FOR anyone who’s ever been out in Leeds, you’ll know the city centre isn’t exactly short of bars.
But that hasn’t stopped a brand new wine bar from opening up in the heart of the city.
Just a stone’s throw from the ever-busy strip of bars on Call Lane, Veeno has set up shop just along from Distrikt on Duncan Street.
I only noticed it was there due to the burly bouncer standing outside, and curiosity got the better of us, so we popped in to check it out.
It was a Saturday night, so there were the usual suspects out – a few lads getting some drinks in before heading to Call Lane, a couple sitting quietly in the corner and a group of young girls having a natter.
The first thing that caught my attention was the bright lights – rather than a few candle-lit tables and dim lighting, there were three different sets of lights that shone quite brightly, making it feel more like a supermarket than a bar.
That aside, Veeno has been decked out nicely with modern, red and white furnishings, dark tables and a few wooden barrels topped with panes of glass as make-shift tables.
There’s also an indoor balcony-type bit at the back, which looks out over the bar and is where we chose to sit.
With Veeno being a wine bar, there is obviously a large wine list to choose from.
A small glass starts at £3.60 whilst a bottle starts at a very reasonable £10.
Despite there being a range of wines available, they were all names I wasn’t particularly familiar with, and you won’t find a simple Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio on the list.
That’s because all of the wine is made at the family vineyard of the bar’s Italian owners Andrea and Nino.
Nino studied in a top Italian business university before doing a masters in Durham, and is the fifth generation in the family to deal in the wine trade.
The Veeno founders obviously know what they’re talking about when it comes to good wine and the glass I opted for was very light and refreshing.
There’s only a choice of two rose wines, though, which was a little disappointing.
It would have also been nice to see some more of this authentic family history in photographs on the walls.
On the menu there’s also a good choice of Italian cocktails, priced at around £6.
I went for the Rossini, with prosecco and strawberry juice, whilst my companion chose the Bellini, with prosecco and peach juice.
They were both pleasant and easy to drink.
The menu also has a selection of beers, including Budweiser, Corona, Peroni and Beck’s, at around £3.50, and sparkling wines such as Marsala and prosecco.
A nice addition is that Veeno isn’t just about, well, veeno, and also does ‘spuntini’ (or ‘appetisers’), with meat platters, olives, breads, cheese boards and even paninis, salads and desserts.
There’s also some deals to be had, including the lunch offer, which is a soft drink or glass of house wine and panini for £4.90.
I imagine shoppers will make the most of that offer and totter down Briggate to Veeno after a day of shopping.
But if it wants to get in the evening punters, it just needs to sort out the harsh lighting.
Overall, it’s a promising start for Veeno, and after already doing well over in Manchester, I’m sure it will see success in Leeds too.