IT’S almost like a secret bar in one of the most familiar buildings in Leeds.
The bar in the Queens, in City Square, could be described as being hidden in plain view. Most people walk straight past it, perhaps thinking that it is the preserve of hotel guests alone.
While the city centre is more often than not buzzing with activity, this ornate bar looks as though it hails from a different age altogether, with its 1930s style and subdued background music.
It’s an art deco masterpiece which oozes class and distinction, so what better place to round off a day of dining and drinking before we get a late train home?
I hadn’t been inside the Queens for a little while and I expected it to be a little faded compared to its opulent heyday, but guess what? It’s just as sparkling and refined as ever it was.
There are displays of previous visitors, among them Princess Grace of Monaco, no less, together with ancient-looking logbooks detailing this building’s fantastic history. There was even a red carpet to welcome us.
The Queens Hotel is, it’s fair to say, BIG. It’s a 215-room four-star hotel with 16 meeting rooms, conference centres, a ballroom for 500 and a fine restaurant called Grilled.
But we were here for the bar, which is, like everything else at the Queens, huge and formal but at the same time intimate and welcoming.
It isn’t cheap, though. A pint of Black Sheep was £4.75 – reasonable for such an august venue, I guess – but the price of the wine led to us demanding a recount. How much? It was £10 for a 250ml serving of Da Luca Pinot.
This is billed as a richly flavoured wine said to have a ‘lingering finish’. For that price, you’d almost want it to move in.
It was good, and I guess if you pay £13 or more for a bottle of inferior plonk in a restaurant you can’t really object to a tenner for a classy glass.
We also tried a similar sized glass of Antonio Rubino pino grigiot at a similarly eye-watering £9.75. Not much cheaper but if anything a more distinctive drink.
Another pint and a half of Black Sheep took our tally for this oh-so-brief sojourn into one of the city’s more exclusive enclaves to £31.75.
You’d pay more at any dive bar in London, so going by that comparison, it’s not all bad.
Among of the best features of this establishment are the toilets. The gentlemen’s are fabulous and I’m told the women’s are even better.
At a time when many plush railway hotels have fallen on hard times, it is good to see the Queens Hotel in such fine fettle.
The Queens Hotel Bar, City Square