Bar review: Scene! at Park Plaza, Boar Lane, Leeds

Scene! bar inside the Park Plaza hotel, Leeds. Picture by Scott Merrylees
Scene! bar inside the Park Plaza hotel, Leeds. Picture by Scott Merrylees
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Neon lights shining through translucent glass, multicoloured pillars and a black sculpted bar form this futuristic cocktail venue.

The towering grey-cladded Park Plaza hotel building’s contemporary bar, in Boar Lane, Leeds, offers a massive contrast to the stonework of City Square and grandeur of the Queens Hotel across the way.

Scene! sits aside the building’s plush groundfloor reception space and offers views out on to Boar Lane as it curves round from City Square as a little modernist retreat.

By day you’ll see suitcase-clad business people supping on wine amid meetings over lunch and by early evening a gathering of hotel guests and a middle-aged crowd heading either up to Greek Street or across to Trinity Leeds warming up with a few quiet drinks.

It’s a relatively compact bar space that catches the eye of Boar Lane pedestrians with its minimalist decor, glass surfaces and multi-coloured backlighting.

The hotel is seemingly trying to entice non-guests into the bar with drinks offers scribed on the floor-to-ceiling glass walls that look out on to City Square, although its doors on that side were closed when Barfly nipped in.

Instead we entered through the revolving doors of the hotel reception, off Boar Lane, into the vibrant barspace that was quiet on our midweek visit.

Non descript instrumental RnB lobby music gently rings around the granite-tiled floor space which is littered with simple silver square tables, metal chairs and contemporary white L-shaped leather sofas.

There is a plasma screen TV mounted on the wall switched to Sky News to add to this quite plush and formal area.

Despite the modern decor and business lunch-centred features, Scene! doesn’t feel particularly cold or impersonal – in part thanks to the fact that on our visit we were greeted by a chatty and helpful female bartender, who offered recommendations and service with a smile.

Meanwhile the menu at Scene! is nice and varied, featuring around 10 varieties of red, white and rose wines costing from £3.60 for a small glass as well as a selection of champagnes and sparkling wines.

There are three beers including Cobra, Caffreys and Coors, there are also over a dozen beers and five ciders bottled in the fridges which sit below a broad range of spirits racked up on the mirror-backed bar.

Cocktails are the order of the day however, with five signature mixes along with customisable jam jar cocktails that allow you to combine any two spirits with syrups and flavourings and mixers at £6.50 each.

I decided to give the novel jam jars a go, choosing a ginger syrup, ginger beer and spiced rum mix while my guest indulged in a gin, elderflower, apple and lemonade mix that came recommended by the bartender.

Both were well mixed and good value, and with the addition of a pint of Cobra beer the bill came to a pretty reasonable £16.90.

The central location of Scene!, in close proximity to the bars of Boar Lane, Trinity Leeds, Park Row and Greek Street, along with its good range of good value drinks, to me, means more should be made of it.

It’s a quite unique little bar that offers a classy and contemporary experience without feeling in any way pretentious.

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