They Brew it, I sell it, You Drink it... and so do I..

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Ghosties Favourite Leeds Bars Volume 8

On such an amazing day as we had yesterday, I thought it would be good to take the bike and visit one of my favourite pubs, which is probably the furthest away from my place of residence. (the first drink was much appreciated!)

Yes yesterday I visited one of the greats:

"But the Cross Keys isn't in Leeds though it's in Holbeck"  I hear you cry! Well that doesn't matter too much to me really if you know where exactly it is. And it can be a tricky place to find too as there's a water lane in Leeds as-well, so make sure you sat-nav the right one. From the outward appearance, I'll be honest, you're confronted with what looks like someone's house. I'm pretty sure we both even have the same front door! But as we all know (if you've been following these bar/pub volumes) - it's not what's on the outside that counts.

It's what's on the inside were looking for:

The Keys has an interesting but not unfamiliar bar. It's split in two by a wall separating two rooms. It's very welcoming and spacious, and with the addition of another bar upstairs there's a good chance of getting served quickley. (but more on that in a bit)
Their selection of 4 cask lines and 8 keg lines will always have something interesting to offer. Today's selections for me were some Roosters Citra, Great Newsome Pricky Back Otchan (that's a hedgehog to me and you) and one from a brewery that I'm unfamiliar with - an oat stout from Nook Brewhouse. All beers were in perfect condition, I've never had a bad pint at the Keys, although I'm not sure I had them in the right order; refreshing as it was my taste-buds were a little fuzzed after starting with the tasty Roosters Citra! A vast selection of international bottles is available as well, but that's come to be expected from a a North owned pub. After a bit of a chat with the friendly bar staff, I found that the Cross Keys has only been open for around 5/6 years now. I was blown away, I remember coming here a few years back and you just got the impression that this place had been here forever!

Great as the beer may be, I think the Keys will be more famed for the quality and choice of food they serve. So epic is the choice they need 4 menus! One for lunch, dinner, pudding and sunday lunch. Now unfortunately I didn't have time to sit down for anything, but these would be my choices to make you start salivating:

For lunch there's a great selection of light sandwiches, but if you wanted something a little bigger the Roosters beer battered pollack accompanied by all the trimmings would go down a treat!

Interesting decor.
Come dinner time you get a vast selection of starters and mains. The ox cheek casserole with horseradish dumplings and spinach sounded fantastic.

The menu for the puddings left me wanting. Who would turn their nose up at some walnut and whisky tart served with honeyed clotted cream, elysium and black muscat?? Bliss....

Sunday lunch is proper sunday lunch, nuff said. Check the board below for more tantalizing feasts. The pub is very proud of their food, and very pleased to serve 'traditional british food' and state that they're not just another 'Gastro pub!'

If your looking for a treat as-well they make and package their own special chutneys on site!

The big party piece for the pub has to be the James Watt Room, their upstairs bar as mentioned before. An interesting story was revealed to me about the name of this room. Apparently back when the building was an Inn in the 1700's there were 2 rival engineers in the area; James Watt and Matthew Walker. The story goes that James got all of Matthew's workers pissed in this room and stole all of their ideas!! So the room got it's name for that and aptly so as people continue to get pissed here on a daily basis. (I don't really mean pissed, I just mean socially relaxed)

The room is very often used as a venue for certain beer events, such as beer and food tastings set up by specific breweries, or in the case as it was today, an Erdinger beer tasting night - looks festive yes? I have been to a couple of the events myself, such as the Dogfish Head beer and food evening and the Sierra Nevada night. Both were fantastic occasions to meet new people, eat great food and drink wonderful beer. If you want to book out the James Watt room for yourself, then give them a call on 0113 243 3711 or just get on the web at

That's my number eight then, who knows how many more of these I can fit into the mass volume posts. I reckon they could be endless due to the amount of great places there are to drink in Leeds. It's places like this that you don't visit, you experience them. Get yourself down here, and create your own experience!

The Cross Keys, Holbeck, West Yorkshire, LS11 5WD
Opening hours: Midday everyday till; Mon - Thursday: 11pm
                                                      Fri & Sat: 12-midnight
                                                             Sun: 10:30pm


  1. this place is literally 200 metres from my flat!

    Such a great place but the price of the Sunday lunch menu is a little ridiculous. £150 for rib of beef? Even if it does serve 6 thats still a little rich for my blood.

    When did you visit? Might have to pop in for a Rooster's Citra on my way home from work!

  2. Neil - I suppose but I've heard it's quite a feast, and if you have 10 of you it's not too bad at £15 each. I was in on Monday so the citra should still be on, Jealous of your abode siting btw!

  3. +1 from me. A great place. Was very pleased to find it when I was new in Leeds.

  4. I've been recommended this place quite a few times by people. The North bar always has something decent on.

  5. and the quiz dont forget
    Although it is adult !

  6. Yes they do have the regular Sunday quiz. Never had the pleasure though so not sure what makes it specifically 'adult' :)