15 Places to relax and have fun in Leeds
Our journalism students tell us where they go to chill out when it’s time to close their laptops and leave the library.
When you’re new to a city it’s difficult to know where to hang out after the university day has finished or you’re chilling at the weekend. We figured that the best people to tell us were students! So, we asked 2nd and 3rd years studying BA Journalism to tell us all about their favourite places in Leeds. In no particular order, here are the fifteen best places to unwind in Yorkshire’s greatest city.
Brundenell Social Club
One of the best and cheapest places in Hyde Park to get a pint (despite the £10 card limit) and a really good music venue. Great atmosphere and friendly staff. You always end up seeing people you know just because of the number of local bands they put on.
Recommended by Thomas Mangham
Roxy Ball Rooms
This is my favourite hang-out in Leeds. It’s a great place to get all your friends together and play all sorts of games; pool, table tennis, shuffleboard and even beer pong! The music is brilliant and it’s a really fun evening out.
Recommended by Beckie Tee
The Original Oak
Based in Headingley it is the perfect place to go for drinks with your friends. It has a big beer garden which is a perfect place to chill on a hot sunny day. It has TV screens in and outside the pub which is ideal for watching sports events. Drinks aren’t too expensive which is always a bonus!
Recommended by Ben Barry
Conveniently located right next to the Rose Bowl. As a fan of independent music and a beer (or five), O2 Academy provides both in abundance. It has by far the most diverse listing of gigs to chose from in the city and tickets are usually just a fraction of what you can be expected to pay at the First Direct Arena. An intimate venue, the O2 Academy draws some of the best bands in the country to Leeds and has something for everyone. It’s only a short walk from the city centre’s bars, so you don’t have to call it a night after the gig.
Recommended by Aidan Kerr
A social student pub just on the edge of Hyde Park, it’s always busy and the Lending Rooms is a great venue upstairs where a lot of local bands play. The area is small and so the gigs can be intimate, which makes it more enjoyable!
Recommended by Louise Hollingworth
A lovely hidden gem. I’ve been dozens of times and spent much of my student loan there (not all of it). It’s super cute, you can go with a couple of friends and sit by a koi pond in an authentic Japanese setting, also Sake...which I recommend you try at least once but be warned, that Koi pond may become more of a hazard rather than a quaint feature if you have too much.
Recommended by Jaimie Kay
Belgrave Music Hall
A great Leeds venue for food, drink and entertainment. They have a great selection of food and drink to offer. They do amazing burgers and also have their own little pizza kitchen so you can just grab a slice while you’re drinking. My favourite thing about the place is its rooftop terrace which is a really great place to spend an afternoon if the sun is out.
Recommended by Kane Daly
Here you can find live sports, live music, shuffleboard and cheap beer. I spent my entire summer there just having the best time with my mates and there's nowhere I’d rather go for a beverage and a good time. It’s open late as well, so good for a few pre-drinks before a night out. And, now the Bierkeller’s a goner, its the only place you can get up and dance on the tables. The staff are pretty cool too!
Recommended by Eliza Laben
A multi-use venue that has an award-winning restaurant, Ox Club, a large and sociable beer hall and two rooftop terraces. The beer hall serves over 60 beers from across the world and hosts a pub quiz on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The venue also has a purpose-built 150 capacity live event space. Perfect for a chilled out, sociable drink with a few mates.
Recommended by Sam Brooke
A pub built into an old docked boat situated right next to city campus and offers great student incentives. My favourite is the 25p chicken wings on a Wednesday, meaning you can grab lunch for only a couple of pounds, making it almost impossible to find an excuse not to go! Its atmosphere is relaxed and it is the perfect place to go to after lectures to enjoy the good weather.
Recommended by Oscar Bellerby
This trendy area near the river has a bar to suit everyone’s music taste and budget. It’s also a great night out option when you fancy something different to the standard student club night out. Not only is it a go-to for the evening but for the morning after there’s a lovely little cafe called ‘IF...’ that does a great breakfast burrito!
Recommended by Suzannah Rogerson
Hyde Park Book Club
The walls are lined with books and novels, meaning you could have a hot drink and a cake while catching up with one of your favourite authors. They also have live music events in the basement, which can give you a chance to explore the different musicians Leeds has to offer. The atmosphere is cosy and intimate, a lovely place to hang out with friends.
Recommended by Gemma Ryles
The New Conservatory
Located on Albion Place is this posh pub with such a chill vibe. They do an early bird menu from 12pm - 7pm Monday to Friday where you can get two courses for £11.95 and the food there is so good! Whether you're looking for somewhere to go on a date or just a casual place for food, either way, it's a great spot.
Recommended by Lauren Halligan
Located in Trinity Kitchen, this is my favourite place in the city! The Buffalo wings are amazing, and they do bottomless wings on a Wednesday (as well as other deals every day, including 40% student discount!). It is so cheap and definitely the place I went to most often in first year.
Recommended by Rachel Johnston
Junkyard Golf Club
This is a great place for something to do in the day, but we love going in the evening as the cocktails are amazing and they always have drink offers on - making a fun difference to your usual night out. They also do 50% student discount throughout the week which makes it only £4 per person!
Recommended by Lucy Hopwood