That didn’t take long did it? They only opened in February and by June Leeds CAMRA members had voted it Pub Of The Month. Mind you, Slocken has a very good pedigree as it’s run by Anton Welburn and Emily Youell, the people who brought us Wapentake on Kirkgate, which incidentally has got into the latest Good Beer Guide.
Anyway, Slocken is nothing like Wapentake. Well, it is a bit, like there’s still a heavy Yorkshire theme going on and really good beers and wines and gins and cocktails and coffee. And Pizza, home made, baked in their pizza oven with some stunning combinations of toppings, but in terms of food that’s as far as it goes and the café, foodie, bistro, bakery flavour of Wapentake isn’t there.
Instead Slocken has a more industrial style and feels much more like an out and out bar, which is what it is with it’s three floors; bar on the ground, music and Sky sports on the middle floor, and pool, darts, table footy and excellent toilet facilities on the third floor. Thing is, with all them stairs, it’s no place for old men (or women), who will probably remember Slocken as Milo’s on Call Lane. Mind you, if stairs aren’t your thing, you could just have a drink on the ground floor and then go somewhere else for a pee?
So, what’s the beer like? Four cask lines, all with changing real ales from Yorkshire breweries and I’ve always found it to be spot on. Four rotating keg lines with beers sourced from Northern Monk, Magic Rock, Kirkstall and North. Then there are a couple of Pilsner styles and draught cider. Not forgetting Rodenbach Grand Cru on draught as Slocken are one of only seven bars in the UK who are allowed to have the beer as a permanent line.
Music is a big feature, as well as vinyl DJ’s they have regular live music, there’s a permanently installed drum kit on the small stage on the second floor. One to watch out for is Jermaine Peterson who’s become their resident artiste, every other Saturday night. If you like soul then you’ll really appreciate this young musician and his accomplished backing ensemble. I have to say I don’t think I’ve heard better without paying a lot of money.
I think the pricing in both Slocken and Wapentake are quite competitive for the city centre. You could get a pint of Kirky Pale for £3.50 when I popped in to see R’ Em, who said they just try to be realistic, they don’t want to rip people off and they want them to come back too.
Well it works because I keep going back again and again and I know a lot of others who do. Anyone who knows anyone in the Leeds brewing/beer scene would have recognised the faces sat around the bar when I called in and Slocken has already built up a strong cohort of regular followers, including me.
Slocken (from the Norse influenced old Yorkshire dialect): to quench thirst or drink greedily.