Pub review: Turk’s Head, Leeds city centre

Turk's Head.
Turk's Head.
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A year-and-a-half after opening its doors, the Turk’s Head remains a distinctive little treat of a pub.

It was the former top bar of neighbouring Whitelock’s – the oldest pub in Leeds – now serving as a sister venue and function room.

The bar area.

The bar area.

But it complements this with its own distinctive, plush feel in contrast to the other’s classic charm.

A slogan on the window reads: “Serving the 
discerning drinkers of Leeds since 1715”.

Why, thank you.

In those days market traders and merchants thronged to the pub(s) and on a good day (in fact, most week nights even) a similar atmosphere is evident at Turk’s Head Yard now.

The night we go is a more sedate affair, though after walking through the tunnel where the pub’s name is advertised next to the airport terminal that is Trinity, I’m glad for the peace and quiet.

Staff members are bright, personable and accommodating throughout.

Twelve keg options, two cask lines, more than 40 bottles cans as well as spirits, cocktails and wine are usually on offer.

My friend goes for a gin and orange juice (£4.40) and is pleased to discover that the house option is Whittaker’s – a nice change from the usual ones offered at most places.

It seems to go down nicely.

I opt for a cask pint of Northern Monk’s flagship Eternal Session IPA (£3.95, 4.1 per cent), which looks lovely.

It’s clearly kept in good nick and was pulled to the standard you’d expect, though ultimately too hoppy for my own taste.

Initially we sit on one of the long benches in the alleyway yard it shares with it’s big sis pub, and it’s always fun to be there.

However I’m actually rather pleased when the drizzle starts to turn heavy, as it gives me a chance to properly take in the beautiful interior. The seating area and curtains are coloured in quite striking royal blue and teal, a nice accompaniment to the wooden floor and great marble tables.

A poster for the upcoming Leeds International Beer Festival is proudly hung up.

For seconds I go for Thornbridge’s Melba (five per cent), a peach beer that smells like peach and tastes like beer and comes in 2/3 of a pint for roughly the price of a full one.

My friend tries half a Cherry Weisse, by the Hawkshead Brewery (3.5 per cent), which smells like beer and tastes like nothing much, I’m told. The round came to £6.

None of this is the pub’s fault of course, it’s great that they offer a range to try from. Though I’d recommend waiting maybe until payday to visit, as some of the more expensive bottles are £15.

In all, re-opening this ‘top bar’ was a great idea and it works as a legitimate side offer to its neighbour.