Category Archives: Pub/Bar

North Brewing Co. Tap

After a break from blogging to focus on the launch of my new business venture, this week I return with a post about North Brewing’s latest addition to the rapidly growing family. Plus, a reminder as to how good some of their existing bars are too!

Rapidly Growing Family

It’s hard to believe that North Brewing celebrated their 2nd birthday just a few weeks ago. Such has been their rapid rise to prominence in the Leeds beer scene, it feels like they’ve been around much longer.

In fairness, although North Brewing is a relative youngster on the Leeds scene, the North family has been around much longer. Arguably Leeds’ leading craft beer bar, North Bar, first appeared  in 1997. Setting it’s stall out as a pioneer and continuing to so over 20 years later.

A busy soft open night

After years of focusing on North Bar, the family showed its first signs of growth after the millennium. This has quickly gathered pace in recent years. Along with North Bar itself, the Cross Keys remains one of my all-time favourite Leeds pubs. The North family now boasts eight pubs/bars and a fast-growing brewery.

Recently, I was invited along to the soft opening of the latest addition to that family, their Leeds City Centre-based North Brewing Tap Room.

Bright, New and Comfortable

The new venue is located south of Leeds City station, in amongst some of the city’s largest law firms and a new build area in Leeds.

The first impressions of the new bar is, it’s a great take on what you would now expect from a modern craft beer bar. A minimalist, straight forward design. The size of the venue is modest. However, a high ceiling, large windows and bright lighting give it an open, airy feel.

There are high stools and high tables placed in the centre of the room and some additional seating also by the windows. However, rather than the high school science class feeling you get from a lot of other bars with high stools and tables, these are bright, new and comfortable.

Light tubes and ductwork

Up in the ceiling, exposed duct work is visible, adding an industrial vibe. The lighting comes from groups of three lowered light tubes. Each group is angled slightly different and I thought it worked really well with the rest of the design of the bar, including the logo.

Although it’s not the season for sitting outside, there is a generous space reserved with outdoor seating. I suspect this will become one of Leeds’ most popular outdoor drinking spaces in the summer!

Because the size of the venue is quite modest, rest room facilities are at a bit of a premium, with two communal toilets and one disabled access toilet. There might be a queue on the busier evenings.

Snap!

Also, as you enter the bar, look up by the fridges to your left. See if you can spot the hidden door and winch that is used to lift deliveries to the upper floor. Or on this night, a fantastic vantage point for some promotional photos!

Plenty of North Brewing Beers

On to the beer! The bar and fridges are dominated by North Brewing products. The bar features an impressive 24 taps, with all except a few pouring North Brewing and guest beers. Alongside the beers, you can also grab draft wine and cocktails.

Should you find yourself here and not tried North Brewing beers before, then you can’t go wrong with the core beers. ‘Pinata’, ‘Transmission’ and one of my go-to beers ‘Sputnik’.

One important thing to mention is that this bar is cashless – i.e. card payments only. I believe this is the first of its kind in Leeds City Centre, but if not, it’s certainly an early pioneer of this (the pioneering approach of North Bar continues!).

Little Bao Boy in residence

It’s not all about the beers. The tap room actually opens from first thing in the morning for your coffee fix too. Coffee is provided by Dark Woods, based just down the road in Huddersfield.

If you find yourself needing some food, then Little Bao Boy have set up residence here. You may recall that they were on hand at my Festival of Brewers event in June this year. Super tasty and must-try!

This is a great new addition to an already crowded pub and bar scene in Leeds. It’s really testament to the city’s appetite for craft beer that places like this can open and immediately attract crowds. I believe that the North Brew Tap Room will be a great success; plugging a small beer gap in the local area with quality products in a great environment. Give it a go!

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Beer Tale of Greenwich

Regular readers of my articles may be feeling a sense of déjà vu reading the title of this post. A few years ago, I wrote an article about pubs in Greenwich for Leeds CAMRA’s New Full Measure branch magazine. Recently, I visited Greenwich again and thought I’d post an update on what’s happening in the beer scene here.

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A Dog on Deck

Despite my obvious interest in the beer industry, I only have limited experience working behind a bar. So far, I’ve poured pints at CAMRA beer festivals, my own Festival of Brewers and some other special events hosted by local breweries. So, when an opportunity to become a ‘Dog on Deck’ came up with Brewdog, I thought it was a good chance to really see the behind the scenes working of a busy City Centre bar.

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A Samuel Smith’s Session

In Leeds, the number of Samuel Smith pubs rivals that of JD Wetherspoon pubs in the area. However, whilst it feels like you are constantly stumbling across Wetherspoon pubs, the Samuel Smith ones aren’t so obvious. I’ve recently spent time visiting Samuel Smith pubs in and around Leeds City Centre and I wanted to share my thoughts on these unique places.

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Call Lane Crawl

Call Lane in Leeds is one of the City’s most well-known nightlife hot spots. And, whilst you might assume this means loud music and cheap mass-produced drinks, you don’t have to try too hard to find some great bars, serving great beers. A few weeks ago, with my Leeds CAMRA friends in tow, we visited four of Call Lane’s craft beer bars. This is the Call Lane Crawl for the beer lover!

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North Bar & Half Acre Beer Company

Celebrating 20 years, North Bar has been, and still is, one of Leeds’ pioneering craft beer bars. Surviving two decades of continuous change in the beer world, North Bar has come through it all. In keeping with its reputation, throughout February, North has been celebrating beers from across the Atlantic, the USA. I found myself in North Bar in late February, as they welcomed Half Acre Beer Company from Chicago.

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Grog in Guiseley

When you have a metropolitan area as large as Leeds’, it means there’s plenty of places to enjoy great beer. Joining my friends from Leeds CAMRA, I recently took a trip around Guiseley. It’s not an area of Leeds I’m overly familiar with, so it was a great opportunity to visit some new pubs and taste some new beer.

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Beer, GRUB and the Piccadilly Beer Mile

Ok, so maybe my article last week wasn’t my last Tryanuary related blog post. I promise this one is though! Earlier in January, I was kindly invited by Nomadic Beers to a beer festival hosted by GRUB Manchester. It was their inaugural beer festival and, as it turned out, an opportunity for me to also visit some of the Piccadilly Beer Mile venues.

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Birmingham Beer, Briefly

It’s almost the end of what has been a wonderful Tryanuary 2018. I’ve been to new places, drank new beer, and met new people. I think my Tryanuary has been a success! There was one more Tryanuary trip I wanted to write about before we close the month out. Recently, I took advantage of a brief visit to Birmingham, to see how the beer scene here is evolving. On my trip, I had time to check out three great places that suggest the scene is as vibrant here as anywhere else. Here’s The Wolf, The Indian Brewery Company and The Gunmakers Arms.

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A New Era for Camerons

Recently, I was invited to a ‘Winter Beer Launch’ event held at Head of Steam Leeds, and hosted by Camerons Brewery. Camerons have made some changes recently, most notably the appointment of a new head brewer, Chris Deakin. Whilst there, I had opportunity to not only meet Chris, but try some of the new beers that are starting to come out of production.

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