City Buzz: New whiskey bar mixes things up in Leeds city centre

Bruce Lerman and Dan Crowther at The Liquor Store & Whisky Parlour. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Bruce Lerman and Dan Crowther at The Liquor Store & Whisky Parlour. Picture: Tony Johnson.
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IT’S safe to say the nightlife scene in Leeds is thriving, with the city playing host to everything from mini golf-themed bars to ice bars.

In fact, to it’s hard to think of a concept that hasn’t already been covered.

But a new venture by three Leeds bartenders is about to shake things up.

The Liquor Store and Whisky Parlour opens on Lower Briggate soon, taking over the former Wok On site.

And there’s more to it than meets the eye.

The special pop-up bar will sell cocktails and more than 60 types of whisky (served by the dram), and bottles can also be bought to take away as gifts.

The decor will pay tribute to Scotland with a warm, cosy feel and rustic decor.

After its three-month stint, it will be transformed with a completely new pop-up theme.

Everything will change – with the name, music, drinks and food menu all getting a makeover.

The only thing that stays the same will be the guys behind it – The Hedonist Project.

Bruce Lerman, Dan Crowther and Tom Finnon make up the team, and together they have 30 years of experience in the industry.

Bruce was previously a manager at Epernay, Dan was a manager at Jake’s, Smokestack and Sandinista and Tom was also a manager at Smokestack and has spent time touring whisky distilleries on both sides of the Atlantic.

You may remember them from their Rum Shack pop-up, which set up next to Belgrave for a few months earlier this year and proved to be a great success.

But it’s their new rotating pop-up bar that’s now attracting attention, and it’s set to be the first of its kind in the UK.

Speaking about the project, Dan said: “We’ve all witnessed some phenomenal bartenders leave Leeds for London, and they’ve all gone on to do really well for themselves.

“We’ve all lived in this city for the best part of a decade now and it’s safe to say we all love it.

“We’re settled here, have great friends and genuinely believe the hospitality scene to be one of the best in the country, so when the opportunity to open our own place came up, it was a no-brainer.

“We’re working on plans to have some internationally renowned bars to host pop-ups – bringing awesome concepts and talent to Leeds, which hopefully will help make our city even better.’’

They’ve already had interest from bars in Holland and the USA – and that’s before it’s even opened, so we’re sure there are some exciting things to come.

The Hedonist team has joined forces with global drinks company Diageo for the new pop-up, and cocktails have been carefully crafted.

The Salted Caramel Rusty Nail served with a side of fudge and the Blood and Strand, which comes with a portion of Campari candy floss.

There’s also a take on eggnog and special whisky tasting sessions will be held, with one-off liquor and food pairing events too.

Speaking of food, there will be a brunch offering from morning to mid-afternoon with small tapas plates in the evening.

The Liquor Store and Whisky Parlour launches on Friday, November 27.

The bar will close at the end of March 2016, when work on a new pop-up will begin.