Welcome to Leeds Confidential
Reset Password
The Confidential websites will be undergoing routine updates. This may cause the sites to go offline. We apologise in advance for any inconvenience.

You are here: Leeds ConfidentialFood & Drink.

Leeds bar is twelfth best in the World

Following the publication of a weird list of the world's best bars - we ask for your suggestions for the worst bar in West Yorkshire. For £50

Published on January 14th 2010.

Leeds bar is twelfth best in the World

We like it a lot, but is Sandinista in Leeds really the twelfth best bar in the world? In fact is it even the best bar in Leeds.

According to website 'worldsbestbars', sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey, it is. Click here

Even odder is the fact that Liverpool's Exclusive Newz Bar on Water Street is the daddy of them all, the greatest in the world, top dog, big cheese, numero uno, head honcho.

Here, apparently, are the top fifteen bars on the planet.

  1. The Exclusive Newz Bar, Liverpool
  2. Barasti, Dubai
  3. Socio Rehab, Manchester
  4. Club 11, Amsterdam
  5. Bar Bacca, Belfast
  6. Vertigo, Bangkok
  7. Velvet, Manchester
  8. Der Raum, Melbourne
  9. George V Hotel Bar, Paris
  10. Raoul's, Oxford
  11. The Loft, London
  12. Sandinista, Leeds
  13. Match EC1, London
  14. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Chicago
  15. Sky Bar, Beirut
Confidential thinks famous GaGaville bar, Talking Through My Arse, might be number 11.

Obviously there's something clearly amiss with the 'worldsbestbars' organisation, such as sanity and judgement. We tried to contact the website about these odd calculations. And we tried to contact them about the judging methodology, but we haven't had a response. Clearly the staff are down some back alley doing multi-coloured medication. We also suspect all the bars have Jameson Irish Whiskey in stock and the website is based in the North.

Still, it got us thinking.

If Sandinista is at the top of the pile, what, then, are the worst ten bars in West Yorkshire? To help us out we thought we'd involve you.

So these are the rules: a winning £50 bar tab in the venue of your choice will go to the best suggestion for the worst West Yorkshire bar but we want an argument to back your opinions up. Easy money really. Please your thoughts in the rant boxes below.

Like what you see? Enter your email to sign up for our newsletters which are chock-a-block with more great reviews, news, deals and savings.

11 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

John SandinistaMay 2nd 2008.

I work as one of the managers at Sandinista. We are aware of our profile on Worlds Best Bars and delighted that a website that ranks bars based on impartial customer ratings lists us as the top bar in Leeds. This is testament we would humbly suggest to the effort, commitment and heart that all our staff put into making it a welcoming and unique independent bar. That we are so highly rated in 'the world' is clearly flattering although we accept that the site, though very well established, might not give a comprehensive view of all bars in the world.People obviously have different criteria with what they look for in a great bar and therefore any site such as this is a list based on subjectivity. That said, clearly enough people have connected with what we're doing and have sufficiently enjoyed their experiences here to take the time to post a review, which is something we're proud of.To be clear for the record, we have no connection with World's Best Bars and have no idea where they're based. Our presumption is that the top 100 is calculated based on the average user rating for venues with over a certain number of reviews - but this is only a presumption. Also, the fact that we stock Jameson's whiskey is coincidental. We stock an extensive range of spirits and Jameson's is by far the most widely available Irish whiskey, so the fact that we do stock it is not surprising. We consider our World's Best Bar rating an achievement and an accolade from the people who matter most - our customers - so find it disappointing to say least that the above article discredits this with unfounded accusations about World's Best Bars and, oddly, its staff.

HebdenNedMay 2nd 2008.

There are many wonderful bars and pubs in West Yorkshire and I'm not normally one to dwell on the negative side of life but seen as how you're offering booze, here's my top ten worst bars in West Yorkshire:Albert Hotel, Huddersfield.One of the few unspoilt bars in Huddersfield town centre, this used to be a haven of real-ale, good food, boozing poets and eccentric pensioners. People from all walks of life mixed here and got on. However, a change of management has seen this pearl turn to swine. The beer always seems to have run out, the new staff excel at verbal rudeness often preferring to talk to a friend rather than serve you, the food is awful and nothing ever seems to happen there any more. A tragic waste. Mojo, LeedsAn appalingly over-rated bar. I won't tell you my friend's tale about this place or I'll probably get sued but let me make my case against Mojo on simple grounds: They only serve bottled beer. They don't sell many bottled beers. They don't sell particularly nice bottled beers. Chris Moyles go theres. End of story. Bar 15, HalifaxNow, when I say I like my bars to be underground, I mean I like them to have their own unique character and not to be part of some dodgy chain. I do not mean for them to be a converted Victorian toilet with no real sunlight or adequate ventillation. The choice of alcohol ranges from cheap and nasty spirits, watery brands of lager and the wonders of bitter that is spewed out of a plastic tap. Before the smoking ban, the place would cause asthma in even the hardiest of men after a mere five minutes in there. Since the smoking ban, the place has a curious, unique odour that seems somewhat reminiscent of cheap floor cleaner and the body parts of alcoholics so desperate that they no longer wash. Armitage Arms, Birkby, HuddersfieldThe British local pub is a great tradition, a haven from your family where you can escape reality in a haze of cheap alcohol that you can't afford. The Birkby area of Huddersfield is very lucky to have one of the best "locals" around in the shape of the Slubbers Arms. However, before the residents of Birkby get too smug they should remember the colossal shame of the Armitage Arms. Hidden away on a backstreet next to warehouses and derelict buildings, it is quite a feat just to find the place.The Armitage Arms is like a time capsule. Step through their dingy doors and prepare to be transported back to the darkest days of the 1970's when Britain loomed on the verge of economic collapse. The depression hangs in the air even thicker than the smell. It feels like how "Life On Mars" would have been if Ken Loach had filmed it whilst going through personal problems. The place is cramped, the furniture uncomfortable, the jukebox plays ancient power ballads through a tiny speaker, the booze is bad and the staff more dilapidated than the surrounding area. Local pubs may be too easy a target but the Armitage Arms really does deserve a special mention. There really is more dignity in drinking strong cider on a street bench at 9am than having a swift pint here. Star Hotel, KeighleyBradford used to be a world-leader in bad pubs until fairly recently. However, the last few years have seen a spectacular culling of the city's many rubbish pubs until nothing below average was left in business. After this display of Darwinian economics, it turns to Bradfords weird little brother, Keighley, to show us some truly bad pubs. Sure, the pubs on Church Street are all pretty good but not to far away is the Star Hotel. You have to applaud their honesty, as the big clear windows allow you to see what it looks like inside, which should save most people the bother. Now, I get around a lot and never have any trouble anywhere except here. For some reason, my entrance draws glares, stares and long-range bad-breath attacks. Even the bar staff scrutinise me with such critical intensity that I have to run to the bathroom and check my reflection to make sure no prankster has put make-up on my face or simulated some horrific burns. To be fair, the beer isn't bad but the say it's the people that makes a pub and these people make it very bad indeed. I hate to think what would happen to a foppish student, an ethnic minority or camp individual who attempted a beverage there. The White Hart, HuddersfieldBack in 1783, geologist John Michell suggested the concept of a body so massive even light could not escape. This ground-breaking theoretical concept lead not only do the development of black hole theory, but also to the creation of The White Hart. Indeed, workers at the nearby banks who complain that their lunch hours are too short, find themselves directed to The White Hart where time itself grinds to a halt under the oppressive weight of The White Hart's extraordinary atmosphere. Pub experts site the high proportion of solitary drinkers combined with it's bad décor to create something known technically as a "depressing ****-hole". Others point to toilet facilities so Victorian and dilapidated as to make pissing yourself seem like the favourable choice, something I'll wager the regulars would know a fair bit about. Big Lil's Western Saloon Bar, LeedsAhhh, Big Lil's, where to begin? How about the name? Look at it. Choosing a name like that for a bar in some remote part of Texas might just about be passed off as "mentally deficient" but for a Leeds town centre bar, there isn't adequate words to encompass the sheer mind-bending idiocy of it's title. Next, let's consider the clientele. Of course, if you've volunteered for jury service in Leeds recently, you may recognise a few of them. Yes, this place put the hostile in hostelry. Of course, having avoided that particular street like the plague now for around five years solely due to the present of Lil's, I could not even vouch if it is still there now. I'm certain I recall it making headlines for a murder or manslaughter trial. Certainly, the optimist in me likes to think the place has been taken off the face of the earth, along with most of it's patrons.The Railway, HalifaxUpon first entering The Railway Hotel, I must confess myself much confused.A large, rounded Gentleman sat on a high stool with a tankard in his hand,laughing like a drain full of gravy. Besides him on the next stool, sat alittle girl, her face a picture of boredom and sadness. Strange, toothlessrapscallions whispered and grinned evilly at the various tables dottedaround this ancient building."Good Lord!" I thought to myself "They've made a Dickensian theme pub andfilled it with actors". Deciding to embrace this curious new development, Itook a seat, ordered an ale and enjoyed the surrounding theatricalextravaganza. It was only after I'd actually tried the beer (and also triedcongratulating one of the 'thespians' on his amazing performance afterwatching what I thought was a very well-written scene of a man on the edgethreatening his wife with domestic violence) that I realised the truth - Iwas actually in a bloody awful pub that was stuck in some grotesque past.Picking up my things, and my teeth, I swiftly left.The Bridge, BrighouseHaving a pop at Brighouse bars is the critical equivilant of fighting a coma patient. It's so easy that it feels immoral yet The Bridge comes in for a truly special mention. I walked in a year ago to find it in the midst of a full-on refurbishment. I came back a month later and it looked as dirty, backward and time-looped as it had before. A great place to watch toothless men getting paralitic in front of their weeping toddlers and their grotesque wives. It's like you've walked into a Francis Bacon painting and died.The Entire Wetherspoons chain, everywhereI've tried to ignore the chains throughout this, as everyone with a clean criminal record knows chain pubs are terrible but this one simply takes the biscuit. The immortal bard of Avon once said something about music being the food of love. This would explain why so many Wetherspoons pubs seem so filled with hate and bitterness. I'm a music junky. I'm one of those fools who always puts their money in the jukebox on a night out (dammit, why don't pubs have jukeboxes any more? Let the customers decide). The absence of music makes me feel like I'm drinking in a waiting room. It makes the pub absolutely devoid of atmosphere. It makes me to self concious to tell sick jokes to my friends. I have let my friends drag me to some appaling places over the years but if a night out heads towards a Wetherspoons, then I go home. No matter what my friends say, no matter how much they protest, no matter how good a night it is, I leave. Nothing good ever came out of Wetherspoons except that Big Issue seller who always wished me good day, even when I'm too skint to buy his paper. George Orwell once wrote about an essay on his idea of a perfect pub and named it The Moon Under Water. Wetherspoons had the nerve to take up that title. The people behind Wetherspoons, like Orwell, may have been dreaming of a utopia but so were Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pott. People are too varied, too complex for any utopia to work. Why do people go to Wetherspoons? If you want to save money, go to the off license.

Steroid MaryMay 2nd 2008.

You wot fella

TomMay 2nd 2008.

10 worst bars in West Yorkshire... well I'll have to stick to Leeds as i don't venture into any of our neighboring towns too much but i'm sure Bradford has some horrible bars!!10 Bar RisaThursday night at bar risa used to be ok about 5 years ago, but i guess thats because i was 5 years younger it is now full of high school chavs who really wanna listen to baselines9 Edwardsin other cities this might be ok, but friday saturday night you tend to see alot of South Yorkshireites hitting Leeds for a big night out at Edwards. It's a hole and located to a tacky nightclub such as Oceana makes the clientèle a minus five out of 10. 8 VarsityA beauty spot for fancy dress and students if that your thing but another top end of town bar that gets a lot of chavtastic custom.7 Sports BarFor all the gimics and all the hype sports bar is one big let down. I always find that places that only allow shoes as footwear usually end up with twentysomething year olds with rockports buying cheap lager from the bar staff...or stealing?! 6 WalkaboutMy fake ID would get me in here a treat along with my 16/17 year old mates 8 years ago. I loved it because the music and the people made me fell like i was at a wedding reception with Peter Kay...only a decent spread was missing!!5 SquaresNow a bottom end of town bar that attracts anyone and everyone i passed though there once and passed straight back out i saw a lot of dodgy characters in there, never even got a chance to see what they had on tap!!4 YatesIS YAtes's but again if lads with black socks over their air max's counts as shoes you can probably guess where my answer is going.3 Bar cenzaMy only experince with this bar is again one when i was young and a guy with a tatoo on his forehead got chucked out. He had a lovely blood stainned Henry Lloyd jumper on and much to my horror half an ear, the other half followed him out 30 second s later... Never been back.2 BirdcageGo and check it out and get back to me yourself.1 The BoxI grew up around Headingley it was great place until the students took over. I used to go to the Oak until the students took over. Then i used to go to the box until...everyone thought they were on Hollyoaks...All Saints belts, highlighted hair, flip-flops in winter, scarfs with T-shirts and to top it off the whole of South Yorkshire came as well. Nike air rifts, old glory t-shirts and lots of top heavy muscle bound steroid marys. Before Christmas i decided to give it one last chance.... There were 3 females in there at 10pm on a saturday, it was horrendous....There are plenty of great places in Leeds but if you want to avoid getting your phone nicked or getting in a fight dont bother with the bars i just mentioned!!

HebdenNedMay 2nd 2008.

Glad to hear it's shut down, your friend was lucky to survice! Might try walking in that part of Leeds again now.

HebdenNedMay 2nd 2008.

Well, James, within the realms of safety!

HebdenNedMay 2nd 2008.

Yesterday, I had to go into Huddersfield to catch a bus. As I walked into town, I passed The Sportsman and saw a lady emerge, somewhat the worse for wear. As she took her second step out, she was suddenly possesed with violent paroxyms of laughter. Not merry laughter or cheeky laughter, but manic laughter. I felt nervous and hurried along to my bus stop. A few moments later, the stench of stale alcohol and body odour hit my nostrils. I turned my head to see that she had come and sat next to me. She was now sobbing hysterically and muttering incomprehensible complaints to no-one in particular. At that very instand, I suddenly realised that I had left The Sportsman off my top 10 worst pubs list. I wrote a top 10 of **** pubs and I missed the number 1 worst offender. I remember my last and only visit to this foul hostelry. The beer was rubbish, the nudie calendars were all badly photographed, the service was hostile, everyone drank alone and the atmosphere was bad. This was a place where nobody knows thier name. The jukebox was filled with awful rubbish and no-one put any money in leaving the pub in stoney silence except for when the jukebox couldn't take it any more and would randomly play the worst song in it's metallic bowels. Part of running a succesful pub involves engaging with your neighbourhood and luring in the neighbours. The Sportsman is near a refugees hostel. The first thing I noticed upon entering was a tatty collage of the tabloid's worst ever anti-asylum seeker headlines. How nice. The Sportsman in Huddersfield really is the worst pub in all of West Yorkshire.

HebdenNedMay 2nd 2008.

Oh damn, your website got rid of all my line breaks, my post looks like a total mess

HebdenNedMay 2nd 2008.

Is this competition still running? I'm confused..

NBoadenMay 2nd 2008.

Cried laughing at this. Now I know why I never go to Wetherspoons. Big Lil's is now closed in Leeds, a friend once went in for a beer because he thought it would be funny/ironic. There was no laughing.

JamesMay 2nd 2008.

Bloody hell HebdenNed, I bet you needed a drink afte that...and the bar wouldn't have mattered.

To post this comment, you need to login.Please complete your login information.
Or you can login using Facebook.

Latest Rants


I had many useful things from this article. i really appreciate your efforts…

 Read more

You are truly well informed about this topic www.digitalhikes.com/…/pitampura.html… I got so…

 Read more
Judith Robertson

sorry last few visits the food was very dissapointing need to do better than one free glass of…

 Read more

Cool post very informative. I just found your site and read through a few posts although this is my…

 Read more

Explore The Site

© Mark Garner t/a Confidential Direct 2022

Privacy | Careers | Website by: Planet Code