Leeds is full of great places to eat and drink at any time of year, but the festive period brings with it a boom of especially exciting pop-ups, as well as wintry food and drink that’s guaranteed to bring seasonal cheer.
Friends of Ham, 4-8 New Station St, Leeds, LS1 5DL
Stop off at Friends of Ham for raclette - a warming and indulgent dish of potatoes topped with gooey cheese, along with all cold and cured meats, all washed down with a glass of good red.
Ham & Friends Food Hall, Ham & Friends, Grand Arcade Leeds LS1 6PG
Speaking of wine and cheese, the Ham & Friends Food Hall and online shop is ideal for stocking up on plenty of festive goodies, and there is also a wine bar and cheese shop to enjoy.
Almost Famous, 23-25 Great George St, Leeds LS1 3AL
For meat lovers, Almost Famous’ seasonal Son of a Nutcracker burger is one not to be missed - a juicy cheeseburger topped with a BBQ spiced sausage stuffing patty, buttermilk fired turkey, festive creamy slaw, bacon and cranberry jam, sweet JD cola BBQ sauce, and brandy buttered peppercorn mayo.
Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, 1-1A Cross Belgrave St, Leeds LS2 8JP
Treat yourself to more street food delights at Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen - a 1930s venue for live gigs, comedy, film and art - which boasts a stunning roof terrace and some great grub. Try Patty Smith’s Festive Fries for a seasonal treat alongside their burgers, or a slice of pizza from Dough Boys.
Bundobust, 6 Mill Hill, Leeds LS1 5DQ
Elsewhere in the city, Indian street food kitchen, Bundobust, have introduced seasonal sprout bhajis to their menu for December, as well as a special festive curry, while the eclectic Trinity Kitchen houses a variety of mouth-watering pop-ups under one roof, including Bunnymans, The Gravy Train Poutine and Tikk’s Thai Kitchen.
Ox Club at Headrow House, 19a The Headrow, Leeds LS1 6PU
Listed in both the Good Food Guide and the Michelin Guide for 2017, Ox Club at Headrow House offers diners a changing seasonal menu at brunch or dinner. Their Christmas menu includes hearty winter dishes like ox cheek with smoked mash, horseradish and walnut gremolata, or guinea fowl, cassoulet and Yorkshire pecorino.
Pintura, 1 Trinity St, Leeds LS1 6AP
For those who would choose tapas over turkey, Basque kitchen Pintura have a range of special Christmas menus. Expect the likes of Basque ‘pigs in blankets’ with Chistorra sausage and Bayonne ham, as well as almond and orange tart, served with Christmas spiced ice cream.
Sky Lounge, Doubletree By Hilton, Wharf Approach, Granary Wharf, Leeds LS1 4BR
Between Christmas shopping trips, enjoy afternoon tea with panoramic views over the city at rooftop bar Sky Lounge in the Doubletree by Hilton. Their seasonal afternoon tea includes an assortment of festive finger sandwiches, freshly baked Christmas cakes and scones, and a selection of sweet treats, such as a Christmas tree chestnut cupcake.
Headrow House's Winter Beer Hall, Bramleys Yard, The Headrow, Leeds LS1 6PU
Housed in a former textile mill located in one of Leeds’ historic yards, Headrow House’s Winter Beer Hall is serving pretzels, beer steins and sausages every Saturday in December. You can try over 60 beers from around the world, as well as Pilsner Urquell straight from the tank.
Beer fans should also stop by Thor’s Tipi Bar in Victoria Gardens (a pop-up Scandinavian-style drinking den, playing on Yorkshire’s Viking heritage), which is open until 31 December, offering ales, mulled wine and cider and an outdoor winter barbecue.
Whitelock, Turks Head Yard, Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6HB
The more traditional Whitelock’s is the oldest pub in Leeds, serves a selection of real ale and craft beers (many from Yorkshire breweries) and has a roaring fire and the Sunday papers, while The Turk’s Head (just off Briggate) boast 12 kegs, two cask lines, more than 40 bottles and cans, and a top notch spirit, cocktail and wine offering.
The Alchemist, Trinity Leeds second floor
For Christmas-inspired cocktails, The Alchemist on the second floor of Trinity Leeds offers a welcome respite from shopping, with a heated terrace delivering stunning views over the city. Warm up with a barrel aged Negroni, a chocolate orange Sazerac, or a smoky Old Fashioned.
North Bar, 24 New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NU
Less than 10 minutes away, the welcoming North Bar on New Briggate was one of the original pioneers of the Leeds bar boom. Here you can try an extensive range of craft beers, as well as a good selection of warming whiskies.