Seriously? North bar has been open in Leeds for n n n n n n nineteen years? Yes Paul Hardcastle, and last Friday I popped in to help what is probably the oldest and most original post modernist beer bar in the UK celebrate their birthday (that one will elicit plenty comments, then?). I’m using post modernist because I’ve gone off the term craft beer because it’s almost meaningless now. In any case, North bar is more than progressive keg beer types, there’s an ever changing range of decently presented cask beers on, including their very own North Prototype, originally democratically devised by customers and now brewed in their own brewery. It wouldn’t bother me if that’s all I had to drink for the rest of my life, it’s just a real solid everyday drinking beer, with something a bit more than the traditional pint. There is also an excellent range of global and particularly continental european (we probably need get used to this term now, as the distinction between the island(s) of the UK and the larger european land mass starts to become apparent). Don’t worry they will still send Belgian beers over to us. They will, won’t they?
Now when I say that North bar is one of my favourite bars, that’s not to say I’m in there all the time. However, if I am going into Leeds city centre on public transport, then it’s seldom that I don’t call in, even if it’s just for a half.
My favourite time to visit is Sunday lunch time when it’s usually quiet and you can sit down, read the paper or have quiet chat at the bar. Pop in at Friday tea time and you might even get a buckshee quarter of Wilson’s (of Crossgates) excellent growlers (that’s a pork pie where I come from and not a Demi-john you fill up with beer in a sort of off licence type place). I loved to sit at at one of the tables in the window, watching all the people go by on Upper Briggate. Hopefully they will get rid of those sofas and rearrange it so that it’s like that again one day? You can’t drink beer sat on a sofa, can you? Not without perching on the edge, which sort of defeats the object of having them in the first place. Capiche?
It wasn’t quiet on Birthday night when we called in and there was a proper party atmosphere thing happening. I didn’t manage to get one of the special Birthday brews, a 7% limited edition, individually numbered, tripel, brewed with pomelo fruit at North brewing. Probably because I didn’t even know about it. Would I have got one if I had known? Depends on how much it was. Would I have drunk it? Yes. Would I have saved the numbered bottle? Might have done but Mrs C would have binned it after a while. Would I have blogged about it? Definitely.
What I did have was a pint or two of Sputnik, one of their own house brews, a very drinkable 5% pale ale that I reckon had a quick glance at High Wire when they were devising it. The added attraction on birthday night was you could have a lucky dip and guess what? I won each time? Two free pints of Sputnik and a bottle of Fentiman’s G & T for Mrs C. Happy Birthday North bar and here’s to another 19!
It’s worth popping in over the next few weeks if you like USA beers as they have got a bit of a US beerfest promo on. That’s in all seven of the bars and pubs in the North chain too. I’m not entirely sure I’ll be plumping for the Brooklyn Hand & Seal at £30/750ml or Cascade brewery Apricot or Strawberry sour at £25/750ml, but the extensive and interesting bottle list has a few on at pocket money prices. There were also several US keg beers on, which were different to the usual Founders All day, and the like. I couldn’t manage to make a note of them though because the bus was coming. See you …
Acknowledgements to North Bar for the use of the promo images. I know I didn’t ask, but I’m sure you don’t mind!