I will go on the record as saying there are three indicators of someone who is untrustworthy and generally a person to avoid at all costs. Number one: someone who shortens your names down after meeting you only once – my name is only two syllables long, so don’t assume familiarity you bell-end! Number two: someone who speaks about themselves in the 3rd person. President Trump does this. Enough said. And number three: someone who says that they don’t like cocktails. I mean, seriously, what is there not to like? It’s the adults’ version of a pick and mix. With endless opportunities for combinations and concoctions and even more opportunities of a blinding hangover the next day (always drink responsibly kids!). Not for everyday consumption, I agree, but so much fun every now and then. If you don’t like cocktails, you need to take a long hard look at yourself: there’s a chance you may be dead inside.
Now I mention blinding hangover as a word of warning, as I suffered this cocktail induced malady for the benefit of Hey Leeds readers (you’re welcome) when I was invited to sample some of the drinks at the new Be At One bar which has opened on Boar Lane. Normally I’m a woman of self-restraint and control but the quality and quantity of the drinks broke my normally steely resolve and I have to say, I enjoyed every minute of it.
If the name Be At One sounds familiar, it’s because it is not the first bar of the incredibly popular chain to have opened in Leeds, with the North’s first Be At One opening less than two years ago just off Millennium Square. Already a hugely successful brand in London, Leeds’ revival over the last few years with the opening of Trinity and the First Direct Arena has meant that the independent cocktail scene in the city is bigger and better than ever. However, with so many great cocktail bars in Leeds, like The Alchemist, Blind Tyger and The Maven, how can Be At One measure up?
I think the main selling point of the bar and brand is the immense size and scope of the cocktail menu. In fact, it’s less of a menu and more of a cocktail bible, with a flavour wheel at the finest, able to guide you to an appropriate aperitif to whet your whistle. With a separate page for every type of drink you could ever imagine, Be At One certainly cater for the customer – I defy anyone to not be able to find a drink they want to try. Also, if you are like me and love a bit of wordplay and humour with your booze, you won’t be disappointed in the choice of drink names. Whether it’s an Irish Disco Biscuit, Show me the Monkey, Swedish Death Nettle, Jager Mega Drive and You So Sake, your pun-gun will be firing on all cylinders.
If you are wondering how I managed to cultivate such a stinking hangover, my evening’s drinks consisted of a Killing Monica, a Pina De Plata, a Buenot (cunningly named as to skirt copyrighting laws from the Kinder confectioners), a Pan Am, and Almond Mocha, a Chica Caliente, a Popster, a Shaky Pete’s, a Jäger Mega Drive, a Svenska Detox and a Pollos Hermanos, which I created myself with the help from the lovely bar staff. Now I didn’t drink the entire glass of each of these (honest guv’nor) but I had a taste of each and towards the end, they were all so delicious that I was definitely finishing off our testers…my memory got slightly hazy around then. If I was to pinpoint a high and low point on the menu, the low point would be the Virtuous page, just because I feel that ‘healthy’ cocktails are oxymoronic – if you are having a cocktail, enjoy it – don’t worry about if you are getting your five a day. The Svenska detox, whilst having Absolut Citron in it, did summon up the feeling of what I imagine the inside of a lawnmower would taste like. Not pleasant but maybe gym bunnies and fans of kale smoothies (eurgh!) would like it.
The highlight was the choice of gin, whisky, tequila and mezcal drinks, with the potent Pollos Hermanos, a blend of mezcal, apricot brandy, fresh lime and agave syrup, sending me into a marvellous Mexican oblivion.
I tried so many cocktails that night and, from looking at the menu, I haven’t even scraped the surface. They also do the classics really well too, with the Pornstar Martini being one of Be At One’s biggest sellers, with 5.8 million being sold last year. Wow, that must have been a hangover from hell.
Not only does the menu need to be seen to be believed, but the staff at the Boar Lane bar were amazingly friendly and made us feel very welcome. One barman even remixed a Sherbet cocktail for us using cherry flavouring, which was so addictive that we christened it ‘Cheroin’. Just one hit and you’re hooked. It was the level of expertise and knowledge that the bar staff had about the drinks that they were serving, as well as the down to earth attitude, which made it a bar I will definitely visit again. I mean, the guys even climbed on the bar and did a Leeds version of Coyote Ugly for us. That’s top quality customer service, right there!Nestled just opposite Trinity, and within a merciful walking distance of taxi ranks and the train station Be At One’s new bar is a valued edition to the cocktail scene in Leeds and offers a tipple for everyone’s taste buds.
Nestled just opposite Trinity, and within a merciful walking distance of taxi ranks and the train station Be At One’s new bar is a valued edition to the cocktail scene in Leeds and offers a tipple for everyone’s taste buds.