Leeds bar switches from gin to rum for a summer surf shack

Hedonist Bergeron's Blossom Punch

The latest concept for the ever-changing Leeds bar from The Hedonist Project has been revealed: a surfers’ beachside shack specialising in rum.

After three months of success as Old Tom’s Gin Kitchen, the site in Lower Briggate is set to reopen on June 30 as Trader Dan’s Surf Shack, inspired by laidback sun-kissed lifestyles by the sea in California and Hawaii.

The interior is being completely transformed with surf brand sponsor Quiksilver, promising a design treatment that is “completely authentic and in tune with the relaxed holiday, good vibes-only ambience”.

The Hedonist Project’s founders, Bruce Lerman, Tom Finnon and “Trader” Dan Crowther are putting together a cocktail list of original, flavour-packed recipes, working with two rum partners: Jamaica’s Appleton Estate, including its Wray & Nephew Overproof rum, and Gosling’s Black Seal Rum from Bermuda.

It follows the success of The Hedonist Project’s pop-up Rum Shack in Cross Belgrave Street last summer which served up drinks with Appleton Estate and Wray & Nephew Overproof.

Bruce said: “After the success of the Rum Shack last year we took note that Leeds really does love rum. This year we wanted to try and do something a little bit different to the Rum Shack and Trader Dan’s Surf Shack was born.

“For this concept we are joining California with Hawaii to create a lazy easy-going environment. Along with the hook-up from Quiksilver to make sure we are in check with our clothing, aloong with the fantastic Appleton Estate, Wray & Nephew and Gosling’s rum as our liquid support, this summer is shaping up to be all things rum.”

For music, they are lining up eclectic party tunes to bring back nineties and early noughties nostalgia – think Naughty by Nature, Papa Roach, Chuck D and the Dub Pistols.

The cocktails will include the Corn & Oil which blends rum with a homemade velvet falernum, served up in an incense-smoked glass, and drinks with tempting names such as Peanut Butter Jelly Time, Smoked Rosemary Punch and Bergeron’s Blossom Punch (pictured).

Their Fruity Mai Tai spins fresh fruit and blossom Rooibos Tea into the mix for a creation they describe as “summer in a glass”. The Fiery Hurricane will feature a syrup that has not yet been revealed but has been unearthed from the world of tiki.

The food menu promises to be just as radical, designed to complement the drinks list and surf theme, with strong Caribbean and Polynesian influences running throughout. Mains include a spicy tilapia fish curry, homemade crab cakes and chicken wings cooked with plum in a rum and orange peel sauce.

Highlights from the sharing plates and finger food snack menu include the beef brisket croquettes, padron peppers and sweet potato fries.

Parties planned for Trader Dan’s Surf Shack include the Jamaican Independence Day Weekender in early August and a “hedonistic Bermuda’s Independence Day”. They will also organise a Rum Safari, taking people on a “bodacious” bar crawl of the city’s finest rum joints.

Trader Dan’s Surf Shack is The Hedonist Project’s fifth pop-up bar in a row and the third to reside at their now-permanent home at 156 Lower Briggate. Before Old Tom’s Gin Kitchen, the site debuted as The Liquor Store & Whisky Parlour in November.

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