Barfly review: Former student hangout grows into the 2010s

Assembly Underground in the former Carpe Diem
Assembly Underground in the former Carpe Diem
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Once home to legendary Leeds pub Carpe Diem, this cellar on Great George Street has recently become home to the slightly more upmarket Assembly Underground, featuring a collective of bars and street food stalls.

Time was when Carpe was the place to fill up substantially on Carlsberg, butterfly chicken breast and chips for under £20, for any of us in our late teens in the mid-2000s, it was the ideal place to meet new people and have a good time.

Drinks at Assembly Underground

Drinks at Assembly Underground

The place is almost unrecognisable now - the dusty wood panels have been replaced with stripped back brickwork while the booths and high tables have made way for the modern lengthy picnic table-like seating.

There's also plenty more choice, with two bars and five food stalls - we opted for the main Vocation and Co bar in the back of the building.

First impressions?

As mentioned before, this was a new and far more modern proposition. The tables were lined up neatly like dominoes, while the food stalls around the side gave a wonderful sense of space. The bar is located through a central walkway, as if it were Assembly's centrepiece.

What’s the drink selection like?

Beer has been the "in" thing for a few years now and, if you like your ales, you'll be in heaven here. A gargantuan selection of pilsners, porters, stouts and IPAs are poured from a mammoth 21 (twenty-one!) taps, while canned and bottled beers are more than catered for. A modest selection of wines and spirits are available for those that want to venture beyond the hops, but beer is the order of the day here.

So what did you have to drink?

I chose to go for the house special - a Vocation Pure Pilsner (£3). This being a cosmopolitan sort of place, I was treated to a continental two thirds measure of the stuff. It was as I like my beer - clear and light, and it disappeared rather quickly.

In an unusual turn of events, my companion was not drinking and chose to indulge in one of the alcohol free beers. I'm a fan of alcohol free beer myself, and his Erdinger 0% (£3) was crisp and refreshing but, "a little on the sweet side".

How was the atmosphere?

As I say, I'd been more used to this place as a pub, but this wasn't the worse for it. Nicely two-thirds busy with young professionals and trendy types. However, while the sun's shining, there will always be brighter, more airy venues hogging the limelight - I imagine this is more of a cosy winter place.

Will you be going back?

Of course, it would be extremely difficult - not to mention highly ill-advised - to attempt to sample every tap in just one sitting. Maybe in the winter months when the sunny weather has waved goodbye