WHEN it opened last year, Brooklyn Bar described itself as ‘the perfect blend of style and class’, so it seemed like a pretty suave choice for a Friday night escapade.
If I could just make it through the staggering groups of babbling men and women.
After 11pm, Call Lane is a swirling whirlpool of conversation, taxi-hailing and sexual tension. Sober, the effect can be terrifying. Perhaps a certain amount of alcohol is required to step through into the next dimension where the streets really are curved and the air really is so thick that screams and flailing limbs are required to break through.
The Queens Court and Bar Fibre have courtyards backing onto the same cobbled patch, giving a posturing, Mediterranean vibe (although I am also reminded of kennels designed with outdoor sections where the dogs can poke their noses through to bite or lick their neighbours).
Right at the bottom of Call Lane, under the bridge, before the street lights return and the main road appears, the doorway of Brooklyn Bar is guarded by two whispering bouncers. It would be easy to walk past the dark steps and miss the sign, in fine brass lettering, that sits almost as high as the bridge.
It is just those few metres further from the collection of several other bars further down the lane that separates it, rendering it more mysterious and edgy.
Over the threshold, all mystery evaporates. Aretha Franklin is blasting out of the ceiling (not literally), while cocktail wielding limbs punch the air in time to another tune entirely. Collars are popped and fake eyelashes batted, while pouts and winks fire across the bar. This is more downtown-Hollywood-back-alley than Brooklyn. Alcohol is the only cure.
Luckily, the bar is stacked with an extensive liquor collection, a good few bottled beers, a choice of wines available by the glass and champagne from £15 to £120. The (sticky) cocktail menu is fifteen pages long, with drinks divided by their geographical origins. But apparently the menu is unnecessary, since a barman quickly swipes it from my hands and demands I tell him my favourite liquor, so that he can choose for me.
He looks about twelve, but his kindliness is appreciated and within seconds he has presented me with a glass full of ice and some kind of bright yellow amaretto blast. Perhaps he could see my dire need for a bracing drink, since the bar was rammed but he fixed me up in an instant. Then he evaporated into serving and refused my fist of coins. If this is the standard approach at Brooklyn Bar then I can see why everyone is so happy and drunk.
My accomplice and I wander out back to the terrace, where gangster-like couples in big-shouldered suits and sparkly dresses perch on aluminium tables. The Queens Court and Bar Fibre have courtyards backing onto the same cobbled patch, giving a posturing, Mediterranean vibe (although I am also reminded of kennels designed with outdoor sections where the dogs can poke their noses through to bite or lick their neighbours). Still, it’s nice if you like that sort of thing.
As the bar-cum-dance-floor becomes increasingly rammed, and Queen and Michael Jackson hits are jacked up to full volume, we decide it might be time to leave. My complimentary cocktail has run out and it is no longer fun feeling like the ugly (tights-and-cardigan wearing) duckling.
However, had I necked a few more rum-and-cokes, who knows what would’ve happened? I too could’ve been getting down in full faux-transatlantic glamour. I may have to come back next week, a little more prepared, and try to immerse myself properly in Brooklyn Bar’s flashy sophistication. But I’d have to start drinking tomorrow.
Ambience - 7/10
Drinks - 4/5
Service - 4/5
50 Call Lane
Leeds LS1 6DT
0113 244 3932
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