Bar review: 166 Bar and Bistro, Horsforth, Leeds

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme
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Girls just wanna have fun, and on a quiet Wednesday evening, two girls in Pudsey were looking to brighten up their thus-far dull week.

After some deliberation we decided the nearby market town of Horsforth might be a good bet.

On initial entrance into Town Street, we feared disappointment. The place looked dead, but perhaps not that surprising at 10pm on a school night.

We’d Googled a couple of possibilities in advance, and settled on the 166 Bar and Bistro on the corner of Town Street.

The spacious bar area was fairly busy already, with several groups of friends - mostly men - laughing and chatting away.

We spotted just one other lady, and momentarily wondered if we’d accidentally ventured into a townie twilight zone.

But the vibe was friendly and not boorish.

The stone building’s outside is a contrast to the modern interior, with shiny wooden floors, nude brick walls and no-fuss decor.

We settled into our leather-covered booth seats and my companion noted her approval of the music, a mixture of Motown and funk infused rock.

As well as the spacious main bar area, there is a smaller side room and a large restaurant area. It was a good balance and we felt neither crowded nor isolated.

The drinks menu features two for £12 cocktails, which perked us up straight away.

Classic cocktails like Mojito and Daiquiri sit alongside locally inspired creations like the Horsforth Comfort, a mix of vodka, bourbon, Southern Comfort, lime and lemonade. Another intriguingly named offer was the Town Street Tipple, a summery layered fusion of passion fruit syrup, Chambord liqueur topped with prosecco and topped with a raspberry.

There is a decent though not hugely extensive wine menu, with a range of global whites and reds, and prices ranging from £15 to around £30 a bottle. There is also a prosecco and champagnes sub menu, with prices rising from £29.50 to £65.

The gin fans are also not left disappointed, with a two-for- £12 offer on Larios, Hendricks, Greenalls and Caorunn goblets. Being girly girls, we didn’t even glance at the beer and ale offer, but a quick glance at the website later told me there is a choice of seven draught products and two hand pulled beers.

The service was quick and friendly, and we got served pretty much immediately.

The barman did get our order slightly wrong, mishearing my friend’s order and bringing us both her initial selection and her changed order .

But I decided to try the Pornstar Martini anyway, as it had caught my eye on the menu. This was a very sweet, syrupy passion fruit infusion of vanilla vodka served with a shot of prosecco on the side. It was great fun, but ultimately a bit too sweet for my personal liking. My friend had an Espresso Martini, which was on the separate dining room drinks menu, not the main cocktail menu. However the barman kindly obliged - making up for his previous fauxpas - and my friend was delighted with the bittersweet, frothy concoction. I nicked a couple of sips too. Definitely one for the grown ups.

As the early bird offers finish and last orders approaches, the testosterone levels rise and by the end of our visit, we were definitely feeling it as the remaining revellers got louder and ever more rambunctious.

But this was an overall fun and pleasant experience.

Our bill, for two cocktails, one gin and tonic and one soft drink came to under £20.