No. 26 Aire Street is the bar at the front of the White Cloth Gallery, Leeds’s new photography & film gallery, but it stands alone as a drinking establishment in its own right.
The atmosphere is very relaxed — somewhere between a café and a bar — and there are several comfortable chairs and sofas as well as the usual tables and chairs. The exhibition space and the bar merge together in the middle and it’s perfectly fine to carry your beer as you look round the exhibition (which is open all the same hours as the bar). Even the music is pleasant: a good mix and not too loud. It’s hard for us to imagine a nicer atmosphere for a small indoor bar!
Currently the space is not the most popular bar in town, but they have a second bar set up for events or busy times. The staff are very friendly and excited about the beers on offer.
Speaking of which, for a small bar the selection is pretty good: 3 cask ales, all guests (Saltaire seems to be a favourite) and a good selection of both microbrews and mass-produced stuff. We were given a choice of two US microbrews and a BrewDog from the fridge. The prices are not the cheapest in town but not extortionate either. There’s coffee on offer too, which is always a bonus for daytime visits.
The food menu is mostly pizzas, salads and nibbles, with a little twist that the herbs, tomatoes and chillies are grown behind the bar!
There’s a free gallery membership advertised which gives you discounts at the bar and access to the free wifi.
We really liked this place: definitely one to check out if you’ve not found it yet!
Tags: coffee, food, free wifi, membership discount, sofas
A poorly designed bar area causing continual logjams of people coming and going. Stools strewn in the middle of the one place people can come and go. It doesn’t add up. Despite also being an art gallery there is a slight lack of atmosphere possibly due to the split functions.
Prices are nearly all towards the extortionate end- ie- paying £4.50 and above for a pint of ale because it’s brewed by self-appointed ‘craft ale’ brewers who still do the same pale ales as long standing breweries, for the same %, but have a more modern looking branding.
Another place that is primarily concerned with looking right and siphoning people’s dough rather than being a place to get attached to.
Also, not that there’s anything wrong with disabled access but the slightly unnecessary disabled lift (a ramp would easily be achievable) is in the middle of the entrance/bar area and makes things feel like a lobby rather than a bar. That’s a quibble, mind, the real problems are above.