To outsiders, the UK has thriving electronic music scenes, but the most notable are largely in London, Liverpool and Manchester. Leeds, one of the biggest cities in England may not stand out as much to an outsider, but it has a strong history and cultural pride. Mint Club in Leeds announced earlier this year it was closing after 20 years of serving clubbers because their area is being redeveloped and landlords wanted them out. Their legacy will live on in Mint Warehouse, a series of big shows that started in 2012. In addition to the warehouse, they are throwing Mint Festival at the Leeds East Airport. It will include names like Claptone, Enzo Siragusa & Fuse, MK, Gorgon City and more.
With the festival coming, Bobby O’Donnell, Mint Festival resident dropped by for a City Guide to show you all of the places to grab a drink, see music and more in the city.
We all like a good drink, so where are the top spots to head to before a night out?
We certainly do all love a good drink! Leeds is littered with the best watering holes this side of The Pennines but I will always come back to Distrikt. It’s just a bar with too many plus points - the best DJs in the world and always free entrance, amazing booze, the bar staff are all very lovely and its rarely shut! I’d add to that list The Doghouse and The 212 for exactly the same reasons. Three decent bars and all with a common ethos regarding music and booze!
Where can you find the best clubs / late night venues in town?
Mint Warehouse, not only because I’m one of the residents but also because it brings the best artists to town. The terrace they have there is becoming a thing of legend and soon it will be refurbished and will kick even harder.
Brunches are a weekend staple, which spots stand out to you?
To be honest, I’m not really a brunch kind of guy but I have been to House of Koko in Chapel Allerton and thoroughly enjoyed the food, coffee and cakes they have there. That and they have a lovely outdoor terrace.
Best dirty late-night street food option?
Al Babas, across from The Doghouse. Best by miles - To be honest its not that dirty but it should be!
Where can we shop for records and music memorabilia in Leeds?
Tribe on Kirkgate and Released Records in The Corn Exchange. Tribe has a lot of new releases and it’s so very carefully selected, it’s worth going in weekly. Again Released Records are always buying peoples collections and, if you have the time, then go there for a good few hours and you’ll unearth some rare gems. It also has a lot of memorabilia and artifacts there.
Your Sunday escape plan when you need to get away from it all?
Probably a short drive out to Knaresborough, it’s a lovely town near Harrogate. That or Golden Acre Park. Great for some headspace.
Something everyone should do when visiting Leeds, but probably hasn’t?
I’d say look up (seriously), the city is awash with beautiful architecture.
What are other great exports that come from Leeds?
Paul Woodford, Gang of Four, Tristan Da Cunha, Scritti Politti and the Tetley’s Brewery.