GigPig's Guide to Pre-Gig Boozers: Leeds
Like all great cities, Leeds is replete with seminal boozers, historic pubs and fresh faced bars choc full of indie craft efforts.
If you’re taking in a gig in this proud Northern powerhouse, you cannot go far wrong for pre-concert drinking options, with tons of choices spread around the city to take in before heading to your live venue of choice for the night…
The outstandingly named Nation of Shopkeepers is stacked with an equally outstanding selection of beers on draught and some choice food options so you’re not entering the pit with an empty stomach later. Their garden is also ace if the temperatures are right for some al fresco supping.
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen can likewise provide some quality ale, wine and cocktail options, as well as a stunning rooftop garden for when the rainclouds finally shift. Food wise, they’re on point too, with doughy decadence from Dough Boys and sublime smashed efforts from Pattys Burgers. Live DJ’s regularly keep the tunes spinning here too, with Mike Skinner turning up for a set at their recent 10th birthday bash.
And if roof terraces and live music options are your bag (and why wouldn’t they be, tbh?) then kick things into gear at Headrow House. Whether the gig you’re going to is here or not, you’ll want to take in a couple of hours over a few glasses of something tasty. The views from the roof are next level, while it’s far too easy to get settled indoors here as well and lose an entire afternoon or evening with a tableful of mates.
Obviously, it’s hard to go wrong at Mojo, as anyone who’s also ventured to their outposts in Manchester and Liverpool will attest. A venue designed with great music and great times in mind, you can cram around a table under a neon glow and get well and truly in the mood for a big night down at the barrier.
For the craft heads among you, North Bar is a sensational spot to take in a glass or three or some of the finest indie brewing in the country. North Brewing Company is, obviously, the choice here, with their line up of incredible in-house brews ready for you to work your way through. But don’t sleep on the other Indies they stock here, because some serious expertise has gone into delivering an array of the UK’s best and brightest breweries. Next level work.
The Shed Bar has been reliably serving up boozy sessions and rock ’n’ roll for 15 years now, so is as reliable a pre-gig haunt as they come. They promise ‘live music and late nights’ and deliver on both counts in droves. Again, whether you’re going to a gig here or elsewhere, you’ll still find yourselves being drawn back to this place time and time again.
Known as ‘The sanctuary of Call Lane since 2014’, Roland’s isn’t merely blowing hot air, it’s an establishment that can back up such big talk, especially given how it was ranked as one of the UK’s top 50 cocktail bars last year. But if you’re not in a mixology sort of mood, the draught, bottles and wine selections here are unreal. Plus, a slew of top local traders come through here to dish up some outrageously good plates and dishes if you’re in the market for a proper pre-gig scran.
And finally, we can’t get into pre-gig recommends without giving a very special mention to Wax Bar, which, let’s face it, should serve as your pre and post-concert destination of choice, with tons of aftershow parties and DJ sets going off here into the early hours. Think classic punk, garage rock, glam, new wave, indie and every weird and wonderful genre in between. Hallowed ground for sure.