Opening Night At Craft Asylum, Leeds

Craft Asylum at Granary Wharf opened its doors on Friday 16th November, so since it is close to my workplace it was mandatory to nip in for after-work drinks.

'The purpose of beer is to create pleasure' Craft Asylum neon sign

Craft Asylum #1 is the creation of Salt Beer Factory, a local micro-brewery specialising in ‘unifying heritage and modern brewing’. Craft Asylum has popped up to showcase Salt’s hop-forward concoctions and guest breweries.

As we walked up to the venue for our Friday evening drinks, two tuxedo-clad girls on stilts stood at the entrance to welcome us. (I think I’ve been triggered by watching ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ on Netlix because I freaked out when I initially saw them. Creepy tall guy vibes…) While these girls were very nice, I couldn’t help but wonder why they were there… It felt a bit random, but each to their own…

Perhaps they were going for some kind of a circus/fairground vibe for opening night as they had free salted popcorn on offer. A nice touch and great for snacking on whilst tiding myself over for dinner.

Bartender serving popcorn from a machine at Craft Asylum Leeds

To anyone who visited the bar when it was Candlebar (a Japanese restaurant and bar) it still has the same layout and same bar. The only difference is they have knocked through into where the kitchen was and made space for more seating.

The bar was packed for opening night and it had a good vibe about it as a result. It felt warm and cosy, but still trendy thanks to the metallic bar and a neon sign along the back wall for good measure.

If you’re looking for a more affordable beer then I’d head across the road to Archie’s. I’m glad I stuck to half pints of beer because even they were expensive!

Beers and popcorn at Craft Asylum Leeds

A half pint of Jute Session IPA, a nice mango flavoured craft, was £2.45 (not too bad, I suppose). But when I asked for a recommendation the next time, I got a half pint of the Tasty Juice which came to £3.30! Ummm no thank you, if I want to pay that kind of price, I’ll order a wine.

I tried a few different beers, one of which tasted like coffee. An interesting flavour, but I wouldn’t drink a full glass of it. Perhaps if flights of beer were available that would give people an opportunity to sample the more unique flavoured beers, without committing to a full pint. Otherwise, the quirky beers tend to sit in their barrels for a long time before someone buys them…

While the bar does look better for having knocked through to the kitchen, I do wish that they still had it so that food was on offer. I’d be much more likely to return if there was just something simple like a burger menu. A beer goes great with a burger after all, and it would likely keep people at the bar longer, whereas right now it feels more like a place to nip into after work before moving on elsewhere.

Elisha standing in front of the neon sign at Craft Asylum Leeds

Did you know that it is pretty much impossible to get a well-lit photo in front of a neon sign?

Craft Asylum is a welcome addition to Granary Wharf. It has quickly become a thriving little bar scene perfect for after-work shenanigans, and Craft Asylum brings a trendy addition that I’m sure will continue to thrive with its canal-front settings.

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