The bar is set

We’ve all been there. Sat in the new bar in the local town or city, thinking why have I brought myself here. I for one am sick of places opening promising so much, but failing to deliver on so many fronts.

There have been a fair few places over the last year that have opened, we’ve been in to give them a try and they’ve been such a let down. A regular feeling is that they have so much potential and could have been so much more. But they’re not. The likes of Everybody’s Social in our local town, Editors Draught in Leeds city centre and most recently Cafe Choux Choux at Keighley station. There is now another place to add to the ever growing list, Ten Bar, Duncan Street, Leeds. I am not one to often feel the need to post after every disappointing visit to a new venue, but I’ve had enough.

Their mission statement:

Ten Gins
Ten Vodkas
Ten Rums
Ten Craft Beers/Ales
Ten Cocktails

From the outside you can definitely tell that they have spent some money on the stripped back style decor. This is where the positivity stops and it unfortunately went downhill for me.

Below is Ten Bar’s offering of 10 Craft Beers/Ales. It was disappointing to see that they had no taps, absolutely nothing at all on draught – not even a lager.


I have seen better beer selections in pubs in the middle of nowhere (a perfect opportunity for me to drop that we had Geuze Boon at The Three Stags’ Head in Derbyshire!). Its just embarrassing. The guys that have opened this have been in Leeds bars for years, but I get the feeling that they haven’t been out and looked around. Do some market research to go see what your competitors are offering, surely that’s common sense? I completely understand that every bar in Leeds doesn’t have to offer the same thing or appeal to the same audience but at least deliver what you’re offering as a base standard – and do it well.

I opted for an Easy IPA, safe choice. After what seemed like a lifetime the poor bar tender didn’t seem to know which of the eight beers was the Easy IPA and brought out a Punk IPA from the fridge; “is it this one?” Now I’m not having a go at her, its not her fault she hasn’t been properly trained on the eight (not ten) beers that are on offer here. “Would you like a glass”. Yes.


Leanne was not swayed by any of the beers so opted for a gin. Her G&T was served in a tumbler with ice. No botanicals, no nice gin glass (although a couple of other patrons had large gin goblets with what looked to be sage). The Gin scene is really strong at the moment, not just in Leeds but in the UK. Everyone has raised their game and this was just disappointing. The only plus to this was at least she got Fever Tree Tonic.

Now to pay, how do you normally pay in a bar? Oh yeah, that’s it, the server puts the amount in the till and informs you of the price. Common sense? Not here. They have decided to adopt the arena/music venue style of payment where the bar tender has to spend ages finding the bar code stuck in various locations across the back of the bar, scan the correct one then use the till to take the cash. It didn’t make for an efficient serving experience, despite being the only group at the bar, with a small three drink order. What is this madness!

You are told to support your local gaff, which I am all for, but how can you do that when places cant even get the basics right, when they promise more than they offer. Pre-opening they seemed to be doing the right thing and talking to the right people but this doesn’t seem to have followed through to fruition.

There are too many places advertising ‘craft’ when describing their range, getting away with it and thinking the job is done. Stick to the audience you want in your bar and stop trying to draw people in under false pretences. If you’re not a bar that specialises in beer then fine,but don’t tell me you are.

Leeds has set the bar, aim to meet it.


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