I was in Leeds the other evening for a gig, and that gave me the opportunity to visit one or two places where I had not been for a few years, plus a new one that has opened up since I was last in that part of the city....
My first port of call was the original North Bar, which I had not visited for over 3 years at least, although I have visited their other city centre bar on the corner of Sovereign Street and Swinegate several times in the past year or so. They also have a taproom at the brewery in the suburb of Sheepscar, with further bars in the city at Chapel Allerton, Meanwood, and Oakwood, whilst further afield they have sites in Harrogate and Otley. The former thoroughfare of New Briggate has now been closed to traffic and so a bank of tables and chairs were occupying the space in front of the bar, and several were already occupied. Inside, behind the glass frontage, the long narrow room was less busy with just a couple of solitary guys at separate tables. From a small range of cask and a larger craft selection, I ordered a pint of Sputnik from the taps and made increased the indoor customer numbers by 50%, grabbing a perch at one of the high stools opposite the bar. The Sputnik was most refreshing on what was by now quite a humid evening. There was a nice, chilled-out vibe about the place, with a decent soundtrack playing. I was getting to the bottom of my pint when one of the bar team asked if I would like a refill, and whilst I declined, I thought it was a nice gesture and said I might call back later (which I did).
|North Bar, New Briggate, Leeds: chilled-out vibe|
|Brew York, Leeds|
The next place I visited was one that I have been to on a number of occasions over the years. This was situated on North Street a couple of minutes away - 5 if you include waiting for the lights to change at the pedestrian crossings to safely negotiate the busy roads in these parts. There were plenty of people both inside and out, many drawn here by the food. The beer, though, is equally a draw at The Reliance (opening picture), which is what attracted me there this evening. There were 4 beers on handpump, one being a house beer brewed by Acorn Brewery, but from the 3 guests, I opted for the 5.2% Marlborough IPA from the local Anthology, making it three 5% or above beers on the bounce at the start of the evening! As usual for their beers, it was on top form and I rated it a very good NBSS 4. Anthology were formed in Leeds in 2018 and I remember chatting to their main man Liam a few years ago when he was working across the city at the Cardigan Arms on Kirkstall Road and telling me that he had just started brewing. Over the years Anthology have become known for their hop-forward, flavoursome, and consistent beers.
I grabbed a seat that had just been vacated by the window in the room off to the right of the bar as you enter. There is a further room up the stairs to the back of the bar, which they tend to use as a restaurant. I gave my daughter a call as I was enjoying my pint, and when I came off the phone half an hour later it had almost gone. I also realised that with time moving on I ought to get myself fed, so when I returned to the bar to replenish my drink I ordered a small plate of smoked haddock, Jersey royals, and samphire, which was very good and just hit the spot. It was an enjoyable re-visit to The Reliance; excellent beer, good food, and friendly, efficient service.
|Board room at The Reliance|
|The Brunswick, North Street: great beer and atmosphere|
|The Goa Express: jangly and fuzzy|