For 15 years before Roxy Ball Room appeared on the scene, there was one undisputed king of the pool halls in Leeds, and that was The Elbow Room. We must have walked past it a million times but this was the first time we’d ever been in.
The first thing you notice when you walk in is that this place is vast. It occupies the entire top two floors of a massive 4-storey building on the corner of Briggate and Call Lane. The décor is shabby, kitschy and dark, exactly like the real Midwestern pool halls it’s trying to emulate. There’s lots of seating, and some of it is comfortable sofas. Emily felt very at home in here, and it’ll probably become a go-to whenever she gets homesick.
There are 15 full-size pool tables here, and they’re clearly the bar’s pride and joy. Play is normally £10 an hour (or £6 off-peak) but it’s £5 all day on Sundays and completely free on Mondays. There are also a handful of arcade games (including a test-your-strength punchball!) and a great many TVs around the place showing live sport. The music is good but it’s insanely loud — another thing The Elbow Room has successfully cloned from its American equivalents.
The beer selection on tap is exactly what you’d expect (shitty eurolagers, John Smith’s keg and Guinness) but they have tried to appease the occasional discerning drinker like us with a small selection of real ales and craft beers in bottles (from Shipyard, Badger, Brains, Meantime and Jennings). Not exactly the greatest beer selection in town but they have to get points for trying — it’s much better than we expected! Beer prices are high, but not extortionate (£4 for a bottle of ale).
The food selection is mostly breakfast items (although they’re not open for breakfast) and burgers. And what a burger selection they have: you can get just about anything you like on your burger (we had one with halloumi+bacon and one with black pudding and they were really good). On Tuesdays you get 50% off your burger which means you’re talking £4-£5 with all the trimmings!
As well as the pool, the sports and the food, there’s live music on Saturdays and there’s a reasonable cocktail menu if you’re into that sort of thing.
All in all we were pleasantly surprised by The Elbow Room. It’s definitely not a place we’ll visit on a search for good beer, but it has its niche and it fills it pretty much perfectly.