Just don't forget to see some bands, too...
Thanks to street food raising the bar when it comes to eating things served out of a vehicle, the cliche of crap festival food is a distant memory. The war is over, the battlefield is strewn with greasy chow mein and not much change from a tenner, but we won.
Metropolitan festivals like Live at Leeds come with a different set of obstacles though - expecting people to fend for themselves in a new city, or unfamiliar parts of home soil. To help you resist the temptation of McDonalds poundsaver menu, here are the best places to eat and drink within walking distance of all of this year's Live at Leeds venues.
Brudenell Social Club
Who’s playing? - The Moonlandingz, The Big Moon, Trudy and the Romance, Dream Wife, Howl
This one’s easy - we published a whole article a couple of weeks ago about Hyde Park’s glow-up , so I won’t repeat myself too much. Sela Bar’s Pizza Bus will be slinging them out all day long like it’s the world frisbee championship, but if you want to escape the crowds then head to Brudenell Grove, wolf down a Smokeback Mountain from Boss Burger, and revive yourself with a Hanako-San from The East Village on your way back, which is a Japanese take on a Bloody Mary using coriander-infused vodka and spiced with wasabi.
If you’ve got a bit more time spare and fancy a proper sit-down, I can’t speak highly enough of Lupe’s Cantina for tacos and margaritas - read our full review here
Belgrave Music Hall, The Social
Who’s playing? - Sinead Harnett, Chinah, Gang of Youths
Belgrave has got one of the best line-ups of any venue at this year’s festival, so luckily there’s plenty of food variety in and around the gaff. Start your day off with one of The Greedy Pig’s famous, nationally-acclaimed brunch dishes before heading to the first band. Dough Boys slicery and Patty Smiths burgers have got you covered for quick bites between bands.
Nearby Japanese restaurant SushiWaka does some of the best sushi and ramen in Leeds for a bit of a casual dine, any if you run out of bands to watch you can create your own entertainment in the karaoke bar upstairs.
Who’s playing? - Strong Asian Mothers, Saint PHNX, Haus, Otzeki
The size and set-up of Headrow House means you could spend the whole day in there without getting bored - start with Korean fried chicken or a cauliflower shawarma flatbread for brunch in Ox Club, top up your farmer’s tan on the roof terraces with a few cocktails from Redondo Beach, and then finish the day off with Box Club steak frites and a pilsner in the beer hall. There’s even some bands playing at some point.
Who’s playing? - Gabrielle Aplin, Lewis Watson, Jake Isaac
It’d be blasphemy to go to Holy Trinity without immersing yourself in the other holy trinity: okra fries, craft beer, and tikka paneer just around the corner at Bundobust. Be honest, that’s 90% of the reason you decided to come to Leeds for the day, isn’t it?
Failing that, Holy Trinity is right next to Trinity Leeds shopping centre, head to Trinity Kitchen on the top floor and nip over to Pizza Loco for some authentic Neapolitan-style pizza wood-fired inside the bellows of a steam engine.
Who’s playing? - Teleman, She Drew The Gun, Amber Arcades
It might not be the liveliest end of town, but you've still got a few options nearby. If you're coming at it from the city centre then it's the perfect opportunity to check out the street food traders in Kirkgate Market's new hall that you've been meaning to visit for nearly a year now. You can't go wrong with the ever-reliable Manjit's Kitchen, who now has the added bonus of stocking some banging Magic Rock and Thornbridge beers to help you along your way.
Closer to the venue you've got Cafe 164 at Munro House serving breakfast until 1pm, and coffees, cakes, and sandwiches until 6.
Stylus & Refectory + Faversham, Lending Rooms, Church, Chapel
Who’s playing? - Rag’n’Bone Man, Nothing But Thieves, AJ Tracey, Adian Coker, Frightened Rabbit, Let’s Eat Grandma
Considering the perimeter that these venues cover, the pickings for nearby food options are ridiculously slim. Even the University grounds, which sees tens of thousands of students pass through every day, has worse amenities than a motorway service station.
Venture out a bit to Opposite cafe and Bakery 164, which are open until 5pm for brunch, lunch, and coffee. Later on into the night, Shawarma just off Woodhouse Lane (opposite The Library) does dependable shawarma (naturally) and falafel wraps.
Nation of Shopkeepers, The Key Club, O2 Academy
Who’s playing? - Superfood, Slaves, DMAs, Vant
Shopkeepers recent refurb also saw them refine their food menu, which specialises in the kind of comfort food that pairs perfectly with being a bit drunk. Beef rib burgers are loaded with cheese and bacon, chicken comes either fried or spatchcocked, and there’s something called the Dirty Sanchez, which is a shameless mix of hash browns, tortilla chips, cheese sauce, and fresh chillies.
A short walk away is MyThai, whose, er, “efficient” service means you won’t be sat around missing any bands while waiting to order a Pad See Ew, or if you’ve got a bit of time to spare then nip to Bulgogi Grill and cook your own steak, fish, and vegetables at the table, Korean style.
Leeds Beckett Student Union
Who’s playing? - Wild Beasts, Jagwar Ma, Flamingods
It’s 8pm. Headline slots are drawing near and you need some sustenance to see you through til the end. Five minutes in one direction, the campus Tesco Express has two 28-hour old, beaten-up sarnies left in the fridge. Five minutes the other direction; Almost Famous. Maybe flip a coin...