'A magnificent building' - bar review of The White House, Wetherby Road, Leeds

You'd be forgiven for mistaking this venue for a stately home or the residence of an aristocratic family.

By The Newsroom
Saturday, 1st February 2020, 11:45 am
The Whitehouse pub, Wetherby Road, Leeds.
The Whitehouse pub, Wetherby Road, Leeds.

The White House pub, on Wetherby Road in Roundhay, is a place that prides itself on appearance.

According to its website, the site was built in 1903 and was originally the family home of local entrepreneur James Holroyd Junior, owner of the "world-renowned Burmantofts Pottery Company". The building retains "all of its grand Edwardian style," it adds.

First impressions

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It does have a sense of 'hidden gem' as you wind down Wetherby Road towards the venue.

The White House almost hides in the foliage until you creep past and see the grand white building peering out from the bushes. It looks magnificent at first glance, even at night.

The grand building lavished in (you guessed it!) white, makes for a strong first impression.

It features an equally impressive outdoor seating/smoking area, decked out with benches, tables and chairs to the front of the pub.

Chef and Brewer pub The White House is also a very popular Sunday lunch venue and offers decent food menus throughout the week, too.

This, however, means the layout is slightly odd. Being the grand building that it is, as you enter through the front you can see the bar area ahead, with seating to the left, further to the left and to the right - separated by walls or partitions.

There's a stand as you come through the doors, where you would expect the front of house manager to be standing. On a Sunday, you'll queue here to be seated.

On a weekday evening though - when we arrive - there's no-one standing there and a member of staff flitting backwards and forwards. They finally approach but don't clearly explain where we can sit, other than "it's just the bar area". They're not particularly welcoming, do not explain where the area is and it's all a bit confusing with the layout which is a real shame.

The drinks

Onto what you came for, the booze.

The bar is adorned with an impressive scattering of taps.

There is a real emphasis on lager here and offerings include Estrella, San Miguel (£4.33 a pint), Peroni and Amstel to name just a few.

For hand pulls there's the ever-popular Black Sheep, Greene King's own IPA and of course, Old Speckled Hen.

There are also wines, and prosecco by the small bottle (£5.99 for 20cl).

It must be said, the pint is very refreshing. Cold but not too much so and just the right amount of bubbles.

The atmosphere

There are long wooden tables for bigger groups interspersed with smaller ones for couples in the White House.

It almost has an illusion of being in a cosy snug, with half-way walls separating parts of the bar area almost creating pseudo booths.

There is a really good vibe about the place. While we're sipping, we can hear a hum of voices coming from the other side of the bar, laughter, quiet conversation from a mixture of age groups and a spattering of music overlaying it all. Calming.

The food

A quick word on food here. As previously mentioned, Sunday lunches are a big deal at this venue and should at least be considered.

The daily menu has anything from traditional fish and chips to vegan burgers (with upgradeable options). We were impressed with the starter offerings and shareable plates.

The service

Bar staff shine here. Contrary to our initial experience through the door, the staff at the bar were friendly.

It really is service with a smile - plus a bit of chitchat. We see food orders arriving very quickly, too.

The verdict

Whether you're celebrating, out for a quiet drink as a couple or a family meal, the White House can cater.

If you persevere - and you should - the confusing welcome/seating procedures, there's a good old suburban pub experience waiting just around the corner.