Aire Bar Leeds review: Riverside bar is Leeds through and through
There's always something a little bit special about descending a staircase to enter a bar.
What will you find when you go below street level? Even with bars you've visited umpteen times, you're still never quite sure what form it will take.
Laughter, camaraderie, romance? Or frustration, despair, or solace? Who knows? That's what keeps these places interesting - the spontaneity of human connection, something working from home and screen-based socialising can never recreate.
At their best, bars are a doorway into another world. A place of escape from the stresses of work, strains of home life, or at the moment, the incessant roadworks going on in Leeds city centre.
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It's a midweek evening and the city centre is quiet but there are sparks of life - the gentle hum of chatter and Leeds folk interacting. Face-to-face, thank god.
Walk down the stairs and into Aire Bar and you do feel like you're entering somewhere different. This converted warehouse with stunning brick vaulted ceilings gives the feeling of a secret hideaway.
There are lots of nooks and crannies to find a seat, most with a view of one of the many screen dotted around the bar. Live sport is a big part of the venue's appeal, and it's clearly Leeds United and proud at that, with Whites' artwork dotted around.
And how many central Leeds pubs and bars have pool tables anymore? Aire Bar ticks another another box.
But it's more than just a sports bar. There's a good range of beers bottled and on tap and an even larger selection of gins.
An added bonus is the outside decking area. A long, thin balcony just over the River Aire is the perfect place for a summertime pint.
Its riverside location has cost it over the years - the bar regularly floods when the River Aire gets too high. But Aire Bar owner Chris Howard has consistently battled back against the elements over the years to keep Aire Bar open, and he deserves praise for doing so.
It may not be as squeaky clean as some of the identikit bars dotted around Leeds, but it has bags of character and is clearly well loved.
A boozy afternoon in front of the football or a relaxing drink watching the river go by? Aire Bar has you covered. Just mind the stairs on your way back out.
Address: 32 The Calls, LS2 7EW
Telephone:0113 245 5500
Opening hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 10am - 12am; Friday to Saturday, 10am - 1am; Sunday, 10am - 10.30pm.