The Arch Bar in Granary Wharf has been open since February, having taken over from the coffee shop which was there previously.
It’s a nice spot, standing as it does on the corner of Neville Street - the road which runs beneath the railway station and which always makes me feel as though I’m in London for some reason - and the entrance to Granary Wharf.
In terms of grabbing passing trade, it couldn’t be better placed. However, it has also marked itself out as a venue for events, such as parties, after-work/leaving dos and so on. Pictures on its website testify to this. There’s even a DJ in one of the shots. The website asks: “Why hire a room when you can hire an entire bar?” Why not indeed.
The owners have made good use of the space and while it looks relatively small, I am informed that just last week they had 80 people in there and the capacity runs to about 125, which is staggering because at first glance it looks smaller than that.
The interior pays homage to its history. No doubt, in the far distant past, it was used as a storage place for goods brought in by canal. The ceiling is lofty and part clad in burnished copper plate but the rest, including the walls is the red brick which gives this part of town such a lovely character. Beyond the bar are a series of chunky-as-they-come tables, each with a clutch of stools nestling beneath.
The bar has a decent selection of beers - nothing extraordinary but enough to keep most happy. I went for a half Maltsmith IPA at 4.6 per cent (£1.50), a friendly, easy going brew with lots of tropical fruit at the front end and a dry-ish aftertaste. I also sampled some bottles, including Golden Sheep (£4.60), which would you believe was originally brewed for Tesco but was tweaked to make it lighter and hoppier. At a disarming 3.9 per cent, it’s the ultimate thirst quencher. There was also a Fursty Ferret (again, £4.60).
They don’t do food here but that’s not the market they have in mind, as far as I can tell anyway. This is a pit-stop/events bar whose prominent position will no doubt serve it well. It should appeal to a wide clientele. It’s smart enough for suited city types to feel like they’re letting their hair down and for the more casual customer. There’s Parlare Pinot and Jack Rabbit Chardonnay from £14 a bottle or Veuve Cliquot Yellow for £70.
Possibly, in time, it could mark its territory still further by introducing tipples from local microbreweries and perhaps run to bar snacks.
Certainly, it looks like it’s doing well enough for itself at the moment and with the World Cup already underway, the large screen TV, visible from most angles in the bar, should help it pull in even more trade.
The Arch Bar, Neville Street, Leeds