Among the towering office and apartment blocks to the east of Leeds city centre, the buzz of bars feels distinctly far away.
And with the empty shop units of New Dock nearby – until recently known as Clarence Dock – there is an overtly urban and impersonal feeling in and around the multi-laned East Street near the River Aire.
But with thousands of flats at developments such as New Dock and Gateway, there is ample opportunity for bar and pub custom.
Tyke Bar, situated on the groundfloor of Gateway North, is attempting to turn a section of urban sprawl into a friendly sports bar.
With only the adjacent Palace pub as anything like a neighbour, Tyke goes all out to attract a sport-hungry crowd through an open plan modern bar space crammed with plasma screen TVs at every turn.
As you walk in, the venue’s lengthy wooden-topped bar leads to a dartboard to your left and the main bar seating areas are on different levels to your right.
You can choose from a row of simple booths, individually fitted with TV screens, beside pool and foosball tables at floor-level or step up to a swirl-patterned carpeted space with multi-coloured mismatched furniture and a backlit brown leather banquette. The upper area is a full-on to say the least decor-wise, and combines a strange mix of contemporary leather seats with in-your-face striped sofas that you might expect to see in a casino.
It’s all a little quirky, with some random touches that don’t really fit the sports bar theme – take the unusual bright purple glass panelled image, situated between two plasma TVs, for example.
But aside from the at-times garish styling, the venue has a lot going for it.
An easy going soundtrack featuring everything pop and indie from the likes of Train and Ellie Goulding, along with sports bar musts such as darts, free wifi and bandits, and a simple pub grub menu, make Tyke a welcoming all-rounder.
And as Tyke is very much aimed at the residents of Gateway and visitors to the neighbouring Ibis Budget hotel, there is quite an obvious and successful attempt at securing a regular crowd here.
The bar is lined with older men who are on first name terms with the bar staff and the numerous bar and food offers throughout the week give it renewed appeal to regulars.
The menu here is varied and focuses mainly on around a dozen £5.95 cocktails and some shooters, including classics and more unusual mixes, and a broad range of beers and ciders, with the likes of Guinness, Amstel, Sagres and Strongbow on tap. There are also cask ales and numerous bottled selections to choose from as well as a basic selection of wines and champagnes.
We went for a deliciously fruity strawberry liqueur, puree and ginger beer Strawberry Mule and an unusual but intriguing coffee liqueur, coke, vodka and Guinness Stout Russian. We followed those with two bottles of Sol beer, which brought the bill to a reasonable £18.70.
With opening hours that run to midnight on weekends, Tyke is clearly somewhere to nip in for a friendly drink or meal, or to watch the game before heading elsewhere.
This place is a welcoming all-rounder that, in spite of its styling being an acquired taste, has the menu, value and facilities to make it an appealing modern alternative to traditional pub fare.