Head of Steam is a unique location that appeals to a whole range of people. This being my first visit I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the new Power Up floor simply proves that this is one of the standout watering holes in Headingley.
The first thing you notice about Head of Steam is the elegance of the place. It has been decorated with style and panache, and the whole upstairs area has been designed to fit the Power Up event’s 80s feel. Retro arcade machines line one wall, whilst classic American pool and an interactive darts board make sure you are always entertained.
Power Up is based around retro gaming and one particular corner, which provided classic consoles such as the ever popular N64 hooked up to vintage TVs, threw me right back to my childhood and nails the nostalgic feeling. Shuffleboard, beer pong and Pac Man are also available and will provide hours of fun to the casual gamer, or someone looking for a blast from the past.
Being a craft ale house, the selection of beers at Head of Steam is as good as you would expect it to be. Four ales are on offer, enough to cater for everyone’s preference, but the one that stood out to me was the Road Crew ale. This American style pale ale is one of the best I have come across and is a perfect selection to fit the atmosphere. A variety of wines and other beverages are also on offer, as well as soft drinks.
It would be difficult to visit Head of Steam and not end up talking about the food. The particular dishes that stood out for me were the American Burger and the Nachos. Head of Steam’s unique take on these classic American dishes ensures they are delicious – and the portion sizes are just enough to satisfy but still leave room for more ale. There was also a meat-free dipping dog for any vegetarians, and the unique mix of mustard and ketchup wrapped round a fried hotdog was a standout option.
The atmosphere at the Power Up event was very impressive for an opening night. Within 45 minutes of arriving the place was packed with people. However, despite the popularity and bustle of the place, the staff made sure you were never waiting too long for a drink. Everyone that was working was very friendly and helpful, checking that no-one was occupying any of the arcade games for too long if there was a queue, and the bar staff were filled with knowledge and recommendations about which beer to drink.
One thing that really stood out for me was the music. The first couple of hours were accompanied by a clever mix of 80s music. Fleetwood Mac led to Guns n Roses, and classics from Van Morrison and Billy Joel filled the venue with a great atmosphere. For the last hour of the night the 80s classics were taken over by a band performing downstairs.
The staff, food, drinks and activities on offer really make this a unique night out in Leeds for anybody who likes beer and good music. With the newly renovated upstairs area now open every day, this venue is certain to prove attractive to a wide variety of customer.