Bar review: The Alchemist, Leeds city centre

The Alchemist, Trinity Leeds.
The Alchemist, Trinity Leeds.
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When you think of The Alchemist it probably brings to mind long queues and fancy cocktails.

Sadly, more often than not, these go hand in hand at this swanky venue at Trinity Leeds.

The bar has become so popular that it’s not uncommon to wait up to half an hour for a drink, as we’ve experienced many times on previous visits.

This time, it was half term and the shopping centre was packed, so we were worried this would worsen the situation.

But we battled on and went inside to the busy bar, which has a modern, classy feel with cream and black leather chairs, a brass bar with trendy, low-hanging lightbulbs and black tables towards the dining area, with sweeping floor-to-ceiling windows all the way around.

Despite the room full of people, to our surprise the incredibly charming and chilled out barman takes three different people’s orders at once – including ours – and his cool, calm and collected manner rubs off on us, too.

It seems they’ve re-jigged how they run things since our last visit, and it appears there’s one server dedicated to making the cocktails, which speeds up the process immensely.

We watch in awe as the bartender creates our drinks.

My lychee and lavender concoction is £7.95 and is made with white rum, lychee liqueur, sugar syrup, lime juice and lavender foam, finished with freshly ground black pepper.

It goes down a treat and is such a delight that we end up ordering one more to share.

My companion goes for the bubble bath cocktail for £7.50.

Made with gin, Chambord, Aperol, apple juice and sugar syrup, there’s also a special ingredient that makes it bubble, and creates the kind of magical chemistry The Alchemist has become famous for.

The flavours are good but there’s a powder in the bottom of the glass (possibly the ingredient that sparks the chemical reaction) that gives a bitter taste at the end.

Nonetheless it was still enjoyable and certainly had the ‘wow’ factor we were hoping for.

The cocktail menu is extensive, with drinks ranging from £7 to £10.

And you can’t help but look around at other people’s impressive cocktails, some with dry ice and smoke billowing out the top, others served in chemistry beakers.

There is also a decent selection of wines and sparkling wines on offer.

We particularly enjoyed cocktail and people-watching from our seats outside on the terrace bar as we cosied up underneath the heaters and took in the impressive views over Leeds.

It’s great that the timing and queueing issue at The Alchemist seems to be getting sorted, and we hope the bar continues to make magic for cocktail fans across the city.