Bar review: The Pit, North Lane, Headingley

The Pit in Headingley. Picture by Tony Johnson.
The Pit in Headingley. Picture by Tony Johnson.
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Leeds’ mining traditions may well have been consigned to the history books but there are Pits opening all over the city.

When we say Pits we mean, of course, bars. Leeds bar chain Arc Inspirations’ ever-expanding portfolio opened its fourth cavernous Pit-branded bar in Headingley last year.

There are now bare brick walls, stripped polished floors, brand spanking new fittings and comfy brown leather booths at Pit venues in Leeds city centre, Chapel Allerton, Headingley and Harrogate.

The latest creation in the heart of Headingley’s student hub, in North Lane, is a reincarnation of what was once the cosy basement bar of three-storey Trio. The building now hosts Trio’s plush ground floor restaurant and first floor cocktail bar as well as underground lair The Pit.

Thankfully this venue, unlike the Chapel Allerton Pit, actually fits the bill in being underground. The jazzy disco ball lights, sleek dark wood panels and buttoned velvet feature walls are no more, and the earthy Pit theme has reinvigorated this prime space.

Rustic brick columns, painted rugged brick walls, a quirky meshed metal wine rack and a three-tiered seating layout have turned what was a flamboyant student hangout into an down-to-earth den.

The redesign carves the venue a niche in Headingley and gives greater variety. While The Box is famed for its sports offering, the Arc and tired Trio did offer quite similar things.

Now Kings of Leon, the 1975 and the Sunshine Underground blurt from The Pit’s speakers, while there are date night couples enjoying the plush buttoned brown leather booths and groups of friends having a casual drink.

Here in the student capital of Leeds, socialising in bars can almost be a daily occurrence which the drinks and food deals are evidence of.

For example from Sunday to Thursday you can purchase a selection of around 10 cocktails at two-for-£8, while deals on craft beer and food feature on set days every week.

The full menu features around 20 cocktails priced at around £7 each and about as many white, red, rose wines and champagnes. You can take your pick of a dozen bottled or canned beers and ciders and around half a dozen on tap including Brooklyn and Amstel.

We gave the cocktails a go, with a fruit, Earl Grey tea syrup and bourbon Just Peachy and a vermouth, amaretto and bourbon Pitfather. The former was a colourful twist on iced tea while the latter was a simple, sippable mix. With the addition of a bottle of Aspall cider, the bill came to a great value £12.

Headingley’s Pit is the extension of a great concept.

As a tried and tested earthy, indie formula with cool, comfortable decor, the latest Pit adds a great deal to the suburb’s bar offering.