The Maven is a speakeasy at the top of Call Lane, and in true speakeasy-fashion you definitely have to be looking for it to find it. In fact, their website proclaims, “Don’t look for a sign, there isn’t one. If you can’t find us call us and one of the friendly bartenders will give you directions.”
Their bartenders are most certainly very friendly. While perusing the bar selection I enquired if they had any grapefruit juice and the bartender told me they did have grapefruits and he would happily squeeze them for me. So I had the most delightful fresh vodka and grapefruit juice (a “greyhound” as we say in the States).
Ah, but why was I drinking a greyhound you ask? Well, the beer selection definitely leaves a lot to be desired by the likes of us. It’s bottles only: just Moretti, Tsingtao, Sol and Peroni. It’s fair enough, as they’re first and foremost a cocktail bar and there are plenty of nice looking ones, including their famous teapot cocktails.
The Maven definitely has some atmosphere going for it. It’s dark and often quiet; a lovely place to snuggle in a corner with someone or just enjoy some relaxed conversation. Their décor is filled with lots of paintings of human/animal hybrids, as well as some taxidermy on the walls. It’s also open until at least 2am every night, a perk that is not always easy to find in Leeds.
Our verdict: the Maven won’t score particularly well on this beer blog, but it’s a place we like a lot nonetheless and we’ll probably be back with some frequency. Just make mine a greyhound, please.