Have you ever been to a hotel bar? Did it give a positive lasting impression? I know I have been but I can’t really remember them. Why would you attend an hotel bar unless staying at the hotel? Even then, there will be more fun bars to explore when visiting a new place. Soap Factory in Leeds is here to change that. The bar is part of Novotel, located at Wellington Place (near the train station) but it doesn’t look anything like a hotel bar.
At the soft launch evening, soap bubbles were flying about outside the entrance and it looked like so much fun and inviting to go in. I hope they’ll bring out the bubbles again, at least for special occasions. The whole bar is built on the bubble theme, from name to interior. The bar name (Soap Factory) has been taken to honour the local entrepreneur Joseph Watson of Watson & Sons and his Whitehall Soap Works. I still find it a weird name for a bar but I do like that the inspiration is not only represented in the name but also throughout the interiors and food and drinks.
Soap Factory has a very classy interior with some quirky details and chrome soap bubbles (some as mirrors) across the whole main wall. I really liked the moody setting with grey walls and dark interiors. The main table looks very rustic and inviting to sit at if you’re a big group. I do apologise for that picture being a bit blurry ( I had to be quick taking it before someone sat down again). Along the soap bubble wall, there are smaller tables which overlook the bar and the outside street.
Even the cocktails have quirky soap or bubble themed names; ‘Soaper Duper’ and ‘The Soap’ which we enjoyed throughout the evening. My favourite clearly being ‘Soaper Duper’ as it’s gin based (gin, lemon juice, sugar syrup and raspberry jam). I love trying new cocktails and when they bring something new (jam on spoon) I haven’t seen before, even better. If not served with a straw, make sure you grab one as it’ll make the whole cocktail much easier to drink.
As if this place couldn’t get better than that, in comes the food! We were fortunate to try a little bit of everything offered on the menu and I was really surprised to learn they serve scallop, so delicious. It was prepared really nicely and served simple with a bit of lemon. Another favourite is the Pulled Ham Bonbons – absolutely amazing!!! Coming across this was as thrilling as when I went to Browns Christmas Menu tasting last year and discovered beetroot bonbons. I really enjoyed the bowl of ‘A Proper Ploughman’s as well. Cheese and cured meats are always a good combination, and even better when locally produced.
If you’re ever around Wellington Place in Leeds, make sure to pop in to Soap Factory for a drink and some nibbles. Don’t judge this place on it’s choice of music, it’s much better than that, it’s “soaper duper”!