We know that once you’ve spent some time in Leeds, you pretty much get to know where all the good stuff is at, whether it be cafés, bars, clubs, or whatever else you’re interested in. This is a list of places that are off-kilter, off-course, maybe not offshore, but certainly off the beaten path. You may want to investigate further, or you may not; we only wish to give you a view of the side of Leeds you may not be familiar with.
1. Do you enjoy being scared witless? Some say that the student property in Hyde Park is haunted; others say it’s just the moans of hapless students biting into moldy bread. We don’t know for sure, but at Armley Mills they have ghost hunt’s every few months. Its history stretches all the way back to the middle of the 16th century, over the course of which thousands of people worked in brutal conditions. These tours are popular and always sell-out. Whether you’re a believer or a sceptic, you’re bound to have a good time.
2. For years this secluded bar, hidden in the city’s financial district, remained an underground secret, where only the in-the-know stepped forth into the retro Baby Jupiter to experience it’s constant flow of 70’s tunes. With its chilled atmosphere and vibe of easiness, its quality has oozed out and built its popularity almost to the point where it could be considered mainstream. But being a bar that you have to actively search for, it will always maintain its air of otherworldliness.
3. Here’s another from Armley (not really that far to travel for those with student houses in Burley). Tuesday night’s from 8.30pm to 11pm at Armley Conservative Club is Leeds Jazz Club. Even if you claim to not like jazz, in this live environment, where the mood is mellow and everyone is friendly and welcoming, you’d be hard pressed not to have a great time.
4. If you’re looking something a little less show and a little more go, then Bodylines Natural Gym could be what you’re looking for in a gym. If you want to learn to box, or if you just want to lift heavy weights (dumbbells up to 50kg), then there is no better place in Leeds to work up a sweat. This is a proper dungeon, competitively priced, with classic rock blaring out throughout the day. It isn’t glam and it isn’t trendy; it’s a place where mettle is tested and sweat is shed by the bucket-load. It’s a five-minute walk from the roundabout at the bottom of Eastgate.
5. Those of you with student houses in Burley pay particular attention, for there’s a little something on your doorstep you may not be aware of. Don’t worry, it’s not a flaming paper bag filled with dog-doo; no, this is something far darker and mysterious. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a mail order occult supplier located in a black building on Burley Lodge road, and has been around in one form or another since the mid-70’s. If you’ve got student property in Hyde Park you may be interested to know that it was once located in your area, but was burned to the ground by Christian extremists in the 80’s, in the midst of what the older generations refer to in hushed tones as “the Satanic panic”. Whether you’re a budding Harry Potter or just need a magic spell to pass an exam, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice sits in darkness awaiting your call.
Even if you have no interest in anything on this list, at least I hope you come away with a sense of adventure for seeking out more of Leeds’ hidden gems. There’s more to Leeds than meets the eye; all you have to do is delve a little deeper to discover the treasure buried underground.
Written by Tom, the man who’s so underground he’s practically a mole.