Review: Trying a coffee flavoured beer in Mad Frans, Leeds

Less than one-month-old, Mad Frans takes over building 6 in Wellington Place, which formerly home to 'The Place'.

Saturday, 21st December 2019, 11:45 am
Drinks in Mad Frans in Wellington Place.

Sat right in the heart of the city's business district, Mad Frans is the ideal spot to grab lunch or nip for a pint after work - and we did exactly the latter.

First impressions?

It is a bright and airy bar, mainly due to being part of the Wellington Place development - a development with a design seemingly based on having as many windows as physically possible.

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Mad Frans in Wellington Place.

To the left of the entrance doors, in front of one of these many windows, is a long thin space lined with tables - perfect for people watching along the busy Whitehall Road.

Walk up a short set of stairs and you reach the bar and the main seating area. It's small and cosy, but with plenty more tables and chairs than its predecessor, leaving lots of room to relax and have a chat.

The walls are painted a deep, warming teal and alongside the exposed structural ceiling and the hanging golden lights, makes the whole area feel comfortable and welcoming.

Predictably, as it was 2.30pm on a dreary Monday (a perk of the early shift), the place was practically empty with only three of us in to prop the bar.

The bar in Mad Frans in Wellington Place.

The two of us - and the man with his brow furiously furrowed at his laptop screen - were only joined by one other party in the two hours we were there.

However, I have been reliably informed that this was an unusual scenario. My drinking companion himself had attempted to pop in for a few drinks only a couple of weeks back and gave up after being met with huge queues at the door. It seems that this is the kind of establishment that must thrive off the lunchtime crowd and after-work revellers.

Nonetheless, there was none of that awkwardness that often occurs when you're one of few in the pub.

The staff were friendly and attentive and served us very quickly.

What’s the menu like?

We didn't opt for any food this time but as the new chef Gary Pickles has worked under Gordan Ramsey, I'm sure it won't be long until we head back to sample a bite.

The bar serves breakfast from 7.30am to 11am, both eat-in and takeaway, and offers up healthy options like a breakfast smoothie, granola and honey yoghurt and breakfast bagels. If you dit inside there are also hot options like avocado on toast, a full English and the Mad Frans Benedict.

Prices start from £3 up to £7.50.

On Saturday's the bar serves bottomless brunches and on Sunday's it serves up a traditional roast.

And the drinks?

Drinks-wise, Mad Frans showcases the best local and independent ales, lagers and ciders, as well as soon well-known favourites like Moretti, Aspell and Guinness.

It also has a well-stocked fridge of colourful craft beers.

I opted to try something different and ordered a pint of Common Grounds Triple Coffee Porter - a collaboration from Magic Rock Brewing and Slawaithe based coffee roasters Dark Wood.

Despite initially being concerned I wouldn't like it as I am not used to dark ale, I thought this drink was so delicious that I had to order a second.

It is a full-bodied and smooth beer, infused with coffee that creates a sweet depth to the drink. The coffee isn't overpowering and just adds a nice note of flavour to the drink.

It was the 'beer of the week' and cost £5.50. A bit on the pricey side, but in this case, I'd say that's a good thing because it's addictively delicious but also 5.4%.

My companion ordered locally brewed, dry-hopped Pilsner from nearby Kirkstall Brewery.

This was not his first time sampling the Kirkstall Pilsner but said it was just as delicious as ever.

It cost £4.20 a pint which he said was reasonable for a Kirkstall Brewery beer in Leeds city centre.

He also said the range on offer was decent and that it is "always good when Leeds bars support local breweries."

The verdict

Mad Frans is a welcoming, perfectly located bar in the city centre's work district. It would be perfect for a lunchtime tipple or to meet up with friends after work.

Drinks are a bit on the pricier side, but not much more than your average craft ale bar in Leeds city centre.

Next time I'll be sampling the delicious looking food - washed down with my new favourite Common Grounds Triple Coffee Porter.


Food - N/A

Value 7/10

Atmosphere 7/10

Service 8/10