The Northern Quarter is a name that would usually cast my mind to Manchester. I picture large windows, artsy Americana restaurants, and everything and anything vaguely ‘trendy’. But this post isn't about Manc's NQ; Leeds has its very own same-titled up-and-coming in vogue neighbourhood. Every week it seems to be expanding.
In this stead comes Slate NQ, the new brainchild of the team behind the fun and famous Roxy Ballroom and Roxy Lanes. While their previous incarnations share a common name and a common theme of booze and balls, Slate is like the cooler older cousin. Related, but separate. A little bit more sophisticated.
We arrive on a Thursday night, with the sun still blazing overhead. A green neon sign signals Slate’s location inside this amazing unique Tudor-style building on Merrion Street. That's something I love about Leeds - how each building's architecture is a different style from the next. What an eclectic skyline we have!
We're greeted by Jess, Slate NQ's manager, who is absolutely lovely. She guides us around the premises, showing us the MASSIVE outside area, which instantly garners our attention. This could very much be a contender for Leeds Best Beer Garden!
Slate arrives in the grave of The Lounge Bar & Grill, which I've heard was frankly a bit rubbish. It’s great to see the space now being made such good use of, having been completely redecorated and revived by this enthusiastic team.
Once we've toured outside, and seen all the revellers who've rented out the upper deck of the beer garden for a birthday (great idea chaps) lapping up this irregular sunshine, it's time to head inside. We take a seat at one of the booths that lines the side of the bar. The whole ground floor is really nice and open, with lots of room for dancing come Friday and Saturday night.
Oooh is that a cheeky bit of Beavertown I spy on the board?
Henry, previously the chief Mixologist of Anjelica's, speaks to us about the list of 12 cocktails he's concocted exclusively for Slate NQ. Each one sounds absolutely delicious and incredibly summery. N & I eventually settle for the Summer Of Leodis and the Elderflower Martini.
I was reaaaaaally pleased with my choice. Super refreshing. I knock back my Leeds-inspired drink in about three gulps. It tastes like fruit juice, in the best possible way.
After we've necked our drinks (woops, work night) it's time for some food. In the corner of the ground floor of Slate is an open kitchen, with a chef cooking pizza fresh. Also on the menu are platters of Italian meats and cheeses, as well as Deli Sandwiches. It's a clever choice, and fuels the relaxed vibe of this place.
The mix of craft beer and carbs seems to be the maker of success in any establishment these days.
Food-wise, it’s a tough decision, but we eventually opt for the Blue Cheese and Parma Ham pizza, along with the Roast Chicken and pesto variety. The gorgonzola is just the way I like it, with a kick yet not too pungent on the palate. The pizzas are simple, but delicious, and perfect as a casual dinner.
After finishing our food and admiring the aztec print of the bar, the array of music posters, and the Indie playlist, we head over to play pool. Now usually I only ever seem to play when I'm EXTREMELY drunk, so I was a little unsure of what my skills would be like...
And, I won't lie, I won't be playing in any championships any time soon... BUT it was bloody fun, and a lovely way to spend an evening. I think this place is gonna be very popular.
Whether you're looking for somewhere to head for a drink and a game after work, whether you’re wanting to try somewhere a little different, or whether you’re just looking for a place to enjoy the unpredictable Summertime, Slate NQ could well be your new go-to. It's definitely worth a try, anywho. I’m excited to see what else is in store for Leeds’ Northern Quarter.