Its owners, bar group Escapism, have been quietly growing their empire since opening Mean Eyed Cat in Merrion Street in 2004.
Husband and wife team Phil and Mel Harrison own seven bars in the city - Call Lane Social, Tiki Hideaway, Brooklyn, Mean-Eyed Cat, The Maven and Verve, along with Cuckoo - but you’d never guess, as they’re all so different.
Inside Cuckoo, it’s big, bright and colourful - with the decor bringing to mind the Mad Hatter’s tea party. The walls to the back ground floor room have recently been decorated with a hand-painted underwater mural by a Yorkshire street artist.
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Cuckoo is open mid-week for the after work crowd, but if you head down on a Friday or Saturday night, don’t be expecting a quiet pint and a catch-up - it’s heaving by 8pm and the dancefloor is filling up.
The music is cheesy as you like - a heady mix of nineties and noughties pop classics, along with some of the decades’ more questionable offerings. From the sublime (Britney Spears’ Toxic) to the ridiculous (Alexandra Burke’s Bad Boys).
Not that there’s any judgement in Cuckoo. There’s a vibe of anything-goes acceptance here and it looks like the kind of place that rarely attracts trouble - people are simply here for a good time.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting this bar twice within the past few weeks, and even on a week night I’d say it’s wise to expect the unexpected - I saw perhaps the most vigorous dance-off I’ve ever witnessed between two women on an otherwise quiet Tuesday evening.
If you fancy a break from the hedonism, there’s a decent amount of seating outside on the pavement outside on Call Lane, which was widened during previous lockdowns to make more space.
Cocktails are at the forefront, but there’s a good selection of beers on offer too - including my favourite, Gamma Ray’s Neck Oil. There are five-litre beer towers for those on a session.
Other offers include bottomless brunch from £20 at the weekends, and there’s a free six-inch pizza with any drink before 9pm, every night of the week.
If you’re after somewhere for a work party or Christmas do, the bar offers five different spaces for a private party. What’s more, it’s open until 4am every night.
If you give Cuckoo a try, you know for sure it will be a night less ordinary.
Address: 37 Call Lane, LS1 7BT
Telephone: 0113 242 3966
Opening hours: Monday to Thursday, 5pm - 4am; Friday to Sunday, noon - 4am
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