Up until late summer 2018, the Leeds sports bar scene was in a pretty sorry state – unless you enjoyed pints of Carling, sticky carpets and the possibility of a fight.
Arc Inspirations changed all of that when they unleashed The Box onto Infirmary Street in September of that year.
Bigger, better and bolder than its Headingley sister venue, the bar became an overnight success thanks to its vast open space boasting great views of all the on-screen action. The lively bar area is central to all the action too, giving the place an overall vibe reminiscent of a US sports bar. Food wise, The Box delivers much of your typical bar food staples, only done with a little more imagination.
The new menu is no exception and adds a selection of kebabs into the mix of pizzas, burgers, wraps and power bowls. We checked in on a busy Saturday afternoon to find the usual mix of footy fans and bottomless brunchers soaking up the atmosphere.
The Box is also one of just a handful of venues in the north that sells tank fresh Czech Budvar, which always goes down a little too easy (insert smutty mum joke here if you’re that way inclined). We supped a few pints as we perused the menu, opting for the Spicy Chipolatas and the Box Nuggets.
Served with a zingy BBQ dip, the Chipolatas are a tasty addition to the starter menu, whilst the nuggets taste as good as ever. Forget your reformed McDonald’s gubbins, these bad boys are made from proper chicken breast and I could happily devour them by the bucketload.
Onto mains, and my kebab loving friend couldn’t resist getting his chops into the Chicken Shawarma, which can easily give the legendary Mill Hill Kebab Shop a run for their money. He sided this with a portion of Chicken Katsu Full Time Fries, which we’re incredibly moreish, if a little too heavy on the salt.
Feeling equally as greedy, I decided to go for the Guv’Nor Burger, which is not for the faint of heart. The juicy beef patties are sourced from the award-winning Lishman’s of Ilkley and are complemented with spicy fried chicken, smoked pancetta, pulled pork and cheese.
This monstrous burger comes served in a brioche bun with a side of triple-cooked rosemary and rock salt chips, just for good measure. This is one tasty burger. Jules from Pulp Fiction would most definitely approve.
Leaving just enough room for one more pint of Budvar, we left our table for a game of shuffleboard before hitting the streets of Leeds to walk off some of those calories. My final verdict is that The Box is still as fresh as the day it opened and the undisputed king of Yorkshire sports bars. Long may it reign.
The Box Leeds, Infirmary Street, Leeds, LS1 2JD. Tel: 0113 5327010.
Words by Jordan Fletcher.