In the interest of assuring you I do actually have a life beyond gardening and gasping for breath, I’m gonna tell you about my Sunday night out!
We’ve been meaning to go to The Domino in Leeds ever since it opened a few months ago. Sunday night, it being the bank holiday weekend, we thought we’d give it a whirl. Plus the featured band was one I follow on Instagram so it seemed like a good idea to check them out in real life.
The Domino is billed as an underground drinking den, and it literally is underground. There’s a sense of secrecy about it, as you enter through an unmarked door at the back of the barbers in the Grand Arcade, manned by an amiable bouncer. But as you descend the stairs to the basement, it’s clear it’s not that secret, because it’s crammed with people. Still, the illusion is fun.
The bar is well stocked with bottled beers and spirits (with the usual high prices you expect in city centre pubs and clubs). It would benefit from at least one beer or lager on tap, but other than that it’s fine. The bar staff will make you a very fancy and complicated cocktail if that’s in your budget, but we made do with a couple of the least expensive bottles of lager.
The decor is just about right. A nod to mid-century design without being too much of a pastiche, banquettes, nice lighting, comfy, clean and not a sign – that I could see – of that by now very cliched “industrial chic” that pervades every other bar in town. The loos are on the same floor as the bar. Phew! (This is a very important consideration for someone with dodgy lungs). Though I’m not sure how you’d access it if you don’t do stairs at all.
The punters were a mix of ages, which is always good to see. I don’t mind hanging out in “young” bars, but I’d prefer not to be old enough to be everyone‘s mum! The Domino’s usual musical fair is jazz and blues (which is great in my book) but Sunday night had a 50’s theme, and the band were Howlin’ Ric and the Rocketeers . If you like a bit of proper old fashioned rock n roll, which I do, then you’ll like these guys. There were just enough old rockabilly types in the audience to get a bit of table dancing going towards the end of the set! Not me, I hasten to add, I’d need more than a couple of cheap(ish) bottles of lager for shennanigans like that.
All things considered, we loved this bar and will definitely go again. Leeds is full of bars and clubs and the choice is massive, but it’s still great to find a new one you like, and with live music too.
We left in time for our last bus home. Come on, we’re a middle aged couple in need of our sleep! And anyway, it’s a bit of an expensive do getting a cab. In fact, always mindful of bank balances and unpaid bills, we started off our evening in The Angel, the ridiculously cheap Sam Smith’s pub on Briggate. It’s a proper pub, everything they sell is Sam Smith’s branded, right down to the peanuts, and you can get a round in for a fiver. If you’re missing old fashioned pubs and old fashioned prices, you could do worse than The Angel.
The Domino has a great repertoire of bands coming up too. If you want to give it a go, I could pretty much guarantee that the band Who Knows on 14th September will be a stonker because the superb Nik Svarc is the guitarist in it.
There you go, a proper middle aged evening out, with live music, secret bars, and still home before we turn into pumpkins.
Overheard convo of the night (in The Angel): “There’s not really anywhere to go in Leeds these days is there. This is just about the only place to drink nowadays.”