You’ve arrived in Leeds and checked into your Roomzzz Leeds City apartment with a few hours to spare before a concert at the First Direct Arena. So what to do now?
Well, you’re in luck because we’ve rounded up some of the hottest spots along the way for you to eat, drink and maybe even dance the night away. Don’t mind us, we’re just making your life easier.
Remember Smokestack for later
Take a left out of the aparthotel and head up Lower Briggate. Keep your eyes peeled on this street and you’ll spot the unassuming, brown side door of Smokestack. Don’t be fooled by the worn sign, this is one of the coolest clubs in town.
If you’re up for a night out with a twist after the arena then this is the place to go. Expect an electric atmosphere, plenty of feel good funk and soul tunes, and an exceptional cocktail menu.
Grab a bite at Whitelock’s Ale House
Feeling peckish? Whitelock’s will sort you out with some great pub grub and a pint. Keep on walking up Lower Briggate and cross the road on to Briggate to discover this gem. If you’re visiting on a Sunday be sure to order a roast – Whitelock’s make a mean Yorkshire pud.
Bursting with character, the interior is just one of the things that sets this historic boozer apart from the other pubs in town. The heavily mirrored walls, heritage tiles and copper bar top are all part of the charm. It’s no wonder Whitelock’s was the favoured after work hangout of local writers, artists and bohemians in the 1930s and 40s.
Check out the Queen’s Arcade
Just a bit further up Briggate is the Queen’s Arcade. Check it out today if you’ve got time or come back tomorrow before you head home. This pretty in pastel arcade, built in 1889, is packed full of independent boutiques. Get your camera at the ready, this is going to look super cute on your social media feed.
Our favourite deli/cafe, Olive & Rye is tucked away in the arcade. They serve all day brunch and slices of cake as big as your head with flavours like ‘chocolate cookie dough’ and ‘jammy dodger’. Listen out for the sound of music as you explore – local musicians often busk here.
Eat authentic Thai food at Zaap
Next stop is Zaap if you fancy Thai food over pub grub. Zaap pride themselves on bringing the flavours of Bangkok’s street markets to select locations in the north of England. And the vibrant decor is almost as tasty as the food – a cacophony of colour, bright lights, baskets, bunting and tuk tuks – we love this place.
Get ready to eat your heart out because the portions are generous. We couldn’t possibly recommend our favourite dish because they are all insanely delicious. Be sure to try a traditional drink, we’re especially fond of the bright purple An Chan Soda with butterfly pea juice.
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Dance the night away at The Domino Club
After that tiny detour (it was worth it though, right?), make your way through the Grand Arcade towards New Briggate. But not too fast – take note of Lord’s Barbering. Not everything is as it seems here, yes it looks like a barbers shop but through the door at the back you’ll find the entrance to Leeds’ hottest new underground jazz club, The Domino Club.
Who doesn’t love a secret bar? And it’s been hailed as one of the best in the UK, need we say more? Find out what it’s all about later tonight.
Have a beer at North Bar
Emerge from the arcade and back track, just a little, for a bevvy at North Bar. These guys are batty about beer and claim to be the first craft beer bar in Britain (we’ll take their word for it). You’re bound to discover a beer that you’ve never tried before. We tried Tinderbox IPA brewed by Fell, an artisan brewery based in Cumbria.
While you drink have a gawp at the art hanging on the wooden slatted walls – it’s all by up and coming artists. Word to the wise, you’ve got to have a go in North Bar’s famous photo booth to create a memento of your trip before you leave.
Time for one more at the Belgrave Music Hall
How about just one more drink before you head to the arena? You’re only a stone’s throw from the Belgrave – the local hipster hangout. The ground floor is decked out to look like an old-school canteen, only grungier and more industrial. Beers, cocktails, spirits, wines – you name it, they’ve got it.
Once you’ve got your drink, grab a seat on the roof terrace. Sit, sip, and soak up the ‘every day is a festival’ vibe. The wooden decking, foliage and strings of light bulbs always make us feel like we’re on holiday.
Now you’re only a five minute walk from the First Direct Arena.