Microbreweries and craft beers are all the rage these days but North Bar, a Leeds institution celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, was among the first to fly the flag.
It is much-loved by many in the city, including Barfly, so its Chapel Allerton sister bar seemed the perfect choice for a relaxed nightcap with friends after a meal nearby.
Opened in 2007 as the first outpost of North Bar outside the city centre, Further North is a smaller venue on Harrogate Road just above the main clusters of shops and eateries.
It exudes the same cool and laidback vibe as the original venue, from the simple frontage and neon signage outside to the low-lit interior with clusters of wooden tables and chairs, quirky lampshades and an interesting assortment of framed posters and photos.
Its website promises a venue “like your front room but cooler and with fantastic drinks” – and the team are true to their word.
As we arrived shortly before 11pm on a Saturday night, there were a mix of couples and groups happily installed at the various tables downstairs and a few more drinkers chatting at the bar itself.
We bagged a table in the middle and leafed through the menu, which features spirits, wine, tea, coffee and soft drinks in addition to the many and varied beers and lagers.
One of our group was in the mood for a cocktail, so she was pleasantly surprised to find the prosecco-based Pink 75 listed.
Heading up to the bar to place our order, I was met with a fairly abrupt “We don’t do cocktails” and went back to break the bad news. Had I felt less like I’d been told off, I might have pointed out it was on the menu but I doubt that would have changed the end result.
Instead my friend settled on a bottle of German pilsener Jever (500ml, £4.30), which went down a treat.
I opted for the flavoursome Kirkstall Framboise (1/2 pint, £3), one of four regulars on tap alongside another four or five changing beers.
And when it turned out the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale was out, the barman proved a helpful advisor by suggesting the Sierra Nevada Torpedo (355ml, £4.80) as a worthy alternative.
Our round was finished off with a bottle of Coca Cola (£2) for our designated driver, bringing the total bill to £14.10.
Debating the cocktail issue over our drinks, we concluded it was probably an outdated pre-Christmas page left in the menu since it also featured a rum toddy and a Snowball.
And although some of our original choices had been unavailable, there was widespread approval for the bar in terms of the atmosphere, music selection and setting.
Those living nearby are lucky to have this venue on the doorstep and it’s most definitely worth a visit. As hoped for, an excellent way to round off our night.