Take one-part award-winning cocktails, mix with a mouth-wateringly trendy menu, add a dash of live music and liberal amounts of Tennessee Whiskey, and what do you get? #JackFriday has come to Leeds.
The event is distilled from the Jack Daniels tradition of gifting employees a bottle of JD on the first Friday of every month and is a celebration of all things meat and liquor. Fitting, then, that the venue was none other than our local MEATLiquor in Trinity Shopping Centre. We couldn’t resist the opportunity to go check it out.
Arriving at MEATLiquor, I confess, I hadn’t a clue what to expect. The world demands classification, but where did this place fall? Restaurant? Bar? Both? Neither seemed to fit.
Hidden inside Trinity Shopping Centre, the entry is jam-packed with oddities than funnel you inexorably underground. The basement diner is no less eccentric, bathed in an anonymous red neon, the soft, inviting glow leads you to a seat. As we were shown to a comfortable table for two, amps and mics began to emerge, the first sign of the live music to come.
After settling down with a Jack Daniels and coke (what else?) we receive the menu. Always the first indicator of quality, the menu was a feast for the eyes from which you could conceivably order a ‘Dead Hippie’, ‘Monkey Fingers’, and a ‘Kammel Toe’ without being locked up.
Taking the ‘when in Rome’ approach, I opted for the event-exclusive “Jack Palace”, which marked the final success of humanity’s struggle to combine food and alcohol into a single, delicious entity. Quite literally a Jack Daniels burger, I was blown away by just how damned tasty it was. To get a well-rounded view of the menu, we also ordered the Halloumi Mushroom Burger, which is without a doubt the best veggie burger I’ve ever encountered. In fact, all the food was plain delicious, in the best, warm, and hearty kind of way.
From the menu it’s obvious that MEATLiquor takes the ‘liquor’ part very seriously. Alcohol permeates all aspects of the experience, and this is by no means a bad thing. Besides what they serve behind the bar, they offer a selection of alcoholic milkshakes and cocktails, or how about some ‘Jägermeister Ripple Ice Cream’? Or, if you don’t plan on making it home, order the ‘Game Over’ (vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, pisang ambon, and absinthe, among other things). But don’t worry, you can get the whole experience without consuming an inordinate amount of alcohol, but why would you want to do that?
Underpinning the whole scene is undeniable Americana. American dining has often failed to take off in Britain, perhaps it’s the presence of words like “chuck” and “whopper” in the menus. But MEATLiquor are successful where others have failed because they manage to deliver all the style of Americana without losing modesty or authenticity. Quite simply, MEATLiquor offers the best of both worlds.
Jack Friday at MEATLiquor proved to be a stylishly authentic slice of the West served with a side portion of indie charm and chips. The whole experience was warm and friendly, the happy kind of place that conjures toothy smiles and good conversation. If you’re looking for a happy meal, ditch the plastic Maccies burger and head on down to MEATLiquor, you won’t regret it.
Jack Daniel’s Lynchburg Lemonade
A signature cocktail using Jack Daniel’s whiskey.
1 part Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey
1 part sweet and sour mix
1 part triple sec
4 parts soda
Image: James Medcraft