City Buzz: Get ready for Leeds’ biggest cocktail festival

One of the Leeds Loves Cocktails events last year at Verve.
One of the Leeds Loves Cocktails events last year at Verve.
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IF you’re a regular City Buzz reader you’ll know we like to keep an eye on all the cool things happening in Leeds’ bar land.

But this week it’s become a bit tricky to keep tabs on absolutely everything.

That’s because Leeds Loves Cocktails is back on Monday, with dozens of bars in the city centre getting involved.

This year it’s bigger than ever, with double the amount of venues taking part.

Around 40 different bars will host events, talks and cocktail workshops as part of the festival.

For those of you who haven’t heard of it before, Leeds Loves Cocktails is now in its third year and will kick off on Monday, June 1, running until Sunday, June 7.

Cocktail fans can snap up a wristband for a fiver, which will allow them exclusive access to tasting sessions, cocktail masterclasses, discounted drinks and loads of parties throughout the week-long festival.

With so many events going on, it’s hard to pick which ones to pop along to.

But this week we’ve dedicated our ‘Top 5’ section to Leeds Loves Cocktails to help you decide.

Nick Fox is founder of Leeds Loves Cocktails and set up the event off his own back after working in the industry for some time.

Speaking to City Buzz, he said: “It all started three years ago – I wanted to put on an event and showcase the talents in our city.

“The aim was to provide a festival for people in Leeds and try and educate consumers as well as bartenders.

“There are more bars taking part this year than ever, which reflects the city’s thriving bar scene.

“Leeds is forever growing and the bar scene grows with it.”

All the old favourites are taking part, including Mojo, Normans, Neon Cactus and Oporto.

But it’s also a chance for newer bars to step up and show what they’ve got, with Bar Soba, Cielo Blanco and Meat Liquor taking part as well.

Before you get carried away thinking it’s a great excuse for a seven-day knees-up, the idea behind the festival is that we all deserve to be ‘drinking better, not more’.

There are some big brands behind Leeds Loves Cocktails this year too, including Grey Goose Vodka, El Jimador, Chambord and Tanqueray to name a few.

The festival will kick off on Monday, June 1 at The Maven and over 50 events will be held throughout the week.

It will close on Sunday, June 7 with a food feast at Oporto, followed by a street party at Merrion Street, which is sure to be a highlight.

Red Bull will help host the tropical-themed event with a DJ truck and carnival atmosphere.

Wristbands can be bought at the Trinity Leeds customer service lounge or the Leeds Loves Cocktails HQ at Hogarth’s Gin Joint, which is a new pop-up bar nestled between Belgrave Music Hall and Sandinista.

For a full line-up and details about each of the events, visit the website at www.leedslovescocktails.co.uk.

You can also follow @leedslovescocktails on Twitter for more information.

l Let us know how you get on by tweeting your Leeds Loves Cocktails photos to us via @leedscitybuzz.