Bar review: Slocken, Call Lane, Leeds

Slocken has taken over the premises on Call Lane previously occupied by Milo.
Slocken has taken over the premises on Call Lane previously occupied by Milo.

With such a vast range of bars and pubs in Leeds, there really does seem to be something to suit all tastes.

But the closure of Soba as well as Ham and Friends this week, not long after 53 Degrees North and White Cloth Gallery went to the wall, might suggest we are now nearing saturation point in the city centre.

The first floor has extra seating and space for live music.

The first floor has extra seating and space for live music.

Read more: Leeds bar and restaurant Hamd and Friends announces its closure

It’s one thing to be busy at the weekend when visitors pour into Leeds from far and wide, but surely the venues that are going to stand the test of time need to combine that with a healthy mid-week trade?

If that’s the case, then the early signs are promising for the latest venture from the team behind Wapentake.

Slocken, which promises live music, coffee and local ales, has taken over the space on Call Lane vacated by Milo.

The top floor space has been given over to pool tables.

The top floor space has been given over to pool tables.

Arriving on a drab Wednesday night, I was surprised to find every table and potential leaning spot downstairs already claimed.

Like its sister venue, this place is big on celebrating Yorkshire and that’s reflected in everything from the selection of food and drinks through to the ‘A Little Pizza Yorkshire’ slogan on its receipts.

Read more: What did our reviewer make of Wapentake?

While Wapentake feels more like coffee shop dabbling in the bar side of things, Slocken is the other side of the coin with a live music space on the first floor and pool tables on the top.

Old gig posters and drinks posters bring a splash of colour to the walls.

Old gig posters and drinks posters bring a splash of colour to the walls.

The tried and tested pizza, beer and pool tables combination is likely to prove a winner but my friend felt it meant there’s also little to differentiate this newcomer from similar in the city.

There was something very familiar about the stripped-back decor of exposed brick, wooden floors and corrugated metal, with cushions and old posters adding colour.

I’m a fan of this style bar so immediately felt at home and could imagine settling in for a session with friends in the upstairs bar where we sat and chatted over our drinks.

I liked the feel of the place, the laidback atmosphere, the music – but it yielded little more than an ambivalent shrug from my drinking partner.

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Embracing the Yorkshire spirit of the bar, he opted for a pint from Huddersfield’s Magic Rock Brewery (£5.90) and I decided to make a selection from the decent range of gins on offer.

My hopes of a rhubarb gin were dashed as I learned the last had just been sold, but the Masons gin served in a balon glass with a dash of tonic blueberries and citrus fruit (£3.60) made up for it.

These were followed by a Jamesons with ginger ale (£4.20) and another gin, this time Minerva’s Delight from Leeds Gin – a fruity affair flavoured with plums, pears and cherries (£3.60).

With four drinks coming in at £17.30 Slocken is pretty competitive on price, and I came away thinking this is a bar that’s likely to be here to stay.

Rating: 3/5

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