With so many great Leeds watering holes to choose from, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by choice and end up falling into a rut out of habit.
But branching out from your usual haunt and discovering a hidden gem or two is well worth your while in this city.
Nestled among the hospital and court buildings in the north west quarter of the city centre, this sophisticated and unassuming bar offers a fine selection of ales, wines and spirits, along with locally sourced traditional pub food.
Visit: 43-47 Great George Street, LS1 3BB – markettowntaverns.co.uk
Sitting a little off the beaten track, this rustic bar and dining room serves up modern British dishes and home cured charcuterie in a comfortable yet trendy setting.
And if the food here doesn’t take your fancy, there’s still a lengthy beer and wine list to work through, with drinks from around the world.
Visit: 76-78 North Street, LS2 7PN – the-reliance.co.uk
The White Swan
Adjoining the City Varieties Music Hall, The White Swan serves a superb selection of local ales, imported craft beer and quality wines.
You’ll easily find a tipple here to suit your taste, and their homemade dishes are more than a little tempting.
Visit: 5 Swan Street, LS1 6LG – whiteswanleeds.co.uk
As the name suggests, this quirky American style bar and restaurant expertly pairs good food with good drinks.
Their mouth-watering burgers and chicken wings are hard to resist. Pair them with a fruity cocktail, indulgent shake or freshly pulled pint for a winning combination.
Visit: Trinity Leeds, Trinity Centre, Bank Street, LS1 5AT – meatliquor.com
White Cloth Gallery
While it may be known for its creative events, photography and art exhibitions, White Cloth Gallery also boasts a unique schooner bar.
Here you can enjoy unique craft ales, classic spirits, wines and colourful cocktails.
Visit: 24-26 Aire Gallery, LS1 4HT – whiteclothgallery.com
Brought to life by the minds behind Belgrave Music Hall, this multi-use arts and events space is home to a large beer hall (with a beer menu of more than 60 ales from around the world), a cocktail bar, a 150 capacity music venue and the Ox Club restaurant, as well as three outdoor areas.
Visit: Bramley’s Yard, The Headrow, LS1 6PU – headrowhouse.com
Pitched as a refuge for vinyl enthusiasts, this intimate bar and juke joint has a wonderfully vintage feel about it that will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Soak up the ambiance with a cool cocktail or beer from their vast selection, and bask in the music from the old jukebox.
Visit: 8JA, 20 New Briggate, LS2 – selabar.com/wax-bar
North Brewing Co
Open only on Fridays and Saturdays, North Brewing Company’s popular brewery tap allows you to sample the freshest beers straight from the source.
They always have a guest beer and prosecco on tap, too, so you’ve still got some choice.
Visit: Unit 6, Taverners Walk Industrial Estate, Sheepscar Grove, LS7 1AH – northbrewing.com
Lamb and Flag
Beautifully restored from a crumbling 19th century building, this stylish pub proudly serves a traditionally British menu, featuring a range of pies, fish and chips, and sausage and mash.
Their extensive range of Leeds Brewery beers, draught lagers, wines and spirits will ensure you won’t go thirsty.
Visit: 1 Church Row, LS2 7HD – lambandflagleeds.co.uk
Tucked away on Wellington Street, away from the main hub of bars in the city, Lazy Lounge offers a welcome escape.
Unwind here, and enjoy the extensive selection of wines, gins and whiskies on offer in their downstairs drinking den.
Visit: Unit D, Westpoint, Wellington Street, LS1 4JY – lazy-lounge.com
The Shed Bar
Housed under a railway arch, the domed interior of this bar features exposed brickwork and wooden panelling, giving it a unique personality.
Enjoy a drink from the cocktail, whisky or beer menu, while singing along to some of your favourite modern rock and indie songs.
Visit: 6 Heatons Court, LS1 4LJ – theshedbar.co.uk
Its position near the universities means it’s a little out of the way from the main stretch of pubs and bars, but this docked boat certainly catches the eye if you happen to be in the area.
While it’s often dismissed as a student pub, Dry Dock has plenty of appeal for everyone, thanks to its delicious food menu and diverse variety of drinks - all at very reasonable prices.
Visit: Woodhouse Lane, LS2 3AX – social-squirrel.com
The Hedonist Project
Swapping its guise every quarter, The Hedonist Project is one of the city’s most unique bars.
Their latest pop-up, 51st State, takes its influence from America, bringing a taste of bourbon whisky to the streets of Leeds.
Visit: 156 Lower Briggate, LS1 6LY – thehedonistproject.com
The Turk’s Head
Tucked away next to Whitelock’s Ale House at the top of Turk’s Head Yard, this cosy bar offers 14 draught beers, a range of artisan spirits, wines and cocktails to be enjoyed in stylish surroundings.
Visit: Whitelock’s Ale House, Turk’s Head Yard, LS1 6AH – turksheadleeds.co.uk
Alongside its hearty food menu, coffees, teas, and freshly baked breads and cakes, this proud Yorkshire cafe and bar also serves a fine selection of spirits and beers to enjoy, including cask, keg and local ales.
Visit: 92 Kirkgate, LS2 7DJ – wapentakeleeds.co.uk