Bars in Leeds

Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor

As you’d expect from a city as vibrant and exciting as Leeds, the bar scene is among the best in the North.

Leeds has a young population, thanks to its University and the thriving businesses which employ many young professionals. The city boasts not one, not two, but three ‘Main Drags’: Call Lane, Merrion Street, and Greek Street, where you can find booming nightclubs that stay open until the small hours. Around the big clubs, you’ll find the bars, likely to be buzzing with live music and comedy over the weekend and throughout the week as well.

One of the defining features of Leeds’ nightlife is the vast range of real ale and craft beers brewed in and around the city and flowing nightly from the tap. Leeds is a long-time centre of the brewing industry, with a beer history going all the way back to medieval times and beyond. Today, Northern Monk, Wilde Childe, and the Northern Brewing Company are just a few of the big names in beer operating in the Leeds metropolitan area.

That being the case, there are plenty of places to go to savour beer as an art form, and the overall culture is perhaps a bit more savoury than in other somewhat binge-drinking oriented city centres – though, should you wish, you can of course have a wild one.

And if you’re after sophisticated wines, spirits, and cocktails, fear not, as these coexist merrily with all the beer, in venues such as the Thewlis, the Alchemist, and the Maven,

The LGBT scene in Leeds is massive, with drag shows and gay and lesbian bars that guarantee a good night out in safe, respectful spaces.

So, whether you’re looking for vast bustling spaces or intimate backdoor dive bars, this city has them all. Here’s our pick of the best bars in Leeds.

Here are our picks

  • 1. Belgrave Music Hall

    Belgrave music hall Leeds
    Creative Tourist

    Belgrave Music Hall, 1-1A Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8JP - Visit now

    Arguably the most high-profile bar in Leeds, this 1930s venue has three floors including the city’s best roof terrace. Originally built as a children’s nursery school, these days it attracts an older but just as lively crowd, albeit with slightly less vomiting.

  • 2. North Bar

    North Bar (C) Mark Newton Photograhy 2
    © Mark Newton Photography

    North Bar, 24 New Briggate, Leeds, LS1 6NU - Visit now

    North is one of Leeds’ more intimate drinking dens, but what it lacks in square footage it makes up for in drinks, with a huge range of craft ales. With over twenty years in the business, they could well be the first craft beer bar in the UK.

  • 3. The Maven

    the maven bar leeds

    The Maven, 1 Call Ln, Leeds, LS1 7DH - Visit now

    Cocktail-lovers should make their way to The Maven, but keep your eyes peeled – this stylish cocktail bar is a true hidden gem, with no signage and subdued lighting giving it a real prohibition-era look and feel.

  • 4. Blind Tyger

    Blind Tyger, 5½, Cross Belgrave St, Leeds , LS2 8JP - Visit now

    Blind Tyger is a snug gem of a cocktail den tucked into Cross Belgrave street and perfect for a quiet but sophisticated drink.

  • 5. The Decanter

    The Decanter Leeds

    The Decanter, 17 Park Row, Leeds, LS1 5JQ - Visit now

    One of Leeds’ most stylish bars, The Decanter is one for the winos – or as we prefer to call ourselves ‘wine-lovers’. Located in the financial district, the space is all exposed brickwork, mahogany and plush seating.