Smokestack: Leeds’ hidden gem

Perched on Lower Briggate, a mere stone’s throw away from the trendy surroundings of Call Lane, lies Smokestack; a distinctly more rough around the edges affair. This is however, a diamond in the rough. Instantly the place hits you with its character. Rustic stalls and matured wood flooring, friendly bouncers and barmen that know how to make a cocktail albeit at steep prices. The crowd at smokestack is completely different. Notably older twenty to thirty-somethings who dance like nobody’s watching to a blend of soul and Latin funk. Smokestack is something else.

Originality in music selection reflects the creativity of the DJ. It’s often too easy to deviate to typical ‘club’ classics which are guaranteed to be enjoyed by most people. The unique choice of music allows people to dance as if no one was watching, embracing new sounds they may not have come across. The funk and soul DJ portrayed this fantastically, playing from the likes of ‘Earth, Wind and Fire’ to relatively uncommon artist such as ‘Michael Wycoff’. Every track was a banger and whilst I recognised many of them a lot of them I didn’t which I think is a unique experience to have compared to most clubs.

It felt like I was listening to a handcrafted personal playlist rather than generic EDM or chart toppers. Aside from the regular music nights often free gigs are put on and all of these are intimidate. Standing next to a six-piece ska band was something else, something that I would’ve paid for. The band was a part of the crowd, part of the venue itself. If you want a break from the regular routine of drinking numerous Red Stripes and forgetting the night the next morning, go to Smokestack. Dance. Have a cocktail. Treat yourself.

Chris Tobin

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