That was the sum population of Dave’s Pies and Ale when I popped into the newly-opened micro-pub on a Friday evening - but my two companions and I still managed to squeeze ourselves in.
And we were glad that we did.
What began as a lockdown passion project, renovating a 70-year-old John Hunt’s pie machine to share baked goods with friends and family, is now a cosy, lively bolthole on Kirkstall Road.
Inside, there’s a homely atmosphere, with peals of laughter, thoughtful touches like candles and brass hooks to hang your coats on, and a warm welcome for all - including a long-haired hound who props himself up on the bar to inspect the cask ales on offer.
Furnished with stained glass dividers, cast-iron table legs, and an array of vintage pub mirrors, Dave’s has a distinctly traditional feel despite only opening its doors to the public at the end of November.
‘Congrats’ and ‘Good Luck’ cards still line the bar alongside glass tankards while the barman, a friend of the famous Dave, pours drinks with meticulous care.
Though its pies are the star player, Dave’s supplies a rock-solid pint. I opt for a Stancill’s India ale, which the barman offers to top up for me after the foam settles during his proud account of his pal’s business venture.
My companion, a fussy Guinness drinker, raves about the barman’s delivery of a notoriously hit-and-miss beverage and we both remark on the cleanliness of the glasses, an oft-overlooked but crucial aspect of the pub experience.
Dave’s has three ales on tap, five spirit optics, boxed cider, and a fridge full of chilled cans and bottles from the likes of North and Ilkley breweries.
But the pies are undoubtedly the main attraction. Pairing pork with chilli, stuffing, stilton and more, Dave’s pies are something special.
I choose chorizo and am not disappointed. The pastry is moist and crisp, the filling delicious, and the home-cooked offering is presented neatly on a paper tray with a wooden fork and a tangy dollop of brown sauce on the side.
As a lifelong pie afficionado, I could no more find fault with the experience than I could resist hoovering up every stray crumb of pastry.
An exquisite gastronomic encounter for just £2.50 - bang on. The ale was £4 a pint, the Guinness £4.50. Quality, check, value, double check.
Address: 350 Kirkstall Road, Leeds, United Kingdom
Telephone: 0113 278 4555
Opening hours: Weds-Fri, noon-11pm; Sat, noon-midnight; Sun, noon-11pm.
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