IT’S NOT every day we feel brave enough to try a night out in Headingley.
The hordes of fresh-faced youngsters often serve as a constant reminder of our (now very distant) memories as a carefree student.
But it’s Friday night and we don’t fancy venturing into the city centre, so bite the bullet and head to the north Leeds suburb instead.
Whites is unlike some of the other venues on Otley Road.
There are no brash neon signs alerting you of its presence, no Otley runners donning fancy dress and no gimmicks.
It’s just a chilled-out, fuss-free deli and bar.
We end up stumbling across it by accident and are drawn in by the warm glow of the twinkling fairy lights in the window.
As we enter, we are greeted by some friendly staff behind the bar.
We grab a cocktail menu and sit ourselves down at a table.
The bar is fairly busy without being loud, and it’s a mix of older residents and ‘young professional’ types.
Surprisingly, there are only a handful of students, and, thankfully, they’re not the rowdy kind.
The low-key decor with chunky wooden tables and some modern, minimalist touches, makes for a laid-back atmosphere. The cocktail menu is small but varied, with just six concoctions available at around £7 each.
They include an apple mojito, espresso martini and a ‘dark and stormy’ with rum, ginger beer, orange, lime and fresh ginger.
I go for the elderflower gin fizz, with gin, cucumber, elderflower and lemon, at £7.50. It’s exactly what I’m after and is refreshing without being too sweet.
My companion goes for an orange Amaretto sour, made with Amaretto, Cointreau and lemon, priced at £7.
The drinks are made in super-quick time with minimum fuss and both are big hits – so much so that we go back for another.
The bar also serves wine, spirits and a selection of craft and draft beer.
Whites also serves food through the day, so has plenty of soft drinks, smoothies, coffees and homemade cakes and brownies on offer.
As we finish our cocktails, a musician starts performing on acoustic guitar at the small stage at the back of the bar.
It’s a nice little touch and livens up the atmosphere without being too in-your-face.
Headingley has a lot of competition when it comes to bars and nights out, but Whites offers something different.
It is accomplishing the difficult feat of attracting both the students and more permanent residents in the area, and is a little gem amongst the hustle and bustle of Headingley.