Yorkshire’s mining traditions are largely confined to the history books these days.
The recent closure of Kellingley Colliery was yet another reminder of the county’s evolving identity – but coincidentally as mines are shutting, Pits are opening.
Leeds’ reputation as a burgeoning bar hub shows no sign of slowing and the expansion of Arc Inspirations’ chain of venues in the wider region has certainly played a part.
The Pit concept, in which bars are transformed into bare brick wall, lantern-clad caverns, has proven a massive hit in the area. Four have emerged in Leeds and Harrogate since the Grand Arcade prototype opened in 2013.
Chapel Allerton’s incarnation was the second and was seen as an immediate improvement on the plain and cramped venue formerly known as The Hub.
Bar districts evolve, though, and The Pit is no longer the exciting new kid on the block in this north Leeds suburb. It has increasingly become the area’s go-to sports bar, particularly since the nearby Manor closed.
Nevertheless on our Monday night visit, the bar was pretty busy. The brown leather booths, worn-in wood floors, hanging lantern lights, earthy surfaces and bare brick features still manage that balance between comfort and cool.
The menu has been renewed in recent months and remains extensive. There are 20 original cocktails, most of which are available at two for one from Sunday to Thursday. Half of the mixes are South American and half New York inspired.
There are more than a dozen varieties of white, red, rose and sparkling wines and champagnes to choose from as well as American craft beer cans and more than half a dozen bottled beers and ciders. You can also choose from a handful of beers and ciders on tap.
We went for a couple of cocktails including a spiced rum, mint, lime, ginger beer and pear liqueur Spiced Stowaway and a rum, almond, gingerbread and blackcurrant syrup Gingerambre that was topped with a biscuit.
Both long mixes were sweet and went down well – the former proving a lovely ginger-tinged twist on a mojito and the latter a real dessert of a drink.
With the addition of pints of Symonds cider and Coors lager, the bill came to a good value £15 having been boosted by the two-for-one cocktail offer.
The Pit is a great meeting place with a friendly vibe and it has arguably become Chapel Allerton’s busiest nightspot.
The initial buzz may have worn off slightly, but this venue’s diverse offer, stylish decor and dominance in being able to offer sport outside of a pub setting makes it a great asset to this suburban bar triangle.