to 40 the focus. But this is not a super-cool exclusive bar, the music featured everything from Whitesnake and Cameo’s ‘Word Up’ to the venue’s own jazzy piano player and performer on our visit.
The staff here wear light green, almost grocer-like, uniforms and attentively dig out the many ingredients for what is an impressive cocktail menu, which makes the most of any opportunity to use fruit, veg and herbs to add flavour.
The cocktail menu features around 50 flutes, long, short, martini and non-alcoholic that make use of ingredients like thyme, sage and sorrel.
Ales, beers and ciders are also a big focus, with as many varieties stocked in bottles as there are cocktails, categorised into everything from Trappists and ciders to fruit beers and blondes. There are also around half a dozen varieties on tap.
Wine-wise there are about 20 whites, reds, roses and sparkling varieties available.
We went for a fruit puree, framboise and amaretto Raspberry Amaretto Sour, a whiskey, jasmine syrup and thyme Whiskey Thyme, along with bottles of Peroni and Budvar Original beer. The bill came to a pricey £22.60, which was not surprising given that most cocktails are around the £7 mark here.
This place, open Sunday to Wednesday, from 12noon to midnight, on Thursday, from 12noon to 1am, and on Friday and Saturday, from 12noon to 2am, is another refreshingly different offering that adds diversity to Leeds’s bar circuit.
It has the charm and extraordinary style of The Alchemist, while sharing its pretty high prices, but to be paying above the odds you might prefer to be somewhere a little more plush.