The Chemic Tavern Leeds: Here's what I thought of Woodhouse pub with 'legendary' quizzes

The Chemic Tavern, you imagine, is never so lively as on a Monday night when its regular quiz draws hordes of loyal participants, week in week out.
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Straining to hear the questions from the patio when the capacity indoors has been fulfilled long before kick-off is an act of devotion befitting to an event that everybody wants to be a part of.

It’s a legendary occasion, attended mostly by students clad in sports wear, corduroy and good socks, with funky prints and shiny backpacks, while regulars lean on the bar and there’s lots of friendly dogs.

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Yes, the Chemic is a place where everyone is made to feel welcome. There’s beer for all - the coeliacs, the vegans, the teetotals, too - all well-maintained and reasonably priced, with a pint of guest ale coming in as low as £3.80 a pop. Cider lovers are catered for while a rainbow of gin bottles line the back of the bar, where the staff are having as much fun as the patrons. There is a healthy array of snacks on offer too, indulging pretzel fiends and placating scampi fries traditionalists. There’s no kitchen, but the Tavern invites people to bring food along with them, encouraging patrons to make use of Woodhouse’s fine collection of takeaways, including the brilliant Arkwrights Fish and Chips just a stone’s throw away.

Nothing can stop you enjoying your time at the Chemic Tavern, where amid shelves stuffed with books and board games, there’s always something going on. In a pub which loves music, you’ll as likely discover Punjabi folk as bop to new wave, funk and ska, and if taking part’s your thing then you can chime in with the community choir that meets on Tuesday evenings. And if you don’t fancy that, or comedy, or poetry, or films, then you can just as well be entertained by a lively chat in their relaxing space; bedecked with cosy furnishings and wooden beam ceilings, it feels like a proper pub.

Since the 19th century, the Chemic Tavern has been a place where Leeds people can drink quality beer, but this historic pub serves its neighbourhood in the here and now. In the entrance, a notice board stuffed with leaflets and business cards connecting web designers to gardeners and aspiring potters with food bank donors tells you that this award-winning community gem is more than just a pub.


Address: 9 Johnston St, Headingley, Leeds LS6 2NG

Telephone: 0113 531 6347

Opening hours: Mon – Thurs, 2pm-midnight; Fri – Sat, 2pm-1am; Sun, 2pm – 11pm.


Drinks: 8/10

Value: 8/10

Atmosphere: 9/10

Service: 8/10