Veteran of the Leeds bar scene, master of mixology and home of late night beats, Jake’s Bar and Still Room is changing the face of Call Lane drinking.
With a dazzling new cocktail menu featuring 24 wild and wonderful concoctions dreamt up by the bartenders themselves, the joint is setting a new precedent in personality on those well-trodden cobbles.
The new menu itself is a thing of beauty. 14 pages of bespoke illustration and personal stories bring the bar team to life, making it feel like each of them is delivering a personal pitch as you peruse – telling you why their drink is the one for you, and throwing in a few questionable anecdotes as they do. It’s cute.
There’s a fair amount of innovation going on in the aforementioned 14 pages, but some old favourites do make an appearance – even if just in the name of inspiration. There’s an espresso martini with mango vermouth and honey rum, a gin old fashioned and a daiquiri with strawberry vermouth – but the more out-there choices aren’t far away.
Try Imogen’s Orient & Occident for a perfumey blend of lychee and pear, shaken with egg white for that signature smoothness, or be brave and try Alex’s Glasgow Kiss (whisky, Irn Bru and bitters) for a spot of strictly taste-bud-based violence.
My highlights were the delicate – not to mention very pretty – Rhubarb and Ginger Fizz (Prosecco, gin, rhubarb, etc; you know the drill), and Adam’s Pisco Inferno, where pisco meets vermouth and peach liqueur enters the mix for that bit of sweetness.
The bespoke caricatures of each mixologist smile from each page of drinks, and if you feel overwhelmed by choice, you can read their perhaps-not-completely-factually-accurate bios too. Particular standout moments include an anecdote about mango body butter, the bold claim that one of the Alexes was raised by wolves, and the description of Hamish’s laugh as resembling a hyena being severed in two. No more spoilers. I promise.
On launch night, it’s a delight to see Jake’s Bar as its chilled out, less raucous self. Come by early doors for a tipple or two, and you’ll find a very different world from the one you half-remember from 2am that time in freshers’ week. Sitting in front of a monstrous selection of spirits, there’s the surprising feeling you might have discovered a little secret.
We finish the night with a boldly named Dirty Little Pornstar – a nod to the classic martini, this time with egg white and a chaser of prosecco in slushie form – and a Clean Slate, which combines tequila, apple liqueur, plum, ginger, Chambord and tonic. Whether the ‘clean slate’ part is a nod to its refreshing taste, or an indication of the state of your memory after several, I can’t confirm.
The consensus? A Jake’s Bar cocktail is most certainly worth a go. Pick your moment, give yourself time to have a good read, chat to the bar tenders (they’re lovely) and treat yourself. You deserve it.
All photographs by Kate Ryrie.