Congratulations, most people don’t even reach this point. You’ve received that all important three letter word; YES, they would love to go on a date with you! Whether it’s a Tinder match you’ve been working on, that saucy little number you met at the bar last weekend, or that special someone you’ve had ‘a thing’ for as long as you can remember… first dates are sure to bring out those palm sweating, voice wobbling, thumb twiddling moments that make these things so nerve wracking but exhilarating at the same time. Dating is anything but easy, but luckily for you, Leeds has all you could ever wish for on the dating scene, and these great locations will be sure to set you off in the right direction.
Having recommended this quaint little gem, I was shocked to discover just how many people had never even heard of it. At the very top of Call Lane, past the Corn Exchange, is where you will come across The Maven. Situated upstairs, through a small and otherwise easily missable entrance, this quirky and fashionable location is a great way to start off an easy-going, comfortable evening. Featuring quaint and picturesque decoration and set-up, it offers an interesting and uniquely refreshing style to more common, busier date choices in the city. The bar is usually busy enough to provide a relaxing bustle in the background to set you both at ease, without being too loud or invasive so that you can enjoy a successful conversation with candle lit seating areas rounding off the all important atmosphere.
Moving onto my favourite part; the drinks! There is something for everyone here as the bar prides itself on the extensive variety of cocktails on offer, with as many spirits and mixers as you both could hope for. However, the choice doesn’t end there! Can’t find what you want on the menu? You simply have to tell them what you like, and they will whip it up for you with no hesitation, with their own specialised and unique Maven twist. This bar is especially great if you were thinking of moving onto food later into the date, allowing you to calm those initial nerves over a more easy going vibe with some of the best cocktails in town.
Now, if you’re a Leeds regular, I know for a fact you’ll know about this place. Situated on the outside of Leeds Trinity, down the side of the chapel, is The Botanist. This lively bar and restaurant is a definite eyebrow raiser, especially if your date hasn’t had the opportunity to visit before. With beautifully styled rustic surroundings, and an extensive drinks and food selection, The Botanist is a great choice for both first dates and recurring. I’d highly recommend the food, and with a delicious choice of tapas and light bites, you both can share a number of small dishes whilst the conversation and laughs (hopefully) flow. At only £10.75 for your pick of four items from the Deli board, you can’t go wrong.
Take your pick from craft beers, celebratory fizz or unusual cocktail mixtures, whilst enjoying the live music that creates a lively and up-beat vibe. Booking a table is highly recommended, especially on a weekend, as saying this place gets busy is an understatement. If the loud and vibrant atmosphere inside isn’t doing it for you, there’s also an attractive and quieter outdoor seating area that is perfect for warmer summer evenings.
Roxy Ball Room
This one might even come to a surprise to some, but yes, Roxy Ball Room. Perfect to break the ice, or liven things up a bit from the typical date genre. You can find this just off Boar Lane, opposite Hotel Chocolat. Edgy street-style decor give this location a great informal feel and allow you and your date to relax and let your hair down a little. Roxy Ball Room have regular live music on a weekend, and enough entertainment to take your mind away from any nerves or mental strain you have from trying to think of what to talk about next.
Get the ball rolling with a game of beer pong, which is always a great shout to bring the fun factor to any date or night out. If that’s not your forte, you can always have a dabble of table tennis or pool, or just enjoy the busy atmosphere of the bar and chat the night away. This is a really great location to have a breather, and break up the night between the quieter, more up close and personal styles of other bars.
Back to Call Lane now for one of my personal favourites; Jake’s Bar. Situated amongst some of the busiest bars in Leeds on a weekend, here you can find not only a great date location, but a great location for almost any type of excursion. As the night goes on, particularly on a weekend, it is essential to time this visit correctly depending on the atmosphere or style you hope to experience on the date. The later the night gets, the busier and more lively this bar will get. If you’re hoping for a more relaxed time, where you can converse and share stories over a drink, you’d be best to schedule this one into an earlier slot. Candle lit loungers are scattered throughout this basement-style attraction, with a delicious variety of cocktails to accompany. If you like gin, I’d recommend the Singapore Sling.
Like I said, this place gets busy, with a capital B, and the music only gets louder and more dance-orientated, so if you’re lucky enough to have made it to a stage in the date where you’re both a little jolly, and you both have a little itch for a dance, then head over to Jake’s bar a little later on. Experience their fine cocktail selection as you get your dancing shoes on, with two smaller but cosy dancing areas. There’s still plenty of seating areas both in the thick of the action, and quieter, more secluded areas situated just on the outside of the fray. Not that you wouldn’t be on a date, but be sure you’ve scrubbed up nicely because Call Lane bars are notoriously difficult to get into unless you’re in your best, and the door men take no excuses.
Last but not at all least, Sky Lounge. You’ll find this amazing location on the 13th floor of the hotel, The DoubleTree by Hilton. Sky Lounge offers a panoramic and breath-taking view of Leeds, and the city lights on a dark evening are something you just NEED to experience! You might find that the prices here are slightly above the locations mentioned prior to this, but the location itself, and the view on offer are definitely worth it. If sipping bubbly in the heated outdoor seating area, overlooking the vibrant and colourful city of Leeds from thirteen floors up, isn’t enough to knock your dates socks off… then I’m not sure that much will.
With a generous selection of wine, beers, cocktails or even shorts (if you’re feeling that way inclined), you’ll both be able to find something you can enjoy. Similarly to The Botanist, this lounge has a brilliant choice of light bites and deli boards to choose from that you can share including meats, cheeses and breads, at reasonable prices. This is definitely the opportunity to dress to impress, and treat your date to a luxurious and classy location.
Create a powerful concoction of these locations, or use them alongside your own favourites to blow your date away! The best part about Leeds is that your possibilities are endless, no matter what your taste. I really hope these help you in future, they sure helped me.
Have you visited any of these locations, I’d love to hear your stories and experiences! Maybe you know somewhere that could be part of this list, share it! Follow my blog uHumanKind on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, I can’t wait to hear from you.