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Explore the Best Pubs in Leeds

An essential to exploring any area: knowing where the best pubs are.

Whether you’re looking to sample some quality ales, catch up with friends and set the world to rights over a glass of wine or let your hair down and have a night on the town, Leeds is the place to be. From classic British boozers to trendy bars, the city has a mix of places to have a drink and socialise that’s as eclectic as the people who live there.

If you’re hoping to find somewhere to settle into a comfy chair by a crackling fire and enjoy a pint, sample a selection of contemporary gins, or tuck into a homemade roast dinner, this is the guide for you. Let’s raise a glass to the best pubs in Leeds and help you find a spot that sounds right up your street.

The Lamb and Flag

Offering great views of Leeds Minster, The Lamb and Flag may look unassuming on the outside, but it’s gone through restorations that mean it combines 19th-century charm with sleek and modern aesthetics.

The inside is warm and inviting, with exposed brickwork walls adorned with quirky artwork. There’s a great selection of drinks, with a particular focus on beers and ales, which can be enjoyed beneath the wooden beams across the ceiling, or in the fantastic outside area. There’s also a spot where local musicians regularly play live music.

If you fancy a bite to eat, there's a lunch menu, evening menu and Sunday menu, serving up pub classics made with fresh and local ingredients.

Whitelocks Ale House

Hidden down a narrow alleyway in the centre of the city, Whitelocks Ale House is an iconic boozer loved by locals. It may have gone through a modern restoration, but it still retains a lot of its history, which it’s proud of due to it being the oldest pub in Leeds. When it opened, it was named The Turk’s Head, which is why the yard where you’ll find it is still called Turk’s Head Yard.

Offering ales, craft beers and ciders, it also serves guest drinks which you can enjoy inside or out in the courtyard. It has a great atmosphere with cheerful staff that are happy to help.

When the hunger pangs start, there’s plenty to choose from to suit all tastes. There are small plates, snacks, big plates and sharing boards. They also offer a prix fixe pre-theatre set menu so you can enjoy a delicious home-cooked meal before sitting down for a show in the nearby theatre.

The White Swan

The White Swan is right next door to the City Varieties Music Hall, which makes it perfect for enjoying a pre–show meal and a couple of drinks to sink into the mood. The outside looks modern, but the inside has a sort of chic look, which gives it that homely feel.

It has a selection of beers, wines and spirits, as well as a cocktail menu featuring new twists on old classics, like the marzipan old fashioned. Because it’s so close to the music hall, expect it to be rather busy before and after a show starts, but it has a buzzing atmosphere that can’t be beaten.

As for its food, there are good old pub classics, and roast dinners that are to die for. It’s a great spot to spend hours with your favourite people.

Angel Inn

If you’re looking for more of a hidden gem, the Angel Inn is a city centre pub that, if you don’t know it’s there, you never will. Located down a narrow alley, it’s packed with charm and has a real olde-worlde feel about it, including vaulted brick ceilings. You can enjoy a drink from the wide selection among the old-fashioned decor inside, or sit outside in the surprisingly large courtyard. They have a policy that means you can’t sit on your laptop or phone, which helps build a happy and welcoming atmosphere.

Angel Inn doesn’t have a huge food menu, but the pub classics it does serve are full of homecooked deliciousness. It’s definitely a pub you need to check out.

Pack Horse

Another pub hidden down a narrow alley, Pack Horse is found on Packhorse Yard which is off Briggate – and isn’t to be confused with The Packhorse, which is about 10 minutes north of the city centre.

Pack Horse is more than 400 years old and one of the oldest pubs in the city. It has a relaxed atmosphere but knows how to have fun, offering karaoke, quizzes and other special events. They also know a thing or two about decorating, going all out during the festive season and Halloween.

Whether you’re looking for food or drink, there’s a great choice, which you can enjoy inside (which is surprisingly roomy considering how old it is) or in the outdoor seating area.

The Moot Hall Arms

The Moot Hall Arms is the place to be if you’re a football fan. Well, specifically if you’re a Leeds United fan – if you’re in town to watch your team play against the Whites, then you might prefer to give it a wide berth.

The walls are adorned with LUFC memorabilia, so sports fans will get a kick out of spotting signed shirts and team photos from years gone by. And naturally, there are TVs that show live sports so you can get riled up while enjoying a drink. There’s also regular live music if that’s more your thing – and it’s dog friendly, so bring your best pal along and make friends with the locals.

Duck & Drake

If you’re into live music, then Duck & Drake should be your first port of call in Leeds. It’s home to live acts throughout the week and has established a reputation as being the place to play for up-and-coming rock acts. They’re also famous for serving up delicious pie and peas, meaning not only does it embrace its musical connections, but its roots as a traditional Victorian pub.

And, of course, it has a wonderful selection of drinks, including cask ales. Yes please.

Crowd of Favours

The appropriately named Crowd of Flavours prides itself on offering a huge selection of food and drink, as well as flavours for the ears in the form of live music and open mic nights. With dimmed lights, it sets a cosy atmosphere and offers space you can hire for private events.

The food options aren’t huge, but they are delicious, with crowd-pleasers like steak and chips, as well as food with modern flavour like schnitzel sando and curry wurst-loaded fries.

They also put on events celebrating gins, cask ales and wines, and have a weekly pub quiz if you fancy testing your knowledge.

Town Hall Tavern

Described as a village pub in the city, the Town Hall Tavern really does have that relaxed countryside boozer atmosphere if you prefer to enjoy your drinks outside of the hustle and bustle.

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a better selection of cask ales along with ciders, wines and cocktails. There’s also regular live music and it’s dog-friendly.

But the most exciting thing about Town Hall Tavern is the food, serving up gastropub delights and incredible roasts. A particular favourite is the scotch egg served with black pudding, bacon and apple puree. Dreamy.

The Bower’s Tap

Right around the corner from the Corn Exchange, The Bower’s Tap is a brilliant spot to unwind after a busy day shopping. There are two floors of space which fills it with a fun and friendly atmosphere during the day, then turns up the volume in the evening with a DJ at weekends. There are also two huge screens so you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere during live sporting events.

When it comes to drinks, we’d be here all day if we ran through the menu, but it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone. As for the food, well – if the wings, stone-baked pizza and towering burgers can’t tempt you, maybe the bottomless brunch will.

The Scarborough Hotel

The Scarborough Hotel is not only one of the best pubs in Leeds city centre, but the best in the city overall – officially confirmed by TripAdvisor. More than 250 years old, it prides itself on offering British classics, from its drinks menu through to its food.

With events, live sports, incredible food and ice cold drinks, it’s easy to see why it’s considered to be the best by many. You can even place your order on the app so drinks come straight to your table, perfect for those busy nights (of which there are many thanks to its stellar reputation).

It may have originated as a medieval manor, but it now has traditional pub aesthetics but with modern standards. It’s also just a short walk from the train station, making it the perfect spot to relax after a long day.

The Griffin

The Griffin is an old-fashioned pub with modern touches slap bang in between the train station and the Trinity shopping centre. So, it’s perfect for catching your breath during a shopping spree or a cheeky pint before catching your train home.

It keeps things different with regular event nights, including student night, 70s discos, quizzes and more. Or, you can simply relax in a comfy chair and choose from the huge menu of drinks or enjoy a bite to eat. The food menu is absolutely packed with sharing platters, juicy burgers, pub classics and light bites.

On match day you’ll be welcomed by a buzzing atmosphere, but you might have to wait a while at the busy bar. But that’s just the sign that The Griffin is a great place to hang out.

Living with UNCLE in Leeds

However you enjoy spending time with a pint or G&T, you’re spoilt for choice in Leeds. The above are just some of the best pubs in Leeds, with many more we didn’t have room to include.

Learn more about Living with UNCLE in Leeds and find out just what this incredible city has to offer.

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