Pub review: The New Conservatory, Leeds

If you're walking around the Albion Place part of Leeds city centre and hear music blaring out around the street, there's a good chance it's coming from the New Conservatory.

New Conservatory Bar, in Albion Place, Leeds
New Conservatory Bar, in Albion Place, Leeds

Not that it’s really garish or anything – once you’re inside it’s pretty lovely and welcoming enough – but for some the place might seem a bit more intimidating from the outside than it needs to.

When me and my friend decide to go for one it’s a nice evening, but despite the pub’s popular street level seating area we descend the stone steps into the basement bar.

Taking a look around, the decor could be described as ‘busy’, with much to cast your eyes over. There’s a central bar, complete with sculpted brown beams, circled by various coves of seating with a secluded dining area surrounded by a mock library in the corner - ideal for dinner dates between couples or small groups.

There’s a vibe of a rough and ready ‘proper pub’ and something a bit more interesting. A few art pieces are on the walls but staff are friendly enough and unpretentious.

At one point I looked to the left to see three really beautiful arched stained glass windows draped with twinkly lights and a candelabrum atop a grand piano, then turn to the right and see someone switching the TV on to Emmerdale. So despite the ornate look of the place punters obviously feel comfortable enough.

People were enjoying a game of pool and the bar offers live music on the odd night, with some acts playing outdoors for revellers and the passing public.

After our first set of drinks – including a decent Shipyard American Pale Ale (on tap) – we notice that it’s happy hour from 5pm-10pm every day and duly take them up on the offer.

So it’s a nice pint of Dortmunder lager and Beefeater gin and orange juice for only £5, along with a couple of packets of Pipers crisps at £1 each.

Although the offer is limited to certain drinks, the bar also offers ‘quality’ drinks such as the wheat beer Erdinger for those happy to pay more than a fiver for one.

These go down nicely enough (especially at the price) and make us decide to stay a little longer than we originally intended to.

The atmosphere is not half bad for a Tuesday evening, with a few quiet parties contented in conversation and it seems obvious the pub is a regular stop for some visitors.

Those who run the bar seem to make the best of their space in an area of the city which is saturated with other offers, and if people are looking for an interesting place for a post-work drink this pub does the job. It had been a few years since I’d been in the New Conservatory but wouldn’t hesitate to go again.