Pub review: The Roundhay Fox, Leeds

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On a cold midweek evening, a friend and I needed a cosy corner and a warm drink to chase away the winter blues and calm the pre-Christmas craziness.

And so we found ourselves drawn to the quasi-rustic charms of the Roundhay Fox. This place gets a raw deal sometimes from certain sneering members of the gastro-pub watcher fraternity, and I don’t really understand why.

It’s not sexy or sophisticated by any means. But it does what it says on the tin, and has no pretensions to being anything other than a family-friendly, welcoming pub.

The place was absolutely heaving when we walked in at around 9pm. We managed to find a corner table for two that suited us perfectly.

The decor and furniture is a bit of a mish mash, neither olde worlde nor modern. In fact, it’s as easygoing and carefree as the general ambience.

The pub is situated near major north Leeds attractions Roundhay Park and Tropical World, and no doubt draws on them for some of its clientele. But it also has the feel of a much loved local.

The drinks menu is impressive, with a selection of regional ales sitting alongside the pub’s parent company’s signature Doom Bar brand, as well as a range of national and international craft beers, lagers and ciders. There’s plenty for the wine and spirit drinkers too. There are 11 white wines on offer, with heady descriptions like ‘fresh and crisp’, ‘aromatic and elegant’ and ‘fruity and ripe’. For fans of red, there are 17 choices grouped under ‘light and juicy’, ‘big and bold’ and ‘rich and smooth’. Prices for the white wines range from £13.95 a bottle for a South African Chenin Blanc to £28.95 for a French Sancerre. In the red corner, the cheapest bottle on offer is an Italian Sangiovese at £13.95, while at the other end, a prestigious French Bordeaux, the Lafite Pauillac, will set you back almost £40.

Fans of British gins and sparkling wines are not left out, and there’s even a helpful mixer menu offering the chance to sample some classic and more unusual combinations.

Having said all that, my companion and I were sticking to coffees and soft drinks on this particular night.

The place was ultra busy, but the two bar staff seemed to be relaxed and coping fine. The crowd was boisterous but good natured, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. There is enough space to allow for a cosy atmosphere without a sense of being packed in like sardines. The staff were chatty and smiling, and betrayed no sign of jadedness despite it being the end of the day.

If you are looking for a pleasant suburban getaway with an unpretentious semi-rural feel, a great selection of drinks and friendly service, this is the place.

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