The Assembly Garforth review: A lively neighbourhood bar in Leeds that's carefully crafted to feel like home

The Assembly has become a household name in Cross Gates, synonymous with the transformation of the suburb’s drinking scene.

By YEP Reviewer
Saturday, 19th February 2022, 11:45 am

Stephanie and Matthew Cliffe opened their bar, bottle shop and café in 2018 and, following its success, unveiled a second neighbourhood bar in Garforth last year.

We visited the bar, nestled in the middle of Main Street, on a Saturday afternoon and grabbed the last table downstairs.

We were given a warm welcome by staff, who served us at our table, and soon struck up a conversation with the group of ladies next to us - the true marker of a neighbourhood bar.

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The Assembly Garforth is on 67 Main Street

The drinks menu is hand-drawn on a chalkboard by the window, and you get the feeling it has been carefully-selected by Stephanie and Matthew.

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There’s a choice of a dozen wines - six white and six red - ranging from £16.50 to £22.50 per bottle, as well as a selection of beer on draught including Guinness, Cali Pale, Atlantis and the Assembly’s own brew Assembly Pils.

There’s three martinis to choose from - French, espresso and The Assembly (a twist on a Pornstar) - as well as an Aperol, apricot, cassis or elderflower spritz and plenty of spirits and bottled beers behind the bar.

There’s three martinis to choose from - French, espresso and The Assembly (a twist on a Pornstar)

I opted for the espresso martini while my friend ordered Beefeater gin with lemonade. The martini was pleasant but it was lacking a punch; it was a little on the watery side with an almost metallic aftertaste.

I was driving home, so our server offered to make me a virgin Assembly martini with a dash of cranberry juice for my second round. It was deliciously sweet and creamy, served with a slice of pineapple. My friend went for the Pineapple-flavoured gin which she loved.

It was pelting it down outside and we stayed there for hours. The rustic décor is gorgeous - vintage paintings to feast your eyes on, a grandmother clock, antique golden mirrors, patterned cushions and luxurious bottle-green walls.

Up a rickety wooden staircase with floral patterned wallpaper, there’s more seating and an old fireplace. Every corner of the bar has been carefully-decorated to feel like home.

Our bill came to just over £20 which, living in the city centre, I thought was a mistake.

Stephanie and Matthew aren’t businesspeople by trade, but that adds to the charm and character of their growing Assembly brand.

It’s a home-outside-home and there’s a real sense of community - something I think we're all craving after the last two years.

Factfile

Address: 67 Main Street, Garforth, Leeds, LS25 1AF

Telephone: 0113 318 9478

Opening hours: Mon, closed; Tue-Thur, 4pm-11pm; Fri, 4pm-11.30pm; Sat, 2pm-11.30pm; Sun, 2pm-10.30pm

Drinks: 7/10

Value: 9/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Service: 8/10

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