Bar review: Sociable Folk, Wellington Place, Leeds

Sociable Folk, in Wellington Place, Leeds. Picture by Tony Johnson.
Sociable Folk, in Wellington Place, Leeds. Picture by Tony Johnson.
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After a tough week at work, sometimes there’s nothing better than a nice post-work pint.

And although you might not be able to get hold of any draught here, Sociable Folk is hoping to quench the tiring taste buds of the office crowd filing out of the MEPC development, off Wellington Street, and the surrounding blocks every evening.

It’s a clever cafe bar combo that acts as a quaint sandwich bar/ deli during the day and then merges into a minimalist city bar after hours, particularly on Thursdays and Fridays. It becomes a nice little retreat.

Situated in the newest angled office block to rise from the rubble at MEPC, this ground floor establishment isn’t visible from the main Wellington Street thoroughfare and currently sits across from the site’s latest construction project.

So no, it’s not exactly on the beaten track. In fact its nearest competition comes in the similarly targeted Roast (recently renamed The Riverside) in Whitehall Road or the rejuvenated Central pub, in Wellington Street proper.

Open Monday to Wednesday until 7pm, and then on Thursday and Friday until late, this venue is targeted solely at the passing trade at MEPC and beyond.

We popped by for a midweek post-work drink and were impressed with the contemporary layout, although its cafe focus is evidently its main source of business.

Walking in past the ample metal beer garden seating into this double-height glass and concrete encased space, you’re faced with the now empty cafe displays, and tills and fridges stocked full of beers, ciders and wine.

To the left the venue curves round to a space dominated by high weathered wood and gleaming metal stooled seats, while there is plenty of standing space and a row of quirky seating pads placed by a smooth industrial concrete feature wall.

Dark wood floors, towering glass windows and huge black columns add further to its earthy and simplistic feel, while hanging bulbs and green light shades offer suitably cosy low lighting in the evening. That, combined with a part acoustic soundtrack with covers of Rihanna’s ‘Stay’ and Avicii’s ‘Wake Me Up’ along with classics from Michael Jackson, made us feel right at home.

Menu-wise, well, there is no menu. Instead you’re faced with a large glass panelled beer, wine and cider fridge with little idea as to how much things cost. There are no cocktails although spirits and mixers are available.

We ordered a small bottle of Orpen dry apple cider, a bottle of Spanish Estrella Damm beer and a Belvoir raspberry lemonade, which came to a premium £9.45.

Sociable Folk is an ultra modern meeting place and midweek night spot for those in and around the city’s burgeoning business district. The minimalist design and comfortable soundtrack would benefit with the addition of a broader drinks offer, but for what it is Sociable Folk is a suitably stylish place to visit.


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