Lovers of live music across Leeds should be familiar with Harrogate’s The Blues Bar, a local institution that consistently serves up foot-stomping great blues and rock music which is perhaps best enjoyed with a pint of whatever is on tap.
It is one of few Harrogate drinking holes with a reputation that truly does extend beyond its local authority boundaries and so it was interesting to discover that it had branched out somewhat and added a second bar that specialises in gin upstairs.
This new addition is known as The Green Room. Perhaps it actually is where the bands awaiting their set have a drink or two before blasting their tunes out through the amps in the room below? Having opened last year it was time for Barfly to see what it was all about.
You have to enter through The Blues Bar downstairs and ascend one flight of stairs to reach it and you emerge into a small room off to one side of the landing that has a small, polished dark wooden bar off to the right, complete with white backlighting and rows of variously shaped cocktail glasses hanging down over the bar counter.
To the left behind the bar are shelves of gin bottles, many of which were new to me and one which was being promoted as the bar’s ‘gin of the day’ - apparently it was distilled like a whisky and has a smooth finish, but I opted for something else and order a Gin Bramble, a tall drink consisting of Bombay Sapphire gin, Chambord Black and fruits.Disappointingly there wasn’t a specific gin menu explaining more about the unusual and exotic looking collection of 63 different gins displayed behind the bar, but there was a gin cocktail list offering eight different drinks and a special menu in addition which listed half a dozen more.
The gin cocktails were priced £7 each and classic cocktails were a fraction cheaper, including a Louisiana Jam, a bourbon-based concoction featuring apricot jam and mint leaves. There were a couple of beers on tap and also a fairly brief wine menu. An Arctic Monkeys tune and Jet’s ‘Are You Gonna Be My Girl’ played out, in keeping with the vibe from the music you would associate with the bar downstairs. There is an attempt here to make the bar look and feel a bit like a old-fashioned New Orleans-style watering hole. There are French shutters over the windows, imitation carved tiles on the ceiling, weeping-light fixtures with exposed bulbs and tall, green-leather booths around long wooden tables. The height of the booths made the room feel a bit enclosed but it gives groups of patrons a bit of privacy.
The Green Room certainly adds to the offer here, though I think it is something of an own goal not to capitalise more on the gin theme by providing a detailed menu to tempt you to try something new.