Pub review: Stew and Oyster, Oakwood, Leeds

PIC: James Hardisty
PIC: James Hardisty
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when it comes to food, Stew and Oyster does exactly what it says on the tin.

Part of a five-strong Yorkshire chain, with four Leeds branches and one in Sheffield, it prides itself on doing simple things well.

But we weren’t there for the food on this occasion, instead popping in for a quick drink on a summery midweek evening.

The pub is based in a former bank building, and its exterior has a good deal of olde worlde charm.

The location near Roundhay Park is also great. We parked ourselves at a window table with comfy seats and a lovely view of the legendary Oakwood Clock right across the road. Dimmed lighting and fairy lights added to a pleasant ambience.

The only slight downside location-wise is that Stew and Oyster is next to a busy junction, but it wasn’t overly noisy or congested on this particular day.

Inside, the decor is heavy on distressed wooden floors and walls, and minimalist furniture.

The general vibe is somewhere between hipster cool and old school, with hundreds of beer mats and memorabilia covering the walls.

The bar area is spacious, and the variety of bar snacks which greet you in big jars are a nice addition.

The bar is stacked with locally sourced craft beers and ales along with dozens of world varieties.

And for those who aren’t into beers, there are plenty of wines and spirits options, although not - to the chagrin of myself and my companion - a cocktail menu.

Not one for the girlie crowd then. But I counted 37 local breweries featured on the website at the moment, so a pretty impressive offer for ale afficianados.

It wasn’t busy on the day we visited, with just a few couples and groups of friends scattered in various corners.

We were greeted by a hipster barman with a sarcastic edge, and a gorgeous golden Labrador without a hint of one. I wasn’t sure if the dog belonged to the establishment - and so might or not be there all the time - but he kept wondering over to say hello. I didn’t mind, but my friend was a little perturbed by the constant presence of our unexpected canine companion.

As well as this Oakwood branch, Stew and Oyster has outlets in Boston Spa, Otley, Calls Landing in Leeds city centre and Kelham Island in Sheffield.

The spaciousness and traditional pub charm at this one make it great for group gatherings and it has all the hallmarks of a much-loved ‘local’. There’s even a quiz night on Tuesdays to keep visitors on their trivia toes.

As well as bar snacks, you can order sharing platters and while away many hours in a comfy chair in front of a roaring fire. What’s not to like?

Rating: 3/5