11 April 2016

North Bar, Leeds

My previous visit to North Bar, Leeds, was in December 2012 when the bar was decorated for Christmas.
North Bar - December 2012
Some more photos of the bar were included in my Huddersfield, Batley and Leeds blog post under the heading 'Sunday (3)'.
North Bar - March 2016
On the evening of Monday 21 March 2016 my plan was to revisit North Bar and continue on to Oporto Bar for some Gaslight Club live music. However, there was such a good atmosphere and so many good beers to choose from that I stayed in North Bar until closing time!
I found a table near the back next to the 'beer wall' which has the names of beers served at the bar over the years.
Among original artwork at the back of the bar is a painting of Belgian cyclist - Eddy Merckx.
My first beer was Comfortably Numb, a cask golden pale ale brewed by Bad Co of Dishforth, Leeds which cost £1.65 for a half pint.  
My next beer was Prototype, a 3.8% ABV cask session pale ale that is a permanent house beer at North Bar, brewed by North Brewing Co. 'just 900 metres up the road'. A good feature of the North Bar is that there are water glasses next to a tall jug of iced water with sliced fresh lemon on the bar for customers to help themselves from.
My clear view of the bar made up for the lack of company. Behind the bar, hanging on hooks, is an impressive display of personal beer mugs.
Further away, the neon sign behind the bar declares We Beer. When my glass was empty and I was thinking what to order next, James the bar manager kindly offered to fetch a beer for me but I wanted to go up to the bar to do this myself.

This was when I discovered that the We Beer logo also appears on some North Bar glasses. The half pint keg Beavertown Bloody 'Ell in the photo turned out to be one of a select few beers which I have scored over 4 points on Untappd.
With beer and service this good I decided to stay in North Bar but opportunely moved a bit closer to the entrance when a group found a table near my first table towards the back and proceeded to cheer each other while drinking some shots!
While ordering my next beer I persuaded James and Bridie to pose with a copy of Ullage and introduced myself as the West Berkshire CAMRA magazine editor. James explained to me that there are other North bars, including Harrogate and Otley, in the North Bar 'family', apart from this one at 24 New Briggate, Leeds. 
I'm sure it's good for customers to see staff who obviously enjoy their work and take pride in it.
The keg Magic Rock Cannonball (7.4% ABV) India Pale Ale, brewed in Huddersfield, was another rare beer for me to rate over 4 on Untappd, confirming my opinion of North Bar as a top bar.
As the evening wore on the bar became busier and some band members dropped in carrying instruments in cases. 
When I took my empty glass back to the bar with the intention of leaving, James was telling a customer about the merits of Swannay Brewery (Orkney Islands) Banyan. I decided to have a third of a pint of Banyan, a keg pale ale hopped with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe and ended up chatting at the bar with Mick, the customer who had just ordered a pint. I was happy to find a third beer to rate at 4+ on Untappd.
Mick mentioned that ShuffleDog, a BrewDog bar with shuffleboard tables and pinball machines in the basement was quite near and so I resolved to visit ShuffleDog the next day.
It wasn't long before James was ringing the bell for last orders and then for closing time.
Good night to my favourite bar in Leeds! 
Don't miss North Bar when you visit Leeds. Please pass on my regards to James, Bridie and Mick.
On the map of bars and pubs visited on this visit, North Bar is shown in dark red and ShuffleDog is shown in purple. An interactive map which displays photos when markers are clicked can be accessed with this Google Maps link.

North Bar, 24 New Briggate, Leeds LS1 6NU

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