Water Lane Boathouse Leeds review: A picturesque pint by the River Aire

It was a grey and drizzly Monday evening when I rocked up to Water Lane Boathouse, yet still the beer garden was packed with happy - if cold - faces, and the queue for walk-ins was around ten people deep.

By YEP Reviewer
Sunday, 23rd May 2021, 11:45 am

I shouldn’t have been surprised. Since it opened in 2017, the Boathouse has always been a popular pub, and as the global pandemic has forced us all to drink outside, the fantastic beer garden overlooking the River Aire has become a firm favourite.

We arrived early for our table, but it was only a short wait before the we were seated. Ordering is now done via an app called Your Round, which I found pretty intuitive and easy to navigate, however, it wasn't accessible to my visually impaired companion who uses an assistive technology on their phone.

I ordered my favourite - a crisp, cold pint of Saltaire Blonde Cask (£3.80), which was delicious but for some reason wasn’t hitting the spot, so I moved onto a glass of white wine (£6.90). My friend opted for a couple of glasses of Slingsby Rhubarb with Lemonade (£5.40).

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Water Lane Boathouse.

We both ordered the same ‘Small Victories burger’ - a beef Yorkshire beef patty, topped with cheese, bacon jam, lettuce, tomato, pickles, smothered in Small Victories Burger sauce and served in a toasted sesame bun (£10.95).

The food came quickly and was piping hot. The chips had that perfect authentic ‘proper chips’ taste, mega crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

The burger was also delicious. It was dripping with cheese and sauce, which in my book was a good thing, however, this was a complaint from my companion, who found herself scraping off the sauce and removing some toppings. She said she wished there was an option to customise orders on the app.

In total, the meal cost £41 for four drinks and two main meals. Personally for the city centre I think this is a great deal, as there are many places these days where a burger by itself will cost you more than £10, with chips an additional cost.

The Small Victories burger at Water Lane Boathouse.

It is not as though the pub has scrimped on the quality either, it is a really tasty, well cooked burger and chips and well worth the money.

However, what I think the main draw for the pub is its atmosphere. Using apps and one way systems could be quite cold and alienating, but the staff have worked hard to make it a really fun and inviting place to be.

I am looking forward to returning for one of their many pop-up food festivals and legendary pizza quiz nights.

The beer garden at the Water Lane Boathouse is always popular.