Barfly checks out All Bar One at the Electric Press in Leeds city centre.
All Bar One as a brand is marketed as a pretty upmarket, slightly continental, city centre bar chain and this place is no different. The Electric Press’s take on All Bar One is added to by its prime location in Leeds’s Millennium Square, so it attracts shoppers during the day, businessmen and women in the late afternoon and couples and groups at night. Unlike its sister bar, which is on the edge of the city’s business district, in East Parade, this place has a very mixed but relatively young clientele base at night, so you don’t feel quite as daunted by an unwritten suited dress code, as you might have done in East Parade. Although hardly a student haunt, you’re likely to spot plenty of young couples and mixed groups as well as those at the older end of the spectrum in here.
The menu at All Bar One is full of wine and cocktails, with around 35 cocktail mixes to choose from that are split into low calorie ‘Skinnys’, classics, signatures, non alcoholic, shared and sparkling categories. The bar’s buxom wine racks also boast around 50 different red, white and rose wines, most of which can be purchased by the glass. You can also choose from around 15 varieties of champagne and sparkling wine. All Bar One has plenty of bottled international beers and ciders in its fridges, along with a handful on tap that include one cider and at least one variety of real ale. Given the number of cocktails to choose from, you won’t be surprised to know that there are plenty of spirits to choose from too.
With floor-to-ceiling glass walls opening it up to those passing through Millennium Square, this light and airy bar has a slightly more toned down and subtle side to it than its sister bar. Instead of a gleaming gold bar and reflective tables, the bar blends into the rustic yet sophisticated feel of the place, the furniture is thick, basic and wooden, while there are plush booths on offer as well and the split level layout as you walk in from Millennium Square helps to make this expansive bar feel a little bit more cosy and welcoming. Of course it has the same huge train station clock, mock blackboards and dozens of wine racks and bottles on show to ram home the All Bar One message, but in many respects this is a nice inoffensive venue to visit. It is well priced, has a good selection of drinks, the music is low tempo and instrumental and the bar itself is easy on the eye – it’s always a good candidate for a quiet drink.
Situated in the Electric Press development, All Bar One has plenty of lively neighbours. The bar shares the Electric Press with Revolution and the Epernay champagne bar, while the earthy Nation of Shopkeepers is a stone’s throw away and the bars and clubs of Merrion Street are just up the road. This is one of two All Bar Ones in Leeds, the other is based at the junction of Greek Street and East Parade, near the city’s business district.
All Bar One is open on Monday to Thursday, from 10am to midnight, on Friday and Saturday, from 10am to 1am, and on Sunday, from 10am to 10.30pm.
We decided to sample All Bar One’s pretty varied cocktail menu, with a Wild Tea Party, which is a tea-infused vodka and fruit juice shared cocktail served with a teapot and teacups that costs £9.50. Single cocktails in here generally cost around the £6.50 mark, which isn’t by any means cheap, but if you pop by before 5pm on Sunday to Thursday, a number of mixes are reduced to £4.50 as part of the bar’s 5o’clocktails deal. We followed the fruity teapot up with a pint of Aspall cider and a small 175ml glass of El Velero Airen chardonnay, which brought the bill to a very reasonable £16.30.