This Barfly loves a good cocktail and would happily drink nothing else but, let’s be honest, at some places in the city centre that means a hefty tab, overly serious staff or pretentious customers.
Happily for those of us without vast fortunes or delusions of grandeur, Be At One has just expanded its second site in Boar Lane after establishing itself as a great spot to kick off your Friday or Saturday nights.
Swing by then and you’ll generally find all the few outside tables snapped up and the small bar inside jam-packed, with music pumping out and the energetic bar staff getting every into the party spirit.
Close to the station where the emphasis of most bars is real ale and craft beers, this place has proved a popular first port of call for groups of friends looking for something a bit more lively.
Call in mid-week though and you’ll find things are less chaotic as was the case when a friend and I stopped by for a few pre-dinner drinks on a recent Wednesday evening.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of those drinking in the bar that night were female groups of friends who looked to have been shopping earlier or were just starting their night out.
We grabbed a spot at a table in the corner and vowed to try something we’d not had before instead of falling back on the usual suspects such as the Bramble, French 75 or Aperol Spritz. With a menu extending to more than a dozen pages, you’ll find frozen and sparking cocktails as well as a pages dedicated to gin, vodka, whiskey, rum and tequila based creations.
There are premium spirits and mixers, wines and proseccos, and a selection of beers too, but if the latter is what really floats your boat then you’re better off heading for one of the aforementioned real ale or craft beer bars nearby.
I eventually settled on Matt the Ratt, a combination of Bacardi Carta Fuego, orange liqueur, orange, lemon and lemonade that was basically a boozy Saint Clements. A little sweet for my friend’s tastes, I found it a refreshing drink on another sweltering day.
My friend chose the Shoreditch Sangria, an enjoyable twist on the holiday favourite that brings together Plymouth Sloe gin, Malbec wine, pomegranate, spiced pear, orange, blackberries and Angostura bitters.
Each of our drinks would usually cost £8.50 but the ‘two for one’ happy hour meant we got four cocktails for a £17, a price that’s pretty hard to beat.
The only downside of this great value deal is that if you end up at the bar behind two other customers and a group of six friends all placing separate orders as I did, you’ll be waiting some time for a dozen Pornstar Martinis and the rest to be served up.
It made for what felt like a frustrating wait when the bar was the quietest I’ve seen it, but there’s no quick way to make cocktails from scratch and the bar staff were clearly doing their best to keep things moving.
While I’ve had better experiences on previous visits, I’d still happily recommend this to friends looking for somewhere fun to get drinks that won’t break the bank.
Be At One, Boar Lane, Leeds