The Hop is the heart and soul of Granary Wharf. Occupying two of the famous Dark Arches and a big beer garden, it’s hard to miss – especially on sunny days when it gets really busy.
The space inside is really large, with two comfortable seating areas on the ground floor and another big area on the mezzanine. There’s also lots of room for standing or dancing near the bar. The theme is indie music and this is reflected not just in the excellent soundtrack but also in the décor, which complements the exposed brickwork perfectly. There is live music from local bands every Friday and Saturday, and they play on the mezzanine looking down to the bar below, which is unusual but gives everyone a great view. The beer garden opens out onto the canal basin, which is very peaceful even on busy days.
There are up to 11 cask ales on at any time, half from owners Ossett Brewery and a load of guests. There are a couple of interesting keg beers too (including Ossett’s Treacle Stout) and in the fridge there are a number of Belgian beers, Brooklyn, Sierra Nevada and Budvar. The prices for ale are very good indeed: even the guests are normally under £3. This is probably one of the best reliable no-nonsense selections we’ve seen anywhere.
The Hop is not only famous for its music, it’s also home to “The π Hole”: the most straightforward kitchen ever. Choose a pie, add sides and collect it from the hatch, served in a handy takeaway container with a wooden fork. You can get a pie + mash + beans + gravy + a pint of Ossett ale for £5, which is pretty unbeatable anywhere in the city centre. And they’re good pies too, from local pie man Andrew Jones.
Being a large space with cheap, good beer and pies and great music, there’s not much to say against The Hop. Because it’s the only real ale pub in the immediate vicinity, it does attract a lot of suited types on early evenings and obviously it can get quite crowded and very loud when there’s live music on (although you can always sit outside if the weather’s nice) but these are very minor things. We really love it here, and if we lived on this side of the river I’m certain we’d be in here a lot.
Rich’s note: I have an extra soft spot for The Hop. It was here, 3 years ago, with a pie and a pint, that I decided I definitely wanted to move to Leeds. I’ve not regretted that decision for one second!