7 reasons (besides Brudenell & The Picture House) to revisit Hyde Park
Like listening to house music, inhaling balloons of nitrous oxide, and wearing pyjamas to the shops, living in Hyde Park is the kind of thing that seems like a lot of fun when you’re a student, but becomes an unbearable prospect as soon as you hand in your dissertation.
Post-graduation priorities shifted away from having a “sick basement”, for “like, raves and that”, and towards a having a kitchen decked out in butcher’s tiles and a Belfast sink, so you moved to Burley or Meanwood or the City Centre, only to return to Hyde Park for the occasional gig at Brudenell or film at Hyde Park Picture House.
While you’ve been away, Hyde Park has been on the come-up. Council initiatives to reduce the number of nomadic students in the area have helped establish a stable, sustainable community of young professionals and families. In response, a string of new openings have come along to tend to their young professional and family needs. These are the businesses helping Hyde Park change its reputation.
Depending on when you graduated and subsequently fled to Chapel Allerton, you might be aware of Boss already - the little burger takeaway on Brudenell Grove.
Yeah yeah, we know the area’s full of them, but Boss is the real deal: top quality ground beef cooked medium-rare, served in a toasted brioche bun, with a modest selection of toppings. Their Smokeback Mountain is one of our top three burgers, anywhere in Leeds.
Boss Burgers , 75 Brudenell Grove, Leeds LS6 1HR
Hyde Park Book Club
Calm your pedantic boots - this might be about four centimetres outside of official neighbourhood boundaries, but if they say they’re Hyde Park, then who are we to argue? Next door to the Headingley Lane fancy dress shop that supplies generations of hilare rugger lads with mankinis and morphsuits is Hyde Park Book Club, a truly multi-purpose venue.
By day it’s a cafe serving vegetarian and vegan food from Netherlands’ Veg Butcher, and a takeaway-bottle shop stocked craft beers from breweries like Mikkeller, Cloudwater, and Magic Rock. In the evenings it carries on as a licensed bar, with a downstairs space for cinema screenings, club nights and gigs. Everything but a book club, basically.
Hyde Park Book Club , 27-29 Headingley Lane, Leeds LS6 1BL
The East Village
Formerly Hukaz sheesha bar/acoustic gig space/place where you could get chips and a pint with your breakfast, 47 Brudenell Grove is now home to New York-tinged dive bar The East Village.
Atmosphere comes from the low lighting, thrown-together decor, and NY’s finest from garage rock to hip hop on the stereo, at a volume that lets you hold conversation without wailing like Joey Ramone. A great selection of beers and cocktails come from a reasonably-priced menu, served by bartenders who know their stuff. Open til the early hours, it’s everything a great dive bar should be.
The East Village , 47-49 Brudenell Grove, Leeds LS6 1H
Cobra Club Tattoo
You’d expect an average day in a student area tattoo studio to play out like a prequel to Tattoo Fixers; a carousel of young people getting knobs drawn on their bums, or bums drawn on their knobs, or worse: a “really deep” Ed Sheeran lyric. That's not the case at Cobra Club though (despite my constant inquiries about a Galway Girl sleeve)
Hidden away between La Cafetiere and Oranaise, look out for the brass, cobra-shaped door handle and head downstairs to find a versatile group of artists that cover a range of styles - from traditional and Japanese-inspired, to bright and bold neo-traditional, to delicate etching-style black and white work.
Cobra Club Tattoo, 5a The Crescent, LS6 2NW
Lupe's Cantina Mexicana
Proper sit-down restaurants is an area Hyde Park is seriously lacking in, but Lupe’s is leading the charge in style. An authentic LA-style Mexican taqueria in an authentically unglamorous location, Lupe’s is a great casual dining spot for quick pre-Brudenell dinners or a place to spend a whole evening working your way through imported beers and no-nonsense tequila cocktails.
They do some of the best tacos around, but there’s real joy in the less familiar dishes on the menu, so be adventurous. See here for our full, gushing review
Lupe's Cantina Mexicana , 204 Cardigan Road, Leeds LS6 1LF
Pump n Grind
Hyde Park’s first dedicated espresso bar also happens to be a coffee-roasting headquarters. Pump n Grind’s stripped back, industrial cafe produces their own espresso roast which they use in drinks, as well as selling for home use in store and online.
“We want to keep everything affordable; because of our location it doesn’t mean we have to compete with places in town, so we can keep prices low, and give everybody chance to try what we do” - and despite not breaking the bank, they also donate 20% of their profits to local homeless organisation St George’s Crypt, too. Check out our full feature on them here
Pump n Grind , 52 Brudenell Road, Leeds LS6 1BD
Anybody who’s found themselves in a Hessle Mount house party at 4am knows what an invaluable resource Cardigan Road Co-op is for tinnies, Old Jamaica, and chewing gum to get you through several hours of a bedroom DJ blending a Jamie XX song into another Jamie XX song. And for that, we’re eternally grateful.
When times aren’t so desperate though, Liquor Village next door is open until 11pm. You’ll have noticed it when you were a student, but you probably didn’t realise that it low-key has one of the best craft beers selections in all of Leeds with old favourites and deep cuts from breweries like Thornbridge, Brooklyn, Beavertown, and loads more. As well as beers, the shelves behind the counter are practically buckling under the range of speciality spirits for loan-day impulse purchases...
Liquor Village, 134 Cardigan Road, Leeds LS6 1LU