Roland's Leeds review: Laidback bar with courtyard, hidden terrace and top tunes
I can’t lie - I had visited Roland’s before Covid and was itching to get back.
If lockdown has taught me anything about why I like paying for drinks in bars and restaurants rather than having yet another supermarket bottle at my kitchen table, it’s that I value that oh-so intangible quality - atmosphere. And Roland’s has it in spades.
Unlike many of the other bars on Call Lane, Roland’s is taking bookings. The process is simple and customers are warned of a £10 charge for no-shows.
On arriving, we’re shown to our table in the corner of the courtyard. It’s intimate and - importantly - warm (thanks to the heaters), with the rumble of trains passing just overhead. There's also a roof terrace up top.
The music was impeccable - tip-top soul and rock ‘n’ roll - while the menu was accessible via the now familiar QR code, with the staff very knowledgeable about the drinks selection.
On draught, there was a solid choice of modern classics, from Camden Pale to Beavertown Neck Oil and an IPA from Magic Rock, though a few of the cocktails had sold out by this point.
A Roland’s Revenge (£4.90) was the perfect way to ease into the evening.
My drinking buddy chose the French Martini (£8.50). Created by sister venue The Domino Club, she said it reminded her of a sweet shop "in the best possible way" - fruity but with a depth of flavour. It was so good in fact, that she was raving about it days later.
Next up, I decided to go with something different - a Michelada (£7) - with spice and tomato mix served long over ice and topped up with a Mexican lager. The savoury flavours were incredible, but bear in mind this could be considered an acquired taste.
My companion then sampled a Hepple gin and tonic, featuring pine botanicals, plus an orange peel for contrast, served in a beautiful glass.
Part of Roland’s’ appeal is it’s more grown-up chilled out vibe, especially compared with other parts of Call Lane. The courtyard was a bit louder than I remembered, particularly for a Sunday, but I could forgive some of the exuberance given the dreadful winter we've endured (and isn't every night a Saturday night now?)
Roland's does the basics brilliantly - tunes, top drinks and a terrific atmosphere. I never want to stay away this long again.
Address: 39 Call Lane, LS1 7BT
Telephone: 0113 318 2964
Opening hours: Sun - Weds, noon - 11.30pm; Thurs - Sat, noon - 12am)