Bar review: Mojo, Merrion Street, Leeds
There are black and white pictures of famous people, some of whom are sticking fingers up to the camera in a kind of Sex Pistols bit of recalcitrance, covering vast swathes of the walls in Mojo.
The diminutive bar on Merrion Street is right in the thick of the Leeds bar scene but with its post-grunge stripped back appearance, it has broad appeal and rightly so. It has a good reputation as a forward thinking independent which, a decade and a half ago, dared to tread in what was at the time a bit of an ill thought of backwater but which today is a thriving little enclave of bars and restaurants.
Seriously, you could go out in Leeds and never leave what is now part of the Northern Quarter, because nearby is a clutch of bars and restaurants, each of which have added their own individual spice to the pot.
Within a stone’s throw, you have the Belgrave Music Hall, Bar Soba, The Pit, Zaap Thai, The Brotherhood and many more, all of which offer something different, all of which have taken what remained of a pretty run-down area of Leeds and used that as the driving force to forge something new.
Mojo now benefits from the fact Merrion Street has been closed to through-traffic, so where before it was a busy little cut-through for cars wanting to avoid the lights just around the corner, now it’s the cosmopolitan alley-bar it always wanted to be.
And it’s thriving. Visit this place on a weekend and you will bare witness to that - it’s wall to wall with punters, so you might have to shoulder your way to the bar but service is swift and efficient, prices pretty much on a par with the competition.
We order a Heineken and a G&T as part of a larger order (as we were out with friends), although they do offer a selection of food during the day (their current promotion is half price chicken wings on a Wednesday). By night, however, you’re more likely to find people enjoying a glass or two while listening to some very good music.
It puts one in mind of one of those dimly lit bars which populate America’s deep south, except they’re not in the least bit old fashioned - check out their witty twitter memes as evidence thereof. Places like this are good for the city and the soul.
According to the website, ‘mojo’ means a spell induced through music, an element of magic that pervades a particular song or chant, a groove or vibe.
In conclusion, Mojo still has more than enough magic to make you want to stay a while to soak up the atmosphere, to recharge those batteries and remember that going for a drink in town needn’t be a fraught experience.
Memer link: https://twitter.com/MOJO_BAR/status/820012859321188352/photo/1