Reviewing every last watering hole in Leeds city centre

The Brotherhood of Pursuits and Pastimes

The Brotherhood of Pursuits and Pastimes

  • Beer
  • Atmosphere
  • Amenities
  • Value
I guess they couldn't fit their full title on the frontage.

I guess they couldn’t fit their full title on the frontage.

Remember when I said that Henleys is the only sports bar in this part of town? Well, I spoke too soon, for The Brotherhood of Pursuits and Pastimes has officially opened (and it probably qualifies for the bar in town with the longest name).  They’ve paid attention to detail and are definitely trying to offer a more upscale experience than the other sports joints in Leeds.

The bar is in there somewhere.

The bar is in there somewhere.

To get the full experience, we (unwittingly) ventured here during a Manchester United v. Arsenal match, which is apparently something that will draw a crowd. You couldn’t not watch the game when it’s on; the size, number and volume of TV screens is simply unavoidable and we were the only people there who weren’t glued to the action.

Though it was completely packed, we were able to find adequate space to perch ourselves on the sizable mezzanine level (which also offers a nice view of Briggate out the impressive bay window). There’s a bar up here, too, so you won’t have to travel far too get peruse the beers.

The upstairs bar. No shortage of TVs up here either.

The upstairs bar. No shortage of TVs up here either.

Ilkley has a corner on the interesting choices here, with Gold and Joshua Jane on cask, bottled Siberia, and a venue-specific “pale ale” called Brothers’ Oath, both from a keg and a bottle. (We’d call it just a run-of-the-mill lager, and the fact that they’re charging £4.40 for a 330ml bottle of a 3.9% local beer didn’t help endear it to us.) There’s also Lawn Mower and B17 in cans, which you don’t see everywhere.

A glimpse out onto Briggate.

A glimpse out onto Briggate.

If you’re hungry, there’s a range of interesting pies or some classy bar snacks to choose from. But given that the beer is only so-so and being crushed by televised sport is not our idea of a good evening, we probably won’t come back to try them. That said, they’ve done a good job reaching their target audience and there’s no doubt this place will handily blow its competition out of the water.

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54 New Briggate
Leeds LS1 6NU
0113 243 4060


  1. Interesting perspective Emily – naturally, I respect your right to an opinion, and your right to share it – god bless the internet and all that, but I disagree to such a large extent that I feel I’ve got to wade in with my own… for what it’s worth, here goes…

    In the interests of transparency, I am biased (although I am not employed by the bar). That said my views are entirely my own, and only my own.

    I have seen first-hand the level of hard work, financial investment, attention to detail and industry expertise that has gone into the creation of what is a totally new and highly distinctive bar offering in the city.

    I’d like to stick up for the team at this brand new bar by raising the following points:

    In reviewing The Brotherhood…

    1. You’ve visited a Sports Bar and are complaining about televised sport and the presence of multiple large screens. Your call, but a bit odd.

    2. You’ve visited during a major football match, when the bar is packed with sports fans – despite on your own blog stating that you’re tastes are “We’re not really sports enthusiasts, so we usually steer clear of places that are rammed with football and rugby fans on the day of the match.” I’m not a much of a sports fan myself, so I’m unlikely to mosey on to the centre circle at Wembley and start asking them to keep it down during the cup final – never mind then publishing my discontent when my requests fall on deaf ears (that’s just me though).

    3. You’ve awarded a measley 2 stars for Beer despite Siberia & JJ being winners of The Guild of Fine Food’s Great Taste Award (2-stars each there I think), and Gold winning a CAMRA regional gold award. Surely the fact that the bar has brewed it’s own “IPA” (“?”) in partnership with Ilkley as opposed to rebranding a white label deserves credit too (if it is for the masses (perhaps?), they could easily have chucked an awful mainstream lager there in its place) – for somebody who is admittedly ‘new to the world of good beer’, you’re really, really, really hard to please!

    In other news they also stock a superb range of spirits and a Cocktail list that celebrates the best of British bartenders – aswell as separate selection of the real classics – it’s great – take a look at the bar menu next time you’re in maybe?

    As you rightly say, the concept of the bar is to offer an upscale experience in the sports bar sector to a customer of a more discerning nature – and they do a damn fine job of it (only my opinion of course).

    To be honest, publicly reviewing a venue you already know is not your bag, at a time that specifically magnifies the things you don’t like about it feels not only seriously unfair, but downright unsporting… but then admittedly, you’re not the sporting type I suppose hey?

    Apologies for the slightly annoyed tone, but hey, I’m slightly annoyed!
    All the best!

    • Hi James,

      Thank you very much for taking the time to read our review and make some very thorough and thoughtful comments. We love getting other people’s perspectives, as we are quite admittedly biased in our own views.

      I didn’t mean to sound like I was complaining about all the sports. It’s not my thing, but because our blog is dedicated to reviewing every single place to drink beer in the city centre, we can’t skip a place just because it might not be our cup of tea. I did want to point out that while in some sports bars you could kind of ignore the sports if you wanted, this is not the case in The Brotherhood. This is obviously intentional and it suits the people who are visiting perfectly.

      Regarding the 2 stars for beer: In the context of our other reviews, 2 is where The Brotherhood belongs. I know that on first glance “2 stars” sounds bad, but on our scale it is really just below average. (We try to be as honest with our star rating as possible and hand them out only when we think they are deserved.)

      The handful of good offerings from Ilkley (a favourite brewery of ours) is what keeps it out of the 0.5 category like Tiger Tiger or Blayd’s. But in a place like Leeds, where beer aficionados are so spoilt for choice, having some Ilkleys and a couple other offerings is not enough to get it up to 4 or 5 stars like Pin, The Adelphi, Northern Monk, Tapped, Mr Foleys, North, Belgrave…. (I could go on.)

      You have made me realize, however, that it’s definitely time to update my “About Me” section on that blog. I wrote that two years ago when we first started and I am not new to the world of good beer anymore.

      The heart of our blog and our quest is the beer. It’s always about the beer. There might be a great selection of cocktails, coffees, food, desserts, you-name-it, but this blog is about the beer. Were we to look at a cocktail menu it would be mostly lost on us because we don’t know anything about cocktails and we don’t usually drink them. We’re here for the beer, which is why we call ourselves Leeds Beer Quest.

      I hoped to get across that The Brotherhood is offering an upscale experience, and I close my review by saying “they’ve done a good job reaching their target audience and there’s no doubt this place will handily blow its competition out of the water.” I have nothing against The Brotherhood and have no doubt that the place will thrive. The owners have done a great job with the space and it will be a good option for discerning sports fans in Leeds.

  2. Thanks for your response Emily.

    Although your blog’s about beer, only about a short paragraph of the review is concerned with it – 70 words perhaps?

    I’d encourage you to contact the owner via FB, head back at a time that’s less ‘sport intensive’ – lunch perhaps? and let them talk you through the concept and their approach to the bar and beer choices – I’m sure they won’t transform your tastebuds, but it might help you to see a different side to an offering that’s not just below average.

    Thanks again.

  3. I feel bad about giving this place a 2-star revue, as I really enjoyed my visit. I had a very nice pie and a quality pint. However, the beer offer really is as average as Emily makes out – 2 real ales and a keg IPA doesn’t really cut it in a place that advertises craft ales outside. Nice place to stop by, but not a haven for beer drinkers.

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