Bar review: Around the World in 80 Beers, The Headrow

Around the World in 80 Beers, The Headrow, Leeds.  Pictures: Simon HulmeAround the World in 80 Beers, The Headrow, Leeds.  Pictures: Simon Hulme
Around the World in 80 Beers, The Headrow, Leeds. Pictures: Simon Hulme
MAYBE MICHAEL PALIN should revive his similarly named 1980s travel show with a beer theme given the extraordinary variety of lagers and ales from all over the world were confronted with a choice of at bars these days.

For those with the malt and hoppy tastes, this cunning named bar and lounge found on The Headrow opposite the city’s art gallery offers its own world tour courtesy of a massive selection of bottled, canned and cask beers.

Apparently you can even pick up a beer passport at the bar to track your progress through the drinks menu - and that might just take many, many return trips. Confusingly, despite its prescriptive name there are not 80 beers to chose from but more than 100 (including varieties of ciders) from in excess of 30 different countries.

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Like a kid in a sweet shop, I felt spoilt for choice. The menu lists beers from Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, Oceania and South America. If you have never tasted a beer from Peru, New Zealand or Cuba, here, apparently, is your chance.

On this particular visit however the range was not quite as extensive as I would have hoped. Naturally, the most obscure listings grabbed my attention but the bar was out of stock of Windhoek from Namibia, Jacobsen Velvet Ale from Denmark and the Berliner Kindl Weisse from Germany.

Ho-hum. Instead I tried the Berliner IPA, a can of Lawn Mower brewed in Sweden and a bottle of Iceland’s curious coriander and orange peel flavoured Einstok White Ale.

Even though it was early on a weekday evening there was a good atmosphere in here. Not-too-loud upbeat dance music played out, a large group of students congregated at one table and there was a buzz of conversation from Shooter’s Sports Bar on the next floor up. Downstairs is the German Bierkeller so you can’t go far wrong if you plan on having a night out without leaving the building.

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The interior is no-thrills, with wooden fittings, tables and chairs but is large enough for a number of big groups of people to share at one time.

There is live music on Thursday evening and pre-7pm drinks offers on cocktails every day except Saturday.

There is a food menu too which is billed online as offering tastes from around the world but it was basic, with hotdogs and burgers typical of the fare on offer. Cocktails, when not on offer, cost around £6-7 each.

A sociable venue with an upbeat atmosphere and a wide selection of drinks. 80 Beers will no doubt be a hit with students but is worth a visit too for people who like sampling beers you are not likely to find at most other bars in the city centre. At £11.85 for three beers it offers decent value for money for the experience.