Pub review: Kirkstall Bridge, Leeds

Have your say

Years ago, reporters didn’t have to write headlines. Newspapers employed people called ‘sub-editors’ to do that.

Because they did it all day, every day, this resulted in some very clever (sometimes too clever) headlines, none of which I can recall at the time of writing. Sorry.

Nowadays, because young people don’t know what a newspaper is and older people want everything for free on the internet, newspapers have had to get rid of all those useful, dry-witted sub-eds, which means lowly reporters have to write their own headlines. All of which is a preamble to explain the one above. Make of it what you will but I maintain it is an accurate reflection of one aspect of a recent visit to Kirkstall Bridge pub.

In many ways, Kirkstall Brewery’s flagship boozer is my local... and yet because of the age of my children and the fact my other half works nights, I could hardly be accused of frequenting the place. That said, I have been there enough to know what it’s about.

The beer garden is immense. On a hot day, you won’t struggle to find a spot to sit. Even if the beer garden is full, there’s plenty of wall space to colonise around the adjacent car park, which is also huge.

The pub is also rightly renowned for its beer, which is superb. We tried the ever reliable Kirkstall Pale Ale (4%), which is a very sessionable ale with a thin white head - it’s not over-hopped but you can detect earthy notes of grass and lemon and it’s got a subtle, bitter finish which lingers just enough to make you want more.

Likewise with the Kirkstall Pilsner (£3.60, 4%), which I’ve not had before but it was spot on. It’s one of a trio of beers introduced in 2017 after the brewery opened its new premises off Kirkstall Road. It’s dry hopped so has a sharp aroma and a slightly biscuity tang which is not unappealing.

After that, we tried a Veltins (£4) and immediately regretted it, even though on any other day it might have passed muster.

We visited on bank holiday Monday and for some reason they weren’t doing food, so sadly that won’t form part of this review. Service will though. It’s not as good as it could be. Staff (who seem to be overwhelmingly male) are a little off-hand at times. This curtness was evidenced when I asked for a VAT receipt and what followed was an exercise in confusion as he misheard me, then I misheard him, resulting in a somewhat abrupt retort from the barman: “Which one? I just gave you two choices.” Slightly awkward. Needlessly so. Putting that aside and assuming its not indicative of service in general, Kirkstall Bridge remains a very welcoming, satisfying pub to visit. For both humans and greenfly, which were out in their thousands when we visited. So, sorry about the headline but it made you read it.


Kirkstall Bridge, 12 Bridge Rd, Leeds LS5 3BW


Food: -

Value: 6/10

Atmosphere: 8/10

Service: 4/10