A third Red Door bar is now serving up ‘badass’ cocktails in Leeds
It is seven years since the first Red Door neighbourhood cocktail bar was opened in West Kirby on the Wirral, followed by more in Chester, Liverpool and Manchester. It was created by Tim Bacon, the late, great founder of Living Ventures and The Living Room bars, with two other entrepreneurs, Dave Hinds and Lee Lynch. While West Kirby and Manchester’s sites have gone, Red Door is powering ahead with a new Red Door in Call Lane in Leeds.
The 200-capacity bar has been created in the former site of party venue Hirst’s Yard in a building that was once a cotton warehouse, making the most of some of the original features. It has again been created with Living Ventures’ resident designer Rebecca Rayson, sticking to a formula that has worked at other sites. The subtly lit space mixes “faded glamour with a dash of neon sleaze”, taking inspiration from US dive bars, with natural materials, wrought iron and an eclectic mix of original artwork, sourced through interiors specialist LTC.
Cocktails remain the focus, with managing director Lee previously working with Tim to open many of The Living Room bars as well as Prohibition in Leeds. “Leeds’ bar culture has always been rooted in good-quality drinks and cocktails,” Lee says. “People here have always been passionate for the industry and taken a career in bartending seriously. I’m very excited to come back to Leeds.”
To tie in with the new launch, they have revamped the menu, reducing the list to 18 signature cocktails, although all bartenders are trained in how to make 100 classics. Devised by members of the bar team, they include the Maya Blossom, a blue-hued mix of Ketel One Citron Vodka, peach, elderflower and lemon while the Breaking Badass is an Appleton Estate rum punch with Cointreau, cinnamon, nutmeg, almond syrup, grapefruit, pineapple and lime. For some theatre, there is a Zombie sharer in a glass skull and the Disco Diva, a glittering combination of vodka, vanilla liqueur, strawberry, cranberry and apple that comes in a disco ball bowl.
Alongside a good selection of premium spirits, including top-end expressions such as Rémy Martin Louis XIII cognac, the bar offers wines and beers. Also, needing to offer food as part of its licence, they have come up with the inspired option of a menu of Pot Noodles. Open until 2am seven nights a week, Red Door brings in local DJs at weekends and has introduced live music on Wednesdays.
With three Red Doors now open, Lee and Dave continue to keep an eye out for new sites, including one in Manchester after they decided to close the basement Deansgate bar after only a year. Other cities on their radar include Sheffield, Birmingham and Newcastle upon Tyne. Red Door’s success comes from offering quality but in a relaxed environment, Lee adds. “You can come in jeans and a T-shirt or dress up. Red Door is a high-end cocktail bar making high-quality cocktails but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.”
Red Door, 11-15 Hirst Yard, Leeds LS1 6NJ
Tel: 0113 245 3475
Originally published in the November 2017 print edition of Bar magazine.