One of my Christmas presents for Sean last year was a trip to Leeds to see Alice Cooper. Neither of us had ever been to Leeds (or new of anything at all to do there) – so we looked up a couple of restaurants and places to visit and set off for our random weekend in early November.
After some research of hotels in Leeds, we booked into the Dakota Deluxe which was right in the centre of the city. The hotel was stunning and the decor was beautiful – it seemed pretty dark as everything was grey, but I loved it. It also had two very nice bars, the ground floor bar which made unbelievable cocktails (and an amazing Bourbon Hot Chocolate) and the upstairs bar was a lot bigger and had a garden terrace – the staff were a lot friendlier in the downstairs bar though. The hotel room was a little dark but super spacious and a seriously comfortable bed – the shower was possibly my highlight – could have stayed in there for the full weekend.
Expensive but well worth it!
This was an interesting place. It was right beside our hotel and was recommended by the receptionist upon check in. We decided to head across here on Saturday afternoon after we finished shopping and it was a weird experience. People were falling around the place drunk at 4pm and most people were there for beers instead of the cocktails this bar clearly specializes in. We decided to only have one here and then head out for the night. However on Sunday we returned for a few drinks while it was much quieter and it was like a whole new bar – we got a lot of unreal cocktails and got to see others being made. Would recommend here on a quiet day so you can actually experience the random cocktails being made by the highly skilled barmen. The Smoked Old Fashioned is the best I’ve ever had, while Sean loved the Penicillin cocktail!
I liked here a lot more than Sean did. It was on the 6th floor with some views out around the city. It was fully booked and seems like a very hipster (and somewhat pretentious) spot, but we managed to get a few seats at a counter and stayed for a couple of drinks. I got the Pear 1738 which had cognac and pear brandy and was amazing! We left after the door onto the terrace kept being opened and started to get annoying as it was a cold day!
This was located beside our hotel and we stopped in on Sunday afternoon after we got some lunch in Neon Cactus. It was quite enough on Sunday (the night before had a queue down the street), so we could get a booth in front of the main bar. They had a special deal on Sunday’s where selected cocktails were £5.95, so I got a Pornstar Martini and Sean got a mojito. The cocktails were pretty good, and would happily go back again!
On our way back from the Armouries we spotted this little Mexican place where we decided to get some lunch. It was empty (looks like more of a night kinda place), but we went in anyway as we didn’t want to walk much further. We got a couple of margarita’s which were very nice, especially the passionfruit one. For food, I got mushroom tacos and Sean got a burrito – both were really good. It was a little expensive here, which was surprising but the cocktails were great and the food was nice!
On Saturday the Irish took on the Springboks so of course we had to find somewhere to watch the game. I did a quick Google search and this came up as one of the best Sports bars in Leeds so away we went. We reserved a table and got a seat right in front of the big screen to watch the game. While here we got some pies, I’m a bit weird about meat from non-restaurants so I went for the mushroom option which in fairness was decent. It was a nice place to watch the game, have a bit of food and get pretty drunk.
We went in here for brunch on the Saturday and it was fine. I got poached eggs with avocado on toast – the eggs were pretty hard done and the toast was burnt. I did get a cocktail and that was weak so I wasn’t very impressed. It was a handy place to visit as it was centrally located and the building it is in looks good!
Things to do
On Sunday morning we took a stroll through The Calls area of the city which led us down across the canal, where we could continue to walk along until we reached the museum. It was free to visit and had 5 fascinating floors to discover. We spent about an hour here and finished off our visit by checking out a live demonstration out on the dock, which was quite loud.
Walk through the city
On Saturday morning we decided to check out the city centre and walked from our hotel towards the Corn Exchange. This is a beautiful building that reminded me over the Powerscourt Centre in Dublin, it was lovely to walk around and check out some of the little shops that were based there. Afterwards we walked toward Kirkgate Market and I wasn’t really sure what to expect here, but it was a massive indoor market with lots of stalls! Some of them were really interested (I wasn’t happy with the pet shop that had two kittens in a very small glass cage). One of the nicest places that we visited in Leeds was the Yorkshire Soap Company which made stunning soap cakes and decorative bath bombs – I loved it in here, and we did stock up on bath bombs before we left!
The Christmas Market
Before we went to the gig, we took a walk through the Christmas Markets where we got some mulled wine – we stayed for about 20 or 30 minutes as it was quite busy and there wasn’t really much to do.
And thats pretty much is – Leeds is great for drinking!