The Black Prince pub, which gazes out over City Square, has been many things over the years. Indeed, this is a building of some history, being the former headquarters of the Yorkshire Banking Company (sometimes called Yorkshire District Bank), dating to 1899.
It has been variously used in the intervening years as a bank, nightclub (Flares, then Revival) and now pub; and as one of the most prominent buildings facing out onto City Square its fine colonnade of tall Corinthian columns deserves to be put to good use.
Sadly, when I paid a visit to the pub at the beginning of September, the place looked a little down at the heels, mainly because of the three (I counted them) crumpled-jean wearing blokes doing their best to prop up its grand exterior while puffing away on cigarettes.
It was 2014 when Sizzling Pubs took over and launched The Black Prince, creating a space capable of holding 100 guests and serving a range of cask ales and pub food fare from fish and chips to Mexican fajitas.
Today they offer an extensive menu, from breakfasts (classic at £3.19 to mega at a still very reasonable £7.19), plus all the usual pub favourites such as burgers, bangers and (Colcannon) mash - a kind of herbed-up, buttery Irish mash - and scampi n’ chips, chilli, etc. Drinks-wise, they have some good choices, with craft ales (Brewdog Dead Pony Club and Camden Hills lager to name but two), plus deals on two-for-one cocktails and four pint pitchers for £11.
So, the offering is good and there’s plenty of seating inside, which is busy even at just after midday, with the whole of the upstairs booked out for a private meeting and downstairs about three-quarters full.
The barman is friendly and chipper when I go to order a half of Thatcher’s Stan’s Big Apple (£2), which comes with a deep, lingering, zesty taste and for someone whose not a cider drinker per se, it made for a nice change. In fact, I was so enamoured by it, I decided to try Rosie’s Pig Flat Tyre Rhubarb Cider (£3.75 per 330ml can) and immediately wished I hadn’t. I’ve nothing against ciders or even fruity ciders and I am sure it was well made and, indeed, it certainly had flavour but my these days my palate is more used to bitter, hoppy things.
During the visit, there were also some Peroni and Sol lagers to wash away the memory of the cider, which brought the total bill to £19.15.
Being honest, this is a well run pub with a fabulous range of drinks and food at decent prices, which goes some way to explaining why it was so busy (half the people in there were eating). Big screen TVs cater to the masses with sport. I dare say it could a little bit of a spruce up inside, it’s not as slick and swish as some (eg: The Griffin) but it’s not bad either.
The Black Prince
City Square, Leeds