In fact, ‘recommended’, is not credit enough. He typed up and emailed me a list of all the best bars within walking distance of Seel Street near our apartments (an excellent area full of great bars all within stumbling distance of each other). Seems a shame not to share it, so here it is, only slightly edited and added to by me.
I’ll start with a warning my friend gave me as the opening to the guide, because it made me laugh.
“I'd recommend staying clear of the Albert Dock - overpriced, no atmosphere and pretentious. Also, stay clear of concert square. Basically, you can't miss it - Walk-a-bout, Yates, etc. Head here for a fight with a pilled-up skin head, and access to a great selection of STD's.”
Ok, so on to the places worth visiting:
The Philharmonic - A cracking victorian pub that is quite simply stunning. It features an elaborate entrance and great selection of beers and ales on cask and keg. When I visited they had BrewDog’s Alice Porter and 5am Saint on cask as well as plenty of Cains beers. I decided it was a bit too early in the evening for a 6% Porter and opted for a 5am Saint. In great condition and excellently served, a perfect first beer.
Interesting fact #1: The men's toilets are famous for their original, ornate marble urinals, Women are permitted to visit as part of organised tours. The building is a Grade II* listed building. Don't believe me? Check Wikipedia
Fly in the Loaf – This is a great pub with a wide selection of world beers. Six different cask ales available at any time and always a well stocked beer fridge with excellent choices such as Brooklyn Black Chocolate stout and Orval to name but a few international favourites I’ve spotted.
Pogue Mahones – You guessed it, an Irish bar. But don’t be fooled, this one’s a little diamond in the rough. Worth stopping in to have a chat with some of the drunken Irish blokes - had some interesting conversations in here myself.
The Shipping Forecast – An excellent relatively new bar with a great selection of beers. Can highly recommend this one if you fancy somewhere a bit livelier. Keep an ear out for the actual "shipping forecast" playing in the gents loos.
Interesting fact #2: If it looks closed from the front then you may have to go in through the side entrance (a red neon arrow showing the way). They do this because it stops the riff raff from Slater Street/Concert Square from staggering in.
Santa Chupitos – Not really a place for a beer but deserves a mention as my favourite independent cocktail bar anywhere, wipes the floor with some of the tired cocktail holes in Leeds. The Cocktails are really unique and there’s an amazing atmosphere. The Cocktails are between £3-£8 but they are well worth it - truly unique and interesting with great quality ingredients such as freshly squeezed exotic fruits and high quality spirits. Follow them on Twitter.
Thomas Rigby's – A great pub with a cracking selection of beers and ales including decent keg such as Brooklyn Lager and Fruli on tap, and a wide selection of regularly changing cask beers. I’ve had Okells IPA and Rudgate Ruby Mild in here and they were both in tip-top condition, reminds me a little bit of The Grove in Leeds with its traditional multi-room layout.