Rare has just recently appeared on Lower Briggate and is a slightly out-of-character upmarket eatery and bar.
Rare’s special thing is rare everything: the meats are rare (it’s probably the only place in Leeds you’re going to be able to eat horse), the cocktails are rare (Peanut Butter Jelly Time, anyone?) and the wines and spirits are rare.
Unusually, this rareness extends even to the beers, and almost everything on the small beer menu (apart from a welcome sighting of Ilkley Pale on cask) was unheard of elsewhere in the quest. There’s several Scottish beers and even a Swedish lager, although most of them are not spectacularly interesting despite the rareness (we didn’t try the honey or elderflower beers, which may have changed our minds…).
Beware, beers are served by the schooner (⅔ pt) at pint prices. We did get free haggis with our beer, though, which counts for something!
Every Wednesday there is a special event with 4 courses made from the same animal paired with 4 drinks made from the same alcohol. We may have to try this sometime, especially if they do it with beer.
The expectation here is definitely that people will eat (and the food is excellent), but you’d feel perfectly welcome just popping in for a drink, especially if you sit at the bar. The staff are really friendly and the atmosphere is modern and clean but also comfortable. There’s also a beer garden in the mysterious Lamberts Yard out the back, and there’s a full restaurant area downstairs featuring a large taxidermy cow. Yeah. It’s also open till 3am which is unusual for a foody place, so I can imagine it gets a bit more bar-like later in the evening.
We’ll definitely be back to Rare for food, and it’s an extremely welcome addition to this part of town. Not so sure about the beer selection, though, especially at those prices.