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Bar Review The Belgrave, Leeds review

Ali Schofield tries an undead cocktail at Leeds' newest bar

Bar Review: The Belgrave, Leeds review

Where were you when it was announced Leeds Cue Club was due to close? I know, you were devastated, right? I’ll be honest, I work nearby and was a fully paid up member of the northern quarter’s dingy snooker bar (it was £1 entry or £1 for a membership card) but I was pleased to hear a few months ago that it was to become a new cocktail bar. And when my editor asked if I wanted to go along and review The Belgrave, I’d already chalked up more visits to the bar in the last month than I did to the Cue Club in three years. But, never ones to turn down the chance to claim cocktails on expenses, my friend and I took up the challenge and returned to The Belgrave on a recent Thursday evening.

Without the pool tables and pre-pubescent lads knocking about the place, The Belgrave looks huge. Booths line the walls, which boast a mural of rock star greats – and Jimmy Savile – reflected in the awesome soundtrack (not Savile), but there’s an awful lot of space otherwise. Next door to Sandinista and close to North Bar, Sela, Mojo, Verve and Reform, I imagine it gets full later on, but at 5.30pm, we have our pick of the seats. Ever the shrinking violets, we choose the peep-show style window seat, complete with instrument box for table.

I usually plump for a vodka martini, £6 at The Belgrave and expertly made by bar staff who ask all the questions – shaken or stirred, twist or olive, sweet or dry – that a lot of bars neglect.

For variety’s sake, this time I go for one of the special cocktails, devised by the bar staff themselves and explained on the wall behind them. The Belgrave Zombie (£7.60) is a powerful mix of six different rums, fruit juice and fresh pomegranate, with a scooped out pomegranate shell filled with white rum and set alight floating on top.

Unlike my vodka martini - compared to ‘drinking nail varnish remover’ by one of my less sophisticated pals – the lip-smackingly tasty Zombie hardly tastes alcoholic at all. My friend’s Tall Green Bison (£6.50) is similar to a Mojito, but with apple juice and Zubrowka vodka. We’re impressed that, despite both being specials, our cocktails are included in the Thursday two for one cocktails offer.

We could easily have sat there all night, working our way through the extensive cocktail menu, but more boring duties called. Anyway, there’s always next Thursday.

Posted on Wednesday 14th September 2011

The Belgrave

1a Cross Belgrave Street, Leeds, LS2 8JP

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