As the weather continues to be positively Mediterranean we take a look at some of the best pub gardens and outside spaces in the city centre and further afield where you can enjoy a spot of European-style al fresco socialising.
A great regeneration success story, the Tetley, housed in the old brewery building, is the perfect combination of culture – the artspace is a wonderful new addition to Leeds’s contemporary art scene – and cafe society. The bar is spacious and attractive and the kitchen offers excellent, well-priced food. There is a huge amount of space outside and if you are there during the day and fancy getting in out of the sun for a while, there is always an interesting art exhibition you can pop in to look at. It’s also very family-friendly and over the summer there are plenty of family art workshops for children and adults to enjoy.
ILKLEY MOOR VAULTS
Situated just on the edge of Ilkley, heading out towards Skipton on the A65, the Vaults is a popular local spot with a great range of beers and wines and an excellent reasonably priced menu. Inside, it has a relaxed, homely feel and friendly, welcoming staff. With impeccable timing, last month they launched a refurbished outdoor seating area – and are offering freshly cooked barbecue food every Friday evening over the summer. A perfect way to start the weekend – and if you need to walk off the burgers, the picturesque River Wharfe is only a few minutes’ stroll away.
Understandably one of the most popular beer gardens in Leeds, luckily there is plenty of seating – and room for standing if you don’t manage to grab a table – as the city’s workers flock there in the early evening to unwind and catch some of rays they have only seen through the office window. The outdoor space overlooks the River Aire so it’s possible to feel that you are away from the urban rush when actually you’re pretty close to the city centre and you can very happily while away a couple of hours after work sampling their fine selection of beers and wines.
THE OLD BRIDGE INN
Recently voted the Leeds Camra Pub of the Year for the second year in a row, the Old Bridge Inn in Kirkstall reopened in 2013 after a long period of closure. Run by the successful Kirkstall Brewery just across the river, it’s a traditional pub with, obviously, a serious interest in real ale. However, it also has plenty to offer those who don’t know their Pale from their Porter, not least the attractive canalside beer garden. There is also a good selection of pub food to graze on ranging from lite bites and pizzas to mains that include Kirkstall beer-battered fish and chips.
THE FLEECE, OTLEY
There is certainly no shortage of pubs in Otley – the bustling market town is famed for them, but the Fleece does have something extra up its sleeve. There is a lovely, spacious terraced beer garden out back that overlooks a particularly photogenic stretch of the River Wharfe. The view also takes in the woods, fields and rolling hills beyond – it’s the kind of landscape that could move you to recite a few lines of Wordsworth or Yeats, especially after a couple of drinks. Inside there is a nice, old-fashioned feel and a great selection of food, wine and beers.
THE ORIGINAL OAK
There is always plenty going on at The Original Oak in Headingley – they have regular comedy nights and live music – and due to its location it’s a favourite haunt of the city’s student population so gets pretty busy and lively during term time. However, in the summer months the atmosphere is a bit calmer (and the clientele a little older) and when the sun is shining the huge beer garden comes into its own. There is also decent pub grub available throughout the day – even at breakfast time – with some good deals especially for children and a wide selection of beers (from Yorkshire and beyond), wines and spirits.