Alfred Bar, Meanwood: What’s It All About, Alfie?
I’m a big fan of the expanding North Bar mini-empire, which now stretches to the original in Leeds city centre; Further North in Chapel Allerton; and the Cross Keys in Holbeck (which is more gastro but does so brilliantly). Oh, and an ice cream van full of beer. I’m informed that The Reliance is no longer under the same ownership, but it remains great for booze, food and service nevertheless.
On Saturday at 5pm they opened their new pub in Meanwood, Alfred, and I popped in for a pint at the end of a long walk. Opposite Waitrose and the new Market Town Tavern, East Of Arcadia, these seem symbolic of the gentrification of Meanwood.
On Alfred’s twitter feed they’ve been keeping us up to date with the renovation of what used to be Tropical Nosh. It’s all paid off in spades, and the pub looks great. If you’ve been to Further North you’ll be familiar with the multiplicity of unmatched lampshades hanging from the roof, the welcoming glass frontage and classy understated sign.
It’s bigger than Further North, but not massively so; I counted about 30-40 seats whereas I reckon Further North has about 20-25. The bar area has room for a whole three staff, a coffee machine and a decent amount of fridge space. Needless to say the bottled beer selection is good; a wide but sensible range with enough to excite most tastes without attempting to rival the huge range of the original North Bar.
Three handpumps were christened with Elland 1872 Porter, Marble Ginger and Roosters Wild Mule (who seemed to have dropped the “Outlaw” brand). I went for the excellent 1872 Porter (6.5%) and Kate had the Wild Mule, a nice hoppy pale ale which is effectively the house beer in North.
They also had Brooklyn Lager on keg, but rather than reciting the whole range, I took a photo of the menu, which you should hopefully just about be able to read if you click on it. You’ll see that the prices tend towards the upper end of average, with the cask beers all £3.10 a pint. There’s also what seems like a decent range of wines, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
Like North, Alfred is going to have a small range of food, stretching to cheese and bread; meat and bread; and possibly pies. This suits the small space and the cafe vibe, and if you want a big plate of sausages and mash, East of Arcadia is only a few seconds down the road.
A special mention should go to the loos. Unlike Further North, there are seperate gents’ and ladies’ bogs, with quirky wallpaper. The ladies’ has saucy 1950s pin-up art (so I’m informed) whereas the gents’ has some great 1970s-style boy’s bedroom football wallpaper, with footballers to represent Scottish, English and Northern Irish (but not Welsh) international players. However, their poses, down to the web-slinging hand gestures, seem to have been traced from Spider-Man comics. Perhaps George Best was once bitten by an alcoholic spider.
I was only there for one pint (and a free bun!) on the first day, but Alfred seems to be a great little cafe bar, with excellent beers, friendly staff and a lovely interior and exterior. It was worth the license application difficulties and the hard work, and Meanwood suddenly seems like an option for a nice evening out.
Alfred Bar, 6 Stonegate Road, Meanwood, Leeds LS6 4HY