The Fresher's Guide to Leeds

Welcome to Leeds: the party capital of the North. Prepare to spend the next three years freezing your tits off in Canal Mills, running away from sports socials, and reveling in the rivalry between Uni of Leeds and Leeds Beckett. If that doesn’t sound like your wildest Uni dreams come true, don’t worry – for every 6 am rager the club scene has to offer, there’s a shit-hot band thrumming away in one of the city’s intimate live music venues. Whatever tickles your fancy, we’ve sussed out the tastiest grub, biggest nights and best boozers the city has to offer and stuck it in this handy Leeds city guide.

Weekly Wonders

Donuts

Thursdays | The Faversham

Looking for a midweek sweetener? Well then, Thursdays at The Faversham will suit you down to the ground. Serving up an unforgettable mash-up of old and new tunes (as well as the doughy-ringed wonders themselves), Donuts will leave you in something of a satisfied mess come Friday morning.

Sticky Feet

Fridays | The Warehouse

A staple for students, Sticky Feet explores all things bass every Friday. Looking beyond the brutally honest description of itself (it really is sticky AF up in there), prepare yourself for one hell of a Friday night out and a very slow Saturday morning.

Mint Mondays

Mondays | Mint Club

Mint has ensured banging nights, crippling hangovers and missed lectures for as long as Leedsfolk can remember. Expect multiple genres across many rooms, and special guest DJs to keep you moving till the early hours.

Move On Up

Wednesday | HiFi

Not much of a Sports Night type? Prefer your Netflix to your netball? Your Ben & Jerry’s to your whey Protein? Get your funky ass down to Hifi for their weekly dose of throwback soul and motown instead. Expect some absolute classics like Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Etta James, The Supremes handing out one-way tickets for the sooooouuul train!

Projekt Saturdays

Saturdays | O2 Academy

You only get one Saturday a week (sadly), so use it wisely. With pyrotechnics, giant LED screens, CO2 jets, confetti cannons and international DJ bookings, you could do worse than spend this one at the O2. All weeks, however long, lead to Projekt.

Kellerbomb

Wednesdays | Bierkeller

We all know that the Germans get it very right when it comes to the size of their drinking vessels, but Kellerbomb proves that their prices are on point too. Drop by the Bavarian boozer on student night for £2 pints, £4 steins and super cheap spirits, as well as free prizes and shots if you dress up on a theme night!

Mischief

Wednesdays | The Warehouse

Mischief by name, mischievous by nature. Wednesdays nights at The Warehouse means feel-good vibes, cheeky themes, and the best in house, hip-hop, and funk.

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Going Underground

High Rise

Beaver Works

Champions of the new school wave of sound system culture in Leeds, High Rise are renowned for bringing festival worthy lineups in to the club. Their marathon-long events represent the full range of the bass music spectrum, with past guests including General Levy, Aba Shanti-I, Stand High Patrol, Newham Generals and Oneman.

Clarks

HiFi

Dancehall queens make yourself known! If getting down ’n’ dirty to the sweet sounds of bashment, soca and dancehall is your thing, then look no further than Clark’s for the best selectors in the business. Every event is decked out with Caribbean decor as the loyal crowd twerk, shake and back it up to the high energy carnival sounds of Vybz Kartel, Beenie Man and more. Irie.

Future Tribes

Various Locations

Bringing all the ingredients you’d expect from a top quality bass night, Future Tribes offers just the tonic for ravers who like their music to register on the Richter scale.

Overflow

Wire

This famed Leeds-based DnB label put on some of the naughtiest shubz in the city. Their nights always offer an abundance of good vibes, tunes, and people, making Overflow a true stalwart of Leeds’ underground lineup.

Arcane

Wire

Arcane offers the illest of DnB in one of Leeds’ most established underground spots. You’re guaranteed to have an unforgettable night with the Arcane crew, just as sure as you’ll skip that Wednesday morning lecture.

Primal Sound

Various Locations

Transforming underground spaces across the North of England into overgrown jungles, Primal Sound is an immersive experience soundtracked by esteemed house & disco selectors from across the globe. Previous bookings include Joey Negro, The Shapeshifters and Purple Disco Machine.

Flux

Beaver Works

What started as a one-off party has grown into a blog and event series that has positioned Flux at the forefront of the UK house, techno and disco scenes. Their stellar reputation has earned them spots at festivals across Europe including Dimensions, Garden, Snowbombing and Virgo, as well as sell out day & night parties in London. DJ Mag boosted their rep even further by nominating them for the UK’s Best Club Night, it probably helped that their home grown resident roster includes exciting talents Dan Shake and Voyeur. 

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Big Events

Mint Festival

September | Stockdale Estate, Wetherby

This annual end of summer shindig will leave your ear drums thumping and your liver a little battered. However, it’s an unmissable way to start your time as a citizen of one of the country’s greatest clubbing scenes. The day festy brings some of the world’s biggest names in house & techno to a site outside the city, but don’t forget the after parties that boot off until the sun comes up, we’ll see you front left.

Leeds Rag Fashion Show

Leeds University

Milan, Paris, London, eat your hearts out – Leeds’ annual Rag charity fashion show is an exemplification of the finest designs and nattiest threads going. If fashion isn’t your thing, then toned, bronzed tummies will surely satisfy. And if you hate beautiful clothes and beautiful people, give a li’l something to a good cause whilst getting hammered.

Good Life

Beaver Works

These hedonistic theme parties go all out, every single time. Don’t miss their end of year Caribbean Carnival, the waviest way to finish off the season and kick-start the summer. Having worked hard (or not…), it’s a chance to let your hair down and live it up with 11 hours of music, jerk chicken, mind-blowing production and dancing to the sounds of disco, reggae, dancehall, hip hop and garage. Did we mention the best looking crowd in Leeds? You’ll thank us later.

Varsity Rugby

January–October | Headingley Carnegie Stadium

Know the difference between a ruck and a maul? Or where a grubber goes? Or what you’re meant to do with a prop? Who really gives a shit anyway? The Varsity Rugby match between Uni and Beckett is more about screaming all the words your nan would slap you for using, while sipping on grandpa’s cough syrup.

Uni Ski Trip

Whilst mixing copious quantities of alcohol and steep slopes might not seem like a great idea, the annual ski trip has remained a debaucherous stalwart of the academic year for good reason. Start saving early for this one, but don’t worry it’s worth a piste basher’s weight in gold (and banter).

Leeds Ball

Campus | June

Uni Of students, this is your night to splash out and let loose. Famed for banging line-ups, extravagant themes, and lip-smacking street food, Leeds Ball does a bang-up job of giving you the best summer send-off.

The Garden Party

Bank Holiday Weekends | Various Locations

Everyone knows that the best things come in threes, that’s why The Garden Party’s off-the-scale get-togethers take place over three bank holiday weekends. The unique trilogy occurs in a large marquee on the terrace at The Faversham, giving party-goers the chance to soak up some sun whilst listening to some of the greatest electronic music acts from around the world. Having launched over ten years ago, TGP has built a reputation for wild parties and formidable lineups. Previous bookings included Zip, The Martinez Brothers, Matthias Tanzmann and Bicep.

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Hidden Gems

Treehouse

Despite what their name might suggest, the frankly filthy underground tunes played at Treehouse are neither natural nor homely. Throwing events in Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield this independent record label and arts collective known for their niche club nights where the emphasis is firmly placed on the music. Spectacular in-house talent, combined with carefully sourced guests, make Treehouse the destination of choice for the more musically-oriented ravers.

‘80s Vice City

Suspect hair does, the rise of MTV, shoulder pads and Madonna. It’s fair to say the 80s were a golden era on earth, and who remembers the synthed-up pop bangers thumping out of every boom box in sight? Well, maybe not you but luckily 80s Vice City is here to pump up the jam and blast iconic tribute anthems all night long.

The Great British Drake Off

Various Locations

It does exactly what it says on the tin. Join this punny bunch of DJs as they whip up their favourite Drizzy tunes and sprinkled a dash of everyone’s fav musical flavour. Mel and Sue step aside pls.

Butter Side Up

The Wire Club

While it’s okay to be blissfully ignorant of Butter Side Up’s raunchy meaning, it is simply criminal to have never experienced the unabated sickness of their parties. House, techno and disco are all fair game here so go and shake it down to the BSU residents and special guest spinners.

20/20 Vision

Headrow House

20/20 parties are a heartfelt embrace to Leeds’ unwavering community of electronic music lovers. Sourcing quality performers from around the globe, the 20/20 connoisseurs have rightfully gained a reputation for hosting some of the city’s best nights. Don’t risk the FOMO on this one, hindsight’s 20/20

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Best Boozers

The Original Oak

Otley Road

Boasting one of the largest beer gardens in Leeds, it’s a no-brainer where we’ll be ordering a cold one during the two days of sunshine this year. If that doesn’t float your boat, stick your pasty face in front of their big screen and catch some of the best sporting action.

Hyde Park Pub

Headingley Lane 

A pound a pint on a Tuesday? I’ll take that thank you very much.

The Skyrack

St Michael’s Rd

Much the same as Skyrim, or Skyscanner, the Skyrack fits neatly into the category of things we’d recommend with the word Sky in them. Having given me as many hours of joy as the former, and saved me more money than the latter, I think this humble pub may even top the list.

The Brudenell Social Club

Queen’s Rd

More than just an old boys social club, this humble purveyor of booze boasts one of the city’s finest music venues as well as a good sized snooker hall. So, whether it’s a quiet pint, a loud band, or a hole to stick some balls into, look no further than the Brudenell.

The Royal Park

Queen’s Rd

It’s safe to say this pub doesn’t exactly reek of royalty, what with the reasonably priced drinks and student-friendly location. What it does have is a lively atmosphere and massive projectors playing football. So do one Will and Haz.

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Cheap Eats

Boss Burgers

Brudenell Grove

If you like your meat squashed into a patty and wedged between two pieces of bread, you can’t go wrong with Boss Burgers. From the finest smoky bacon and Yorkshire cheddar or the halloumi option for the veggies out there, everyone is welcome. 

HFC

Brudenell Road

You’re in for a treat with HFC. Wings spiced to perfection, and thighs fried to a tender crisp. We all know what the body’s craving after a big night out.

Pizza La Fonte

Burley St

Sinking your teeth into one of Pizza La Fonte’s 11-inchers, you’ll know exactly why they say pizza was invented in Italy, but made in Leeds. Should you be craving something more, you can also grab yourself a side of chicken wings, a juicy burger or a lamb kebab.

Sicily’s

Canal Rd

Chicken and melted cheese go together like RnB – in sweet harmony. And with a splash of Sicily’s garlic mayo on top, you’re sure to rediscover that long-lost baby weight. Damn, don’t you wear it well though.

Pitza-Cano

Queen’s Rd

‘Visionaries’ and ‘before their time’, are just some of the platitudes that in no way go far enough to express what Pizza Cano is as a culinary establishment. With pizzas such as the ‘Flying duck’ and the ‘Bolognese chin dripper’, there’s little doubt that Pizza Cano are pushing the boundaries of what a Neapolitan would find acceptable. But we’re in Leeds, and it’s delicious, so fuck tradition.

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