Bar review: Water Lane Boathouse, Leeds

WATER WAIT: The atmosphere and selection of drinks here is excellent but service need to catch up.
WATER WAIT: The atmosphere and selection of drinks here is excellent but service need to catch up.
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Water Lane Boathouse has something of a sweet disposition on a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon, being as it is by the waterside.

We’d been on a bike ride into the city centre and having locked our rides up opposite The Hop, we proceeded to wander around in search of somewhere decent to have a bite to eat and a drink.

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Prior to opening in around April time 2017, this was The Pour House. It is the brainchild of the people behind the Belgrave Music Hall. The vibe is laid back, possibly too much so when it comes to service, which I have to say is slow from the off. I went to the bar almost as soon as we arrived to order two hot chocolates, a coffee and half a Beavertown Neck Oil. All of this seemed to take an absolute age, especially the coffee and hot chocolates, which wouldn’t have been so bad if there had been a smile or a bit of explanation but instead, I just had to stand there, hoping it would arrive, which it eventually did.

The place itself is nice enough, drenched in sunlight, with all the usual exposed pipework, bare concrete ceilings and the whole post-industrial chic cliche that’s now the norm. There’s a mixture of seating with benches, chairs and tables, some lower than others. Our visit was on a Sunday, pizzas were half price, so we couldn’t help but dive in, ordering four, plus all the sides. Pizza-wise, there was a tomato and mozzarella, salami and cured pepperoni, prosciutto, buffalo mozzarella and pickled radicchio and wild mushroom. Sides included two lots of skin on chips, olives, salad and bread with oil.

There was also a pint of Northern Monk’s most excellent Faith. Curious also that as I ordered this, the bar staff made a point of saying it costs £5.40 a pint. I understand the reasoning here (I think) but when a Kronenbourg costs almost as much at £4.40, the difference seems almost academic.

Once again, ordering at the bar ended up being a real sticking point. When I returned to order more drinks and food, I must have been standing there a good 10 minutes, during which time several others also pitched up. Eventually, the bar tender turned and I thought, ‘Great, at last’. However, he then proceeded to ask who was next. Surely they ought to have some idea. Having said all that, I’m still giving it the benefit of the doubt. The beer selection here is excellent: Bevertown Puppy Porter, Five Points Pale Ale, Kirkstall Brewery’s Virtuous, the 6.5% Plum Drunk Da Funk plus the usual lagers, like 1664, Heineken and Amstel, with some ciders to play with if you really fancy a session.

Water Lane Boathouse has a good thing going, pizzas are made on site, drinks selection and atmosphere are excellent but on our visit, the wait at the bar put a damper on things.

Canal Wharf, Leeds LS11 5PS

Rating: 7/10