Don’t be fooled by how far north Leeds is: it’s a vibrant student city that’s growing in popularity each year. It’s got a selection of universities (one of these being in the coveted Russel Group) home to thousands of students, vibrant nightlife, and of course, hundreds of different pubs, bars, and clubs to cater for the multifarious drinking preferences of today’s student youth. However, you don’t want to be the group of students sitting on their phones and resorting to a Google search for “Wetherspoons nearby”, do you? Because that isn’t conducive to an optimally enjoyable night out.
So instead of putting a very hard ceiling on your evening by resorting to your local bog-standard Wetherspoons, this list contains several of the best bars that are ideal for students to peruse with increasingly drunken enthusiasm as your night progresses. You may find a Wetherspoons lurking within, but with the caveat that this page aims to be inclusive of not only the need for student enjoyment but also the average budget of a student when the last remnants of your loans and grants are beginning to look a lot like an acute financial crisis rather than spare spending money.
The Dry Dock
Time and time again, The Dry Dock continues to top both online lists and real-life conversations when it comes to the best places for students to drink in Leeds. This level of popularity is at least in part because this bar is itself a real boat that’s been stranded on land (albeit purposely).
There is a lot to cover when it comes to The Dry Dock. Its
appeal stems from a variety of factors in addition to the fact that it is a
beached water-faring vessel, including the massive outside terrace area
(allegedly the largest in the city), its reasonably priced drinks, and the
selection of food served. The rumours of 25-pence wings are true, with insane
offers constantly ebbing in and out of the ocean of offers you’ll virtually
drown in if you visit this place regularly.
Located conveniently between University of Leeds and the city centre, this one is a must for students.
Address/Website: Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, LS2 3AX / https://www.pubswithmore.co.uk/thedrydockleeds
If The Dry Dock has whet your whistle for quirkily-designed and unusual bars, then you would do well to try and discover The Maven. For those looking for a comparator, there are many speakeasies around the country (Hyde & Co in Bristol, for example), but what he have here is a speakeasy that makes you work to even get in the doors.
Of course you’re not going to find the cheapest drinks and/or cocktails in town here. The Maven is more of a novelty visit to be enjoyed perhaps once or twice a month. This place is open Thursday through Sunday, but it is recommended that you book in order to avoid abject disappointment when (or if) you manage to arrive. This bar is situated on Call Street, though the precise location is somewhat of a secret to increase the mystery. You can book a spot by visiting the slickly-designed website detailed below, or chance it with a walk-in if you’re feeling risky.
Address / Website: 1 Call Ln, Leeds, LS1 7DH / https://www.themavenbar.com/
Be at One
Yes, here we have another cocktail bar in our midst. This one had to be included, however, given its ingenious concept and pleasant, borderline hippy-tinged name. Situated on Boar Street (just around the corner from Millennium Square). Elevating this bar to list-worthy status, however, is that it is one of the few (if the only) bar of its type to have its own app. Download the app and you get to choose your own happy hour, which begins at a time of your choosing, and initiates countdown once it’s set off after your arrival. Cocktails for £5? You’d better believe that’s one of the reasons this bar is on the list.
You’ll find Be at One in two locations. One is further
outside of the central city area, however the iteration located on Boar Street
is conveniently situated. A must-see for all students looking for a nice
cocktail bar that won’t break the bank.
Location / Website: 19 Boar Ln, Leeds LS1 6EA / https://www.beatone.co.uk/cocktail-bar/leeds-boar-lane
Hyde Park Pub
To balance out some of the admittedly pricier cocktail bars mentioned in this list, we have the simple and bastion of diffidence that is Hyde Park Pub. You won’t find flashy surroundings for alarmingly expensive drinks menus here. You’ve got the usual selection of cheap lagers to contend with if you want to save your cash, or you could choose to go for the locally-brewed Blonde Hyde Park beer, which would still (maybe) give you change from a tenner if you’re buying a (small) round.
This place sucks in student crowds for a reason. It’s got reasonable prices, is situated bang in the middle of the Hyde Park area, and has some reasonably priced food that’s also of reasonable quality. You’ll even find sporting events on display here, making it quite the complete package if you’re a student looking for a solid pub in Leeds.
Address / Website: 2 Headingley Ln, Headingley, Leeds LS6 2AS / https://www.craft-pubs.co.uk/hydeparkleeds
This is a chain with branches all around the country (including some Florist branches that are equally as impressive). However, it’s a chain with a difference. You’ll find extremely lively décor here and the cocktails are at the very minimum elaborate concoctions utilising various peripheral equipment from smoked wood chips to glass domes and beyond. Other features of this establishment include a fantastic terrace bar with amazing views of the city and a convenient city-centre location.
One of the stand-out aspects of this chain, however, is the quality of the food on offer. It goes far, far beyond your average pub grub, and that’s putting it lightly. This place isn’t the cheapest, but it’s a must-see for Leeds students.
Address / Website: Yorkshire House, Greek St, Leeds LS1 5SH / https://thealchemist.uk.com/venues/leeds-greek-street/