â€œ St JohnÂ’s House, Merrion Street, LS2 8JE. Tel:+44 0137 725 2928 â€ž
This central Leeds bar and restaurant is a great venue for private functions as well as a good place to meet up with friends for drinks and/or food. It stands out quite well on the city centre streets, having a mock tudor frontage. Inside there is a bar along the entire wall to the left and to the right is a seating area, further to the right is a terrace area which you can access via large soundproofed doors, this means that the terrace area can be effectively sealed off for private functions.
I was visiting for a joint 30th birthday party of two of my friends, they had booked the terrace for this and as such we had access to the large area with plenty of tables and chairs (including a number of quirky cow patterned throne type affairs!) and room to dance as well as a sound system which could be linked to a laptop or ipod. This was a great idea as we had complete control of the music without hiring a DJ and the location of the room meant we couldn't hear the music from the bar and they couldn't hear ours.
There is also an upstairs area which is also used for functions, this was booked out by another group on the night of our event but caused no problems, this place is big and efficient enough to stage multiple events concurrently without it being too busy or over crowded.
The main bar area was where we still had to get our drinks from as the terrace does not have its own bar, this was not a problem though and the bar is big enough and well staffed enough that we never had to wait very long to be served. Drinks were priced quite average with a pint being around the Â£3 mark and long spirits around Â£4. There were some special offers on for cocktails and the like a number of our group indulged in Sloe Gin Fizz's which looked and tasted amazing!
Staff are incredibly helpful and friendly, I arrived early and had no idea where to find my group of friends, entering an unfamiliar bar alone can be quite an intimidating experience in my opinion but the lovely guy I spoke to actually came round the bar and escorted me out to the terrace to make sure I got where I needed to be.
The toilets are down a double set of stairs opposite the bar in the corner, this didn't seem very disabled friendly and there was no lift, that I could see, so do be aware if visiting with anyone who struggles with stairs. The toilets themselves were nice and clean with plenty of facilities, again there were steps up the actual cubicles though so even if you made it to the toilets there were more steps to navigate!
Smokers are accommodated outside the front of the pub in a fenced off area which has a number of tables and large ashtrays. There were some garden heaters too for when its cold but these were not in use on the balmy evening when I visited. I did not see any other smoking areas being used.
Some people ordered food from the bar menu on my visit and were raving about how nice it was, it certainly looked good although I didn't partake, the menu was mainly burgers and pasta dishes and seems very good value for money.
There are security on the door here after a certain time and it did lend the bar a nice safe atmosphere. I didn't see any trouble and actually found that the bar had a great atmosphere late into the night with no trouble, just happy, music loving customers.
We left as the staff started getting ready to pack up, the official opening times of the bar are '11am til late' and we were still partying at 1am, we got the impression that late means sometime after 1 when everyone is done drinking!
A great venue for parties and functions with excellent facilities to make your event go with a bang and some wonderful cow thrones for your guests to sit on!