Discover the historic pubs near Uni

University of Leeds
7 min readAug 10, 2021

Bethan Partridge | Sports and Exercise Science | Year 3

If you’re new to Leeds, there are countless pubs and bars to discover across the city. There’s so much more to the traditional British public house than drinking though. Often steeped in history, they’re landmarks, community centres and offer much more than alcohol.

Bethan, a third year student tells us about a few you might want to discover. Cheers!

On and near campus

There’s lots of places to visit near campus, including The Eldon, The Library and slightly further away — the wonderful and traditional Chemic Tavern.

Old Bar

Old Bar has been serving students real ale since 1939! Located downstairs in the Union it is the perfect local situated right on campus. There is a weekly pub quiz every Thursday from 8pm, a large pool table to challenge friends or practice your skills, screening of popular sports matches and live music on Sundays from 8pm.

The food at Old Bar is excellent ranging from full roast dinners to loaded curly fries there is something for everyone and at extremely reasonable prices.

Not only is Old Bar a spot to meet with friends but students are often found working in here or stopping off in between lectures — it really is a place for everyone.

Inside the Old Bar

The Packhorse

The Packhorse is located opposite the engineering buildings and is one of the oldest pubs in Leeds estimated to date back to around 1615 where it was known as the Nag’s Head — it wasn’t until 1982 that it was re-named The Packhorse! Understandably, this longstanding pub makes it an extremely popular one with the locals! The Packhorse even contains an iron Templar Cross nailed to the gable end of the pub reported to be one of only few left in the world!

The Packhorse have a great selection of local Leeds ales which you can enjoy while listening to a great selection of live music from local bands. The Packhorse hosts two event spaces: a stage room designed by locals for gigs and live performances and a sofa room full of leather sofas and chandeliers!

Opposite the Civil Engineering building, is the Pack Horse

The Fenton

The Fenton is a popular, traditional pub with locals, students, researchers and staff from the University with many of the original fittings and fixtures still in place. With guest beers from small or micro-breweries in Yorkshire to hosting local bands and life drawing classes — The Fenton is a fantastic pub to visit. Winner of Leeds CAMRA Cider Pub of the Year every year since 2016 with its four cellar cooled ciders and five real ales available there is lots of choice available!

In addition to the fantastic selection of drinks on offer The Fenton is also home to other pub classics: a dart board, a pool table, a jukebox and a selection of board games. The multi-room design of The Fenton makes this an ideal spot for most people with a centrepiece bar wrapping around the middle and each room off it having its own ambience and character with a larger room, a central corridor, and a smaller snug in addition to the upstairs rooms for events.

The Fenton, likely to have first been licensed as a public house in the 1850s

The Dry Dock

You’ve probably driven past the Dry Dock multiple times on your way up the University campus as it’s definitely not something you miss! The Dry Dock Pub is an old boat which once worked in the River Aire as a sand and gravel barge. In 1993 it was taken out of Clarence Dock and to its new home on a patch of grass along Woodhouse Lane.

Dry Dock prides itself on an extensive drinks menu and student friendly offers throughout the week with Wing Wednesdays, Craft and Cocktail night on Thursdays and Clash of the Clans on Sundays. Downstairs there are several TVs for live sport viewing, some even hooked up to Playstations where games of FIFA can often be seen being played between students with a FIFA tournament running every Monday from 9pm.

Upstairs on the deck there is an outdoor seating area complete with fairy lights perfect for sitting out in the sun or enjoying a warm evening.

Former sand and gravel barge, The Lambda, now the Dry Dock pub

Hyde Park

There’s not that many pubs in Hyde Park , however, worth a notable mention is the Brudenell Social Club, centre-piece of live music in Leeds and an accessible and diverse community hub, formed back in 1913. Not exclusively a pub, but we can’t ignore it can we?!

Hyde Park Pub

The Hyde Park Pub is one of the popular pubs within Hyde Park due to its central location to most University accommodations as well as the student living area of Hyde Park.

Hyde Park Pub is the place to be for student friendly deals with weekday lunch deals, pizza and burger deals, 2 for 1 cocktail deals as well as a reasonably priced food and drink menu. Hyde Park pub also is known for its events with DJ nights, a pub quiz and streaming of live sport — it really has a lot going on.

Don’t forget to ask for a student card at the beginning of the year to save yourself some ££!

Hyde Park pub, Hyde Park

Royal Park Pub

Located in the heart of the student village ‘Hyde Park’ Royal Park Pub is anything but just a pub! The pub’s cellar is home to Hyde Park’s very own underground music venue hosting regular gigs and performances — The Clash even played here in 1985!

The Royal Park Pub boosts a fun and friendly atmosphere with most workers being students. It has a relatively large outside area for the summer months, a large room upstairs to hire out for societies and weekly student deals.

The Royal Park, Hyde Park

Headingley

Headingley has many additional pubs not mentioned below, from Head of Steam, Arcadia, Woodies, and the newest one — the Golden Beam, plus many more.

The Headingley Taps

The Headingley Taps has quite a quirky exterior with an architectural style similar to a Victorian school building. Built in 1879 it has since swapped its water pumping pipes for beer taps due to it being formerly known as the local water pumping station.

Headingley Taps is popular with students of both Leeds Beckett and University of Leeds as it sits quite central to the Headingley area and has a relatively large capacity. This is one of the perfect places to meet new people due to the high chances of other students present. They also show live sport so whether you’re into cricket, rugby or football it will likely be on at the Headingley Taps!

Headingley Taps is a former water pumping station

The Skyrack

The Skyrack is a pub of ‘two halves’ due to its recent refurbishment and extension. In one half you’ll find a more traditional pub setting and the other a bright and modern interior. This makes the pub suited to quite literally anyone with a quieter and cosier feel in the original side of the pub and a livelier atmosphere on the other side. There are two snooker tables located in the Skyrack making it a perfect place to sharpen up on your skills, challenge the locals or determine who’s the best out of the students!

Additionally, the Skyrack are very keen on sport often showing live games of the Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Cricket Team located just around the corner and photos of local sporting stars can be found around the bar.

The Skyrack

The Original Oak

The Original Oak might be a student’s favourite mainly due to its HUGE garden! Named after a Shire Oak tree, the meeting place for settling government issues, which sadly collapsed in 1941 during the middle of World War II. A faded plaque next to the Original Oak marks its place and a new oak tree has since been planted to maintain tradition.

The beer garden is the perfect sun trap in the summer months with many students gathering for a catch up and a nice break from their studies. Located on the closer side to Hyde Park it is a perfect walking distance for many.

Additionally, the Original Oak is often used by societies for socials with their multiple rooms and secluded areas perfect for large groups.

The Original Oak

Summary

Whether you’re meeting friends, finding a quiet place to study or having some food, there’s most likely to be a pub that matches your taste! Pubs serve hot drinks and have a huge range of soft drinks and low/zero alcohol options, and many have a range of mocktails, so you don’t have to drink to enjoy them.

You can meet new people by joining the Real Ale Society (LUU)

Always remember, be responsible if you’re drinking. Alcohol can impair your judgements. Alternate alcoholic drinks with water. Keep safe when you’re out.

Leeds University Union Help and Support has articles, advice and you can speak to them about alcohol, and if you’re worried or feeling pressured.

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