Whitelocks Beer Festival 2018 - credit Proud Fox Creative

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Top 10 Leeds’ Best Loved Beer Spots – They’re Not What You Think

14th June 2021

Leeds is a city renowned for beer, from arguably the nation’s oldest craft beer bar, North Bar, to a host of brewery tap rooms that bring aficionados flocking from far and wide. And that’s not forgetting Leeds International Beer Festival, where thousands of revellers come together to celebrate the beautiful combination of hops, yeast and malt.

But beer culture in Leeds isn’t all cutting edge brews and hipster hangouts, though we’re pretty damn good at those too. People all over Leeds are sipping real ales, local casks, refreshing kegs and pints of all sorts in some pretty astounding surroundings. The tradition of the Great British Pub runs strong in our city!

We took to TripAdvisor for a rundown of the top ten beer spots Leeds locals and visitors love. And there are a few surprises in there! Places worth a second look, or a special visit. So grab a few friends, and get out there.

Town Hall Tavern

If you’re dreaming up a recipe for pub success, Town Hall Tavern has the lot. You’ll find it right on the Headrow, opposite Leeds’ Civic Quarter, so there’s always a great mixed crowd of shoppers, workers, tourists and locals. The premises are nearly a century old, but they’ve kept things up to date with a sparkling array of beers and some of the best pub grub around. Don’t miss the scotch eggs!

Nation of Shopkeepers

Is it ‘Shopkeepers’? Is it ‘Nation’? The eternal debate rages amongst locals. But whatever you choose to call it, the bar on Cookridge Street offers a whole lot more than great beer and great food. You’ll find an eclectic lineup of live music, and all kinds of quirky art to create some talking points during those after work drinks.

Whitelock’s Ale House

Whitelock’s has a pretty enviable reputation – glowing reviews in the national press, a spot in all the guidebooks for its history and heritage, and one of the most attractive copper bars you’ll find anywhere in the world. It was founded in 1715, the oldest pub in the city, so they’ve been serving the drinkers of Leeds for quite a while.

Whitelocks, Leeds - credit Proud Fox Creative

(Whitelocks, Leeds – credit Proud Fox Creative)

The Scarborough Hotel

Everyone needs a good ‘station pub’ and the Scarborough Taps is a great pick. You can hop off the train, pop round the corner and be sipping a traditional cask brew in this iconic Victorian hangout in under a minute. As long as you beat the queues of course – don’t choose a match day to try. Oh, and they also do an absolutely cracking pie.

 

The Head of Steam

The Head of Steam really knows how to cater for pub goers, they’ve been doing it for nearly three decades after all. The Park Row branch offers some classic pub decor, a food menu you could spend weeks exploring, and of course a bar stocked with all the taps, kegs, casks and cocktails you need.

 

The White Swan

If you’re after a diverse, interesting crowd then The White Swan is a good bet. The Victorian venue adjoins the City Varieties, Leeds’ oldest working theatre (and a Grade II* listed building itself), so you’ll find pre- and post-show drinkers, actors, stage crew and curious visitors mixing with a pint of something cool and locally brewed.

The White Swan

(The White Swan)

West Riding

‘Our local’ is how West Riding bills itself. And we can’t disagree. It’s a friends and family type venue, whether or not you’re with your own. Always a conversation to be had, and a drink to share with acquaintances old and new. You’ll find West Riding at the east end of Wellington Street, so it’s always worth a stop if you’re off on the train.

 

Tapped Brew Co

Leeds does traditional pubs, but it also does the more… non-traditional. Tapped is an American-style brew pub with copper brewing vessels right there in the bar, plus 13 cask lines and 14 keg lines. It’s become a Boar Lane must-see, with visitors and locals alike nipping in for a half of something special and an artisan pizza from their wood fired kitchen.

Tapped Leeds

(Tapped Leeds)

The Brewery Tap.

It’s hard to miss the Brewery Tap. It sits on New Station Street, right next to Leeds Station, with a bottle green facade and an expanse of glass that lets the light in. It’s the original home of Leeds Brewery’s iconic Leodis beer, a big hit in the city and beyond, and part of the same group as The White Swan, so you can be sure of good food and good company too.

 

The Ship Inn

The winding alleys off Leeds’ famous shopping street, Briggate, are home to all sorts of hidden treasures. The Ship Inn is one of the best, offering all the traditional fayre you could ask for. Cask brews, cheerful staff, proper sandwiches and, most importantly, an escape from the excitement of the city happening right outside.

Where next?

If Tripadvisor’s most popular pubs has got you in the mood for a little more exploring, there are plenty of other venues to find great beer, and great food too. Belgrave Music Hall, just a few minutes from the first direct arena, has one of the most spectacular roof terraces around, plus the best pizza by the slice you’ll find this side of Naples. Then there’s the North Brewing Co. Tap, a city centre outpost of one of the city’s renowned breweries. Head down for the some of their limited edition brews, and delicious bao buns from street food genius Little Bao Boy. After a few more recommendations? We’ve got those too.