Kirkstall Bridge Inn review: A laidback riverside atmosphere away from the bustle of Leeds city centre

When bookings were released for Kirkstall Bridge Inn’s pub garden there was such high demand that the website crashed.

Sunday, 16th May 2021, 4:45 pm

Kirkstall Brewery’s riverside pub boasts three outdoor areas - the main beer garden, a tent and a marquee.

I visited on a Friday evening for post-work drinks after scooping one of the last tables. On arrival, we were shown how to order on the app before we were left to find our table number.

Our picnic bench in the beer garden was uncovered, we were warned of this on booking, but the sporadic showers didn’t dampen the atmosphere.

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Kikrstall Bridge Inn looks over the River Aire

The garden was decked out with bunting and fairy lights, we had a lovely view over the River Aire and there was a nice buzz as families, groups of young professionals and older couples caught up under umbrellas.

There was a large selection of the brewery’s keg and cask beers on the menu, as well as a wine list, flavoured gins and tempting pub grub.

Server issues meant I was unable to order on the app and we couldn't find anyone to flag down. After a few more attempts we managed to place the order; a pint of the 5.2% Kirkstall Providence, a hazy pale ale, and the Sipsmith lemon drizzle gin.

Our drinks arrived at record speed. The ale was smooth and easy to drink; fruity with a lightly bitter aftertaste - but thinner than I’d hoped. My friend enjoyed her refreshing gin served with a slice of lemon, her only gripe was the mountain of crushed ice which made it difficult to drink.

The 5.2% Kirkstall Providence, a hazy pale ale, and the Sipsmith lemon drizzle gin with tonic

As the rain subsided and we were treated to some sun, we stayed for a second round. I tried the gluten-free 4.5% Kirkstall Virtuous. It was a clear golden ale with a zesty citrus flavour, followed by a bitter aftertaste which lingered - longer than I’d have liked.

But it was fizzy without leaving you feeling bloated and impressive for a gluten-free beer. My friend loved her Slingsby Yorkshire rhubarb gin and tonic, but despite requesting no ice on the app, the crushed ice made an unwelcome return.

The pricing was what we’ve come to expect for more upmarket pubs in Leeds; £4.20 for the Virtuous, £5.30 for the Providence and £9.80 for the double gin and tonics.

It’s easy to see why this riverside suntrap is in demand; its unfussy, laid back atmosphere is a refreshing change from the bustle of the city centre. We'll be back.

Kirkstall Brewery’s riverside pub boasts three outdoor areas - the main beer garden, a tent and a marquee

Factfile

Address: 12 Bridge Rd, Kirkstall, Leeds, LS5 3BW

Telephone: 0113 278 4044

Opening hours: Sun-Thurs, noon-11.30pm; Fri-Sat, noon-12.30am

Website: www.kirkstallbridge.co.uk

Scores

Drinks: 6/10

Value: 6/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Service: 6/10

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