It says something about how often your Questers are in the Park Row area that The Decanter had been open over a month before we even noticed it.
The Decanter advertises itself as a wine bar, and has wine-related artwork everywhere as well as a ground-level wine cellar at the back. The atmosphere is pretty generic “classy living room” with exposed brick at the front and bizarre fake wood panelling at the back. It’s pleasant enough but nothing special. The place is very small and we can imagine when the Park Row crowd sweep in on a Friday night it’s going to get pretty crowded and sweaty.
We expected the beer selection to be absolutely dreadful and we were pleasantly surprised. Brooklyn is the only decent beer on tap, but there are a few good bottles in the fridge: 2 from Saltaire and 2 from Ilkley, Camden Hells, Punk IPA, Goose Island, Flying Dog and Black Sheep. Beer was served way too cold (at white wine temperature) and the lack of good beers on tap keeps this bar firmly in 3-star territory. Still, it’s nice to have one bar in this area with more than shit eurolagers on offer.
When we visited the staff were really stressed about something — I think we accidentally pre-empted someone else’s review. So it’s hard to know if the staff are normally friendly but they seemed like they would be. We also enquired about food and apparently they’re going to offer bread-and-cheese boards and sandwiches in the near future.
We left The Decanter wondering what its niche is. Bars like this are ten-a-penny in Leeds but it might do well by virtue of it being the only non-chain in this part of town. Good luck to it, but it’s not going to be a regular haunt of ours.
I personally love The Decanter, it has such a great atmosphere and the staff have always been really friendly whenever I’ve been. I think you’re missing the point that The Decanter is a wine bar. It’s niche is selling amazing wines that you can’t find in any other bar in Leeds, they don’t sell your typical plonk. The wine list, which you haven’t seemed to mention, has a vast and well selected array of fine wines which are really affordable! The decor is really classy and the music is really good! (As are the cocktails!) You review ‘watering holes’ which I generally agree with your reviews, maybe you should stick to what you know, which isn’t wine bars. I’d recommend anyone to check it out for themselves, totally do not agree with this one guys.
Our quest is to review everywhere selling beer in Leeds city centre and to review them for their beer selection and their services for beer drinkers, who are our main readers. Anywhere that serves beer will get reviewed for the Quest.
We didn’t dislike The Decanter, but you’re right that it’s aimed at wine drinkers rather than beer drinkers and I hope our review gets that across.
I also love The Decanter and agree with Sarah that you guys have missed the point that an independant has stepped up against the big boys on Park Row. The place always has an amazing atmosphere, a great wine selection and has a good choice of beers to say they are a wine bar. The staff are always polite and helpful and I love making this a regular of mine on a night out.
Shame on you Leedsbeerquest for missing the point that this is a bar with a niche- it serves a great selection of wines not available elsewhere to the mature adults of Leeds.
Keep up the great work Decanter!
Hi Dave (or is it Alex?)
Without getting too much into how we think it’s uncool for bar management to post comments pretending to be customers and then use the phrase “shame on you”, I’d like to invite you to re-read our review.
We quite liked The Decanter and wished it good luck. It’s not for us, and if you read the rest of our site you’ll see most other similar bars received lower star ratings than The Decanter did.
One of our regular readers has already said she’ll be visiting The Decanter on the strength of our review, although I daresay comments like the one above being critical of our blog and its style will help to put people off.
So it took over a month from this new place opening to being noticed and reviewed here. The review might omit some fairly fundamental information and suggest that the reviewer visited with mild prejudice as to the experience to expect in such a place but overall the review doesn’t seem unfairly critical. I notice however that The Ship only got reviewed here in March this year (established 1755) and Whitelock’s (established 1715) hasn’t been reviewed yet. At least The Decanter didnt have to wait so long for a mention.
Our mission is to review everywhere selling beer in Leeds city centre. We’ve done over 140 and there are still about 40 left to do. Had we got started in 1715 we might have been done by now!
The whole point of this blog to review pubs/bars that sell beer. Some places will do that better than others. Getting upset that a reviewer decided the place wasn’t for them due to the lack of beer selection is a bit odd.
I haven’t visited this place yet but I will be giving it a go. It’s a shame to see such a reaction from some people in respect of Rich’ review.
He is entitled to his own opinion and his review is based on the beer side of things as per the focus of this website.
The review seems more than fair to me and will not put me off visiting, although the reaction by some people may actually put others off.
Agree with most others here. I feel you have done a disjustice to what it means to be a critic and a writer people look to for advice and expertise, as someone else said – stick to what you know. You know beer, so stick to establishments that specialise in beer – not wine.
You mention you have written about 140 places and still have 40 to go. Not sure where you get your ‘Leeds Facts’ from, but I can tell you for a fact there’s more than 200 places which sell beer in Leeds. This is the equivalent of you rating an Italian Restaurant for its ability to pour a pint, in fact i’m pretty sure that would be more relevant then a BAR WHICH SPECIALISES IN WINE and for starters there are more than likely at least 100 italian restaurants dotted around the Leeds district.
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the word ‘Decanter’ is associated specifically to wine. As a fellow writer I can tell you it is your job to educate your readers for the correct reasons and you have absolutely 100% failed to do that here. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion, but this is an instance where you must keep that to your social mediums, not as an expert who is trying to dissuade people from visiting a bar which has absolutely nothing to do with focusing on prime beers.
Please take a moment to read our about page.
We are far from “experts” – we are two people on a Quest to visit every single place in Leeds City Centre that sells beer to casual drinkers. Since The Decanter fell within the city centre boundaries and sells beer to casual drinkers, it is well within the remit of our Quest.
Regardless of our motivation for this Quest, which we do for fun – ours and our readers’ – not profit, we actually quite liked The Decanter. It is currently ranked above 41 other bars on the blog. I’m not sure where all these commenters got the idea that we gave The Decanter a scathing review!
It’s certainly not cool that The Decanter’s owner came on here posing as a customer to post a comment, but that happened after we wrote our review, which still portrays The Decanter in the positive light we first experienced when we visited it to review it.