And standing in the middle of it all is a pub steeped in history, one that fuses the old and the new.
The Midnight Bell is Leeds Brewery’s flagship pub and a popular choice for birthday celebrations, work events - and it even hosts weddings.
I visited on a Friday night with a colleague for after-work drinks. The pub boasts ancient brickwork, gorgeous oak beams and a cosy fireplace, but it’s bright and inviting with plenty of natural light.
Although it was surprisingly quiet when we arrived, a stream of people arrived to soak up the sunshine in the pub’s beer garden - some of them bringing their pooches.
The beer garden isn’t the most scenic at the moment, with construction going on around it, but once finished that can only be a positive for footfall.
We grabbed a table inside and a smiley member of staff came to take our order before we got up to go to the bar, a nice touch.
As you would expect from any Leeds Brewery pub, there’s a great range of cask ales on offer. But there’s also some great value wines and I was impressed with the range of gins behind the bar.
My colleague asked for Timothy Taylor Landlord, which they didn’t have, but our server recommended the brewery’s Leeds Pale. It was light and almost creamy, poured with the perfect head.
I went for my usual order - a double Hendrick’s with slimline tonic, which can set me back as much as £13 in the city centre. So you can imagine my delight when I saw it was priced at £6.50; we’d stumbled on a double-gin offer.
For our second round, I went for another G&T while my colleague ordered a pint of Sagres lager on tap, as well as a portion of chips and onion rings to keep us going. The food was a little slow to arrive, but the chips were succulent and the onion rings perfectly crispy. #
For a busy city centre pub, the level of service went well beyond my expectations. Every staff member was welcoming and happy to strike up a conversation - it felt like a proper local boozer, just in the heart of the city.
The Midnight Bell doesn’t do anything fancy, but that just adds to its charm. When simple is done this well - simple is better.
Address: 101 Water Lane, Holbeck, Leeds, LS11 5QN
Telephone: 0113 244 5044
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs, noon-11pm; Fri-Sat, noon-12am; Sun, noon-10pm.