Bar review: The White Rabbit, Leeds

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme
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ONE of the fantastic things about living or working in a city the size of Leeds is the sheer number of pubs on offer.

More than that, it’s the variations from old-style hostelries to funky wine bars, from intimate inns to vast food establishments.

So to have a unique drinks business in the city must be difficult. But one bar, The White Rabbit, seems to have pulled it off.

If you’ve never been here, you should give it a go. It’s in York Place in what some now term the business quarter of Leeds between King Street and Britannia Street and parallel with Wellington Street.

It is a pub in a cosy cellar and seems to be named after the Lewis Carroll story Alice in Wonderland and it is indeed a quirky, fascinating little bar. It can be quite a squeeze on a weekend when it appears to be popular with a bohemian crowd. On our latest visit a workmate and I tripled the custom on a Wednesday night.

It may have been busy earlier but it was about 10pm when we wandered in for a post-work pint and a chat.

PIC: Simon Hulme

PIC: Simon Hulme

It’s a quirkily-styled bar with a seating area at the front and the back and the bar squeezed into the middle.

We fancied a pint of Leeds Pale each – and why not, it’s a fabulous locally-brewed beer. Sadly, they had run out. Shame, but the lack of Leeds Pale made us venture onto a new brew. At least, new to us.

We tried Monsoon IPA. It is from the same Leeds Brewery and is described as ‘a big, bold IPA’. It is a blend of American hops including Cascade and Chinook which creates a heavily hopped, fruity, aromatic India Pale Ale.

The knowledgeable barman told us it was stronger and less subtle that Leeds Pale but pretty popular. At £4.50, it’s perhaps not the cheapest ale but it went down well.

We took time to take in the surroundings. A stuffed fox took our attention as did a wall full of album covers, everything from Iron Maiden to Aretha Franklin.

This pub has taken the place of Baby Jupiter, a well-loved and much-missed bar, but it has taken its place as a nicely offbeat alternative.

For our second drink, we had a half-pint of Monsoon and a bottle of Modelo which is a Mexican beer, said to be well-balanced in taste and light hop character with a crisp, clean finish. You may want to try Modelo Especial is characterised by an orange blossom honey aroma with a hint of herb.

The Modelo costs £3.80 and is among a range of slightly unusual international beers on offer here.

A great little bar and somewhere good for a midweek chat and somewhere just a little different to the noisier bars in the city centre.


The White Rabbit

York Place, Leeds

Score 4/5