The New Conservatory describes itself as having a long and distinguished history as one of Leeds’ oldest and abiding favourite bars.
It’s certainly a place that feels like it’s always been there, quietly getting on with things as so many other places have come and gone.
The problem with its ‘part of the furniture’ status and positioning away from any of the city’s busier nightlife areas is that it is easy to forget the bar is there at all.
I can’t imagine thinking of this particular spot as a potential destination on a Friday or Saturday night, but then again I had no idea they hosted DJs playing funk, soul, hip hop and disco then or an open mic night on Thursdays.
With its place in the very heart of the city centre and tables and umbrellas outside for sunnier days, I can certainly see the appeal for shoppers in need of a break and the after-work drinks crowd though.
We visited on a fairly dreary Monday night when the rain put an end to any notion of enjoying al fresco drinks, but the weather becomes irrelevant once you head down into the bar and its Chesterfield sofas and armchairs.
For those yet to discover this spot on Albion Place, the interior takes its inspiration from a Victorian gentleman’s club or library with a book-lined dining area, stained glass windows, statues and old-fashioned lamps.
The bar itself is something to behold too with its carved wood and mirrors that dominate the centre of the room.
There is food available throughout the week, but we were just in the market for some drinks on this occasion.
You’ll find no shortage of those with around a dozen beers, lagers and ciders on draught or hand-pull pumps with more still in the fridges.
There’s a similar amount of wine, champagne and prosecco to choose from by the glass or bottle, and an impressive selection of spirits to boot.
We kicked things off with a pint of the German wheat beer Erdinger (£5.50), a favourite of the friend who joined me, and a bottle of the raspberry Timmermans (£4.95) – both at the steeper end price-wise.
There were a number of couples and larger groups of drinkers dotted around and we took a spare booth alongside one of the latter.
No doubt some of them were taking full advantage of the ‘happy hour’ from 5pm until 10pm daily, offering a hard-to-beat two drinks from a selection for just £5.50.
Happily settled, we decided on a second round of drinks – another Erdinger and, for me, the Yorkshire Collins (£8.95) from the cocktail menu.
Combining Mason’s Lavender Gin, rhubarb syrup and lemon juice, the balance of flavours was just right and it proved a good end to an enjoyable visit.