The oddly named …escobar is actually two venues in one. Downstairs is a live music venue featuring local indie bands; upstairs is a Mexican cantina (which does have a small bar area, but is mainly a table-service-sit-down-meal sort of place, so it doesn’t really fit our review criteria). The downstairs is what we’re reviewing here.
The first thing you’ll notice is that …escobar is dark. It’s so dark we didn’t even realize it was open until we heard soundchecking coming from the stage area. It’s also got a very characteristic “indie music venue” feel… which means extremely worn-down furniture and horrid super-vandalized toilets. But this is the atmosphere they’re going for, and it works pretty well.
The beer selection is nothing special, but not bad either. They have Leeds Pale on draught and Brooklyn, Leffe, Vedett in the fridge along with your usual junk. There’s a bar snacks menu which offers dishes from the excellent restaurant upstairs during its opening hours. If you’re a student or an employee of the NHS or the Council there’s a whopping 30% discount available for you off the already reasonably priced selection.
In between bands there’s a varied and enjoyable soundtrack and I could imagine sticking around here for a while just to take in the music, which is obviously very important to the staff (although I’m not sure what I thought of a reggae cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water…)
If you don’t mind dark and worn-down places with grim toilets and you want to go somewhere cheap with a good soundtrack and some new local talent, …escobar is your place, especially if you stop for a meal upstairs first.