We only accept bookings at Friends of Ham, Leeds for groups of 6 or more – please email through your enquiry to trotters@friendsofham.com

For bookings at Friends of Ham, Ilkley please call the bar on 01943 604344

City Bar is ‘best place to drink’ in the country

An independent Leeds bar has been lauded as the best bar to drink in the UK at a national food and drink awards.

Friends of Ham, in New Station Street, Leeds, a venture run by first-time bar owners Anthony and Claire Kitching, was awarded the prestigious title at the 2014 Observer Food Monthly Awards, in London on Thursday.

Championing the best growers producers, restaurants, chefs, food initiatives and retailers in Britain, the highly-priced awards are now in their 11th year.

Friends of Ham opened just two and a half years ago, after husband and wife Anthony and Claire decided to head back to their northern roots from London and leave their respective careers in construction management and head hunting.

Focusing on pairing fine meats and cheese with craft ales and wines, the two-floored venue has proven a success since opening and has had rave reviews.

Co-owner Anthony, 34, told YEP; ‘It shows there is a good independent scene in Leeds and it also shows that he media, that can be quiet London-Centric, can look beyond the city to see thing that are happening elsewhere. In Leeds there are a lot of people with a lot of idea that are starting to get off the ground.’

The couple who now live in Cookridge, chose Leeds to open their first bar after trips to America and central Europe gave them a taste for craft beer and charcuterie – a branch of cooking devoted to meat products. The venue has since tripled its ground floor bar space, which offers 14 beers taps and 150 bottles.

Observer Food Monthly editor Allan Jenkins said: ‘Whether it’s an unsung chef reducing brilliant Michelin star food in Abergavenny at 67, or a craft beer utopia in Leeds, or a motorway service station outside Gloucester baking world-class cakes, the days of London’s crushing domination of the food scene are finally over.’

page 23, YEP, 18th October 2014

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