212 Leeds review: I tried the riverside bar with a wide selection of unusual drinks and mannequins for décor

This intimate bar on the outskirts of Leeds city centre offers a range of unique drinks matching its unique décor.
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Nestled between a Sainsbury's, apartments and what I can only assume are office buildings on Brewery Wharfe is 212, a small in size but big in style café-bar.

I once discovered the bar almost by accident while trying to escape the scorching heat during one of our many heatwaves in the last couple of years, and being the one place with a blasting air-conditioning unit, it made a solid first impression.

212's unique décor includes mannequins, BMX cycles and skateboard trucks for door handles.  212's unique décor includes mannequins, BMX cycles and skateboard trucks for door handles.
212's unique décor includes mannequins, BMX cycles and skateboard trucks for door handles.
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But while my first visit might have been purely out of a desire for survival, my second visit, on a cold February's day, was to enjoy what I remembered to be a unique and colourful bar.

When you enter 212 past its outdoor seating area, you are greeted by a riot of colour, not to mention some strange - in a positive way - décor.

The area includes a graffitied DJ booth, artificial greenery, and a mannequin torso to watch you enjoy your drink. If you head to the loo more graffiti and funky lighting brightens this unconventional space.

It put smiles on our faces as we went to order from the bar's selection of beers and cocktails. I tried the North Brewery Field Recordings x Noita Winter Muscat IPA - a bit of a mouthful but a delicious drink.

The smoky Bloody Mary proved too smoky for my guest - although I enjoyed it.The smoky Bloody Mary proved too smoky for my guest - although I enjoyed it.
The smoky Bloody Mary proved too smoky for my guest - although I enjoyed it.
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My guest tried the Smoked Bloody Mary, which was on offer on Sundays, but found the smokiness a little overwhelming. Although it might not be for everyone, I was happy to finish off her drink while she ordered something a little sweeter - and the Strawberry Daiquiri was more to her taste being fruity and sour.

As well as our choices of drink, 212 offers a range of beers and ciders on draught including Amstel, Veltins, Inch's, Old Mout Cider, and a selection of canned and bottled beers.

The service was friendly and the bartender offered to bring the cocktails over to our table so we didn't have to wait.

While we enjoyed our drinks we checked out the board games the bar offered free to use, including chess and trivial pursuit - and we were far from the only ones who had spotted the games corner as several tables were packed with customers battling it out over board games.

Finding a seat on the patio might not be too easy come the warmer months.Finding a seat on the patio might not be too easy come the warmer months.
Finding a seat on the patio might not be too easy come the warmer months.
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212 offers a relaxing oasis overlooking River Aire, with a wide selection of interesting drinks at a reasonable price, while frequently hosting DJs and live music. The large outdoor patio is sure to be extra attractive come the warmer month.

Factfile

  • Address: 6a Brewery Place, Leeds LS10 1NE
  • Telephone: 0113 243 9891
  • Opening hours: Mon-Thurs 11am-12am, Friday 11am-2am, Saturday 10am-2am, Sunday 10am-12am

Scores

  • Drinks: 7/10
  • Value: 8/10
  • Atmosphere: 9/10
  • Service: 7/10

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