Was the reaction from my friend when I suggested we visited The East Village for a couple of cocktails.
The self-defined ‘new wave dive bar’ has been in Hyde Park for more than seven years, nestled next to a continental supermarket in one of the suburb’s back-to-back terraces.
It’s off the beaten path of the Otley Run and easily missed if you’re not looking out for it. But that just adds to its charm.
It was a Saturday night, but it was hammering it down and we were feeling too lazy to get dressed up for town. Hence my suggestion of The East Village, which I’d last visited about five years ago, for a quiet drink or two.
As it’s the summer and students have retreated back to their homes, the bar was empty save for one couple outside - which we didn’t mind. We were warmly greeted by staff who were attentive throughout the evening, without being overbearing.
The bar is dimly lit with quirky furnishings, from pop art and graffiti on the walls to industrial-style tables made with a plank of wood, old leather sofas and a ladder stacked with candles.
It’s not fussy, it’s not elegant - and it doesn’t promise to be. It was just the snug place we needed to shelter from the elements outside and the choice of music perfectly fit the vibe - smooth jazz, old-skool hip hop and soul.
The creative cocktail menu rivals many city centre bars and, to our delight, all cocktails are 2-4-1 all summer. There’s a shot roulette (six shots for £15 was very tempting) and a small selection of beers and wines, too.
We opted for two pornstar martinis and two watermelon daisies, which came in at £18 with the 2-4-1 offer. The martini was smooth and not overbearingly sweet, while the watermelon daisy (vodka, watermelon, citrus, Grenadine and soda) was super-refreshing. Both were nicely presented.
Our only complaint was a rather awkward toilet situation - the ladies loo has an open window facing the street behind it, giving the neighbouring houses a full view inside. Perhaps if we were a few more drinks down we wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but a simple blind would not go amiss!
It did give us something to chuckle about, however, and I guess the quirks of The East Village are what make it special.
Is this Hyde Park’s best-kept secret? It’s most certainly a contender.
Address: 47-49 Brudenell Grove, Leeds, LS6 1HR
Telephone: 0113 226 3898
Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 6pm-1pm
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