Clubs are back. And while it’s definitely logical to take a lateral flow test* before hitting those sticky floors — to keep venues open and everyone safe/clean — it’s also well worth enjoying the experience again.
Over the years, I’ve followed the kaleidoscopic neon lights and ground-shaking bass sounds to Leeds’ best places to dance^. Some top spots for late-night revellers and good-vibe seekers below…
There’s a grunginess to the ultra-edgy, underground Distrikt. For fans of ravers who want everything from techno to house, it’s a haven for the electronics. The walls inside are plastered with stickers from acts who’ve spun the decks, while the flower garland-dappled terrace awaits for al fresco sets.
The Key Club
Metalheads and rockers will be in their element when they traipse down the stairs to The Key Club, where moshpit-ready bands usually assume centre stage. It’s less glow sticks, more gothic blacks, but it’s the ultimate spot to literally let your hair down and appreciate the upper echelons of live alt rock.
Where all things radiate in a minty green, you’ll find DJ sets aplenty, with acts coming from far and wide. See this as a larger setup for a lot of the same artists you’d get at Distrikt, in a whole new warehouse environment. Anyone who’s anyone comes to party here, so it’s the more mainstream option.
For a piece of New Orleans in Leeds, make a beeline for Smokestack. It’s spread across two floors, so discerning funk, soul and jazz aficionados will be well catered for depending on the night of the week. It’s heavy on the blues there, too — especially when you’re up for a boogie past midnight.
Belgrave Music Hall & Canteen
The pizza slice-slinging, burger-serving Belgrave is a whopping food and drink joint laid out over a series of levels. It now even has a street-side terrace. DJs come and play but there’s a dedicated gig hall as well, so it just decide what you want to move your body around to and browse the events listings.
The Old Red Bus Station
Welcome to a bar that nails industrial chic with a solid selection of beers. It doubles as somewhere that emerging DJs turn up to provide the tunes late into the night. It’s one that students and locals equally enjoy — particularly if you want to pepper your nights out with a dose of drum and bass.
*Every venue will have different entry policies regarding masks, testing and vaccination status. Check their social media pages or website for advice prior to visiting. ^Please note: some venues may not be quite back to full dancing spaces yet, but this is just to whet the appetite.
This post is not affiliated with any venues, it’s purely an opinion piece.