There’s a new speakeasy in town. With a very unassuming entrance, dim-lit booths and a distinctive you’ve-gotta-be-pretty-cool-to-know-this-is-even-here vibe, it certainly lives up to its name. We hadn’t heard of it opening even though we like to think of ourselves as having our fingers on the pulse of drinking spots in Leeds, so we were grateful to get a tip.
Their pride and joy is their cocktail menu, which we obviously aren’t qualified to comment on intelligently, but some seem just downright silly. One of the descriptions is just an Oscar Wilde quote. Another features the mysterious ingredients of popcorn syrup and popcorn mist (?), and when someone at the table next to us ordered one we definitely got wafts of popcorn flavour!
As for the beer, it’s a reasonable selection of craft beers and bottled ales that we’ve come to expect from a place like this, thanks to the craft beer revolution: Sierra Nevada, Kernel, Odell’s, Bristol Beer Factory, Harviestoun, and Anchor. No casks or kegs here, and they could definitely stand to turn their fridges back a few notches as the beer was served way too cold. They do offer table service and the staff are very friendly, which isn’t always the case in pretentious places like this.
Though the atmosphere wasn’t exactly my pint of ale, I think they’ve nailed exactly what they’re going for. William-Morris-like wallpaper, fixtures made of animal heads, and lots of little antique embellishments lend to the speakeasy feel, and there’s even a hymn board with the code to get back in from where the toilets are (necessary to keep Sandinista’s clientele from just wandering in). The prices are about what we would have guessed, from £3.60 to £6 and the good ones all being around £5.
For us, being sandwiched between one of our old favourites and one of our new favourites (Sandinista! and Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, respectively) will always work against it but we reckon it will definitely appeal to folks who are looking for some interesting cocktails served up in a super-cool atmosphere.