Brudenell Social Club review: Community venue is more important than ever in dark times

In the depths of the first lockdown, I would often take a route that took me past the Brudenell Social Club.
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The doors were of course closed, but I missed what it represented - warmth, community, music and the gentle buzz of pints in a room full of actual people.

Of course, the Brude - as it’s affectionately known - is one of the finest music venues in the city, if not the country. A jewel in the crown of the UK’s music scene.

But it’s also a top quality boozer.

Brudenell Social ClubBrudenell Social Club
Brudenell Social Club
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The best pubs and bars are ones that bring people from different walks of life together.

Given its location, students are obviously well represented, but the wide variety of gigs on offer bring a wide cross section of people, and there’s still room for the old-timers who look like they’ve been drinking here for decades.

Long-time licensee Nathan Clarke, who lives above the venue, has said the Brude is “first and foremost” a community hub - and you can feel that vibe throughout the place (the most recent addition - the Community Room - expanding its footprint even wider).

The fact it still looks and feels like a working men’s club is part of its charm - little bar stools, an old map of Leeds on the wall and some slightly cheesy Christmas decorations.

Brudenell Social ClubBrudenell Social Club
Brudenell Social Club
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The choice of beers is excellent, with something for everyone: Tuborg, San Miguel and Carlsberg for the lager fans; Somerset Cider and Magners for the cider-heads; Kirkstall Brewery’s Jasper and Three Swords and Anthology Brewing Company’s Tony for those who prefer a hand pulled pint. Plus, there’s a long list of cans and bottles on offer.

As I drain my pint of Three Swords, the sound of noughties indie seven-piece Los Campesinos! drifts into the bar. Their set is drawing to a close as they blast out their biggest hit ‘You! Me! Dancing’ in all its bubblegum-guitar riff brilliance.

The moment is tinged with sadness though - just hours earlier a government press conference had warned us to only socialise “if it really matters”. The tidal wave of Omicron is upon us . Another Christmas accompanied by a sense of looming dread.

I just hope I won’t be planning nostalgic walks past a shuttered Brude come the new year - because places like this really do matter.


Address: 33 Queen's Road, Burley, LS6 1NY

Telephone:0113 275 2411

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Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday, noon - 11pm; Friday and Saturday, noon - midnight



Drinks: 9

Value: 9

Atmosphere: 10

Service: 8

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