Thursday, September 04, 2008

Trio, Headingley

Thurs 4 Sept 2008

I've just come home from a bar re-opening. Yes, it's about half past 7 and I'm writing a post about it. Something must have gone wrong ...

Last year, when I tootled along to the opening of Napa I had a great night out, wrote a positive post and all was good. So when I received an email invitation to the re-opening of Trio, Napa's Arc Inspirations stable mate, I thought I'd head along. After all, the party was starting "at 6pm with Champagne cocktails and canapés for the first to arrive" AND Trio is around the corner from my house AND I could easily arrive for 6pm. "Come early to avoid disappointment" exhorted my invitation.

Given the mad queue that built up early at Napa, come early I did. Somehow we arrived in time for Andy to have a cigarette and for it to turn 6pm. Things weren't looking promising: glasses were lined up for the Champagne cocktails but they were empty. Eventually someone appeared and started partially filling them with mango and raspberry puree. A few people went in ahead of us and we decided it was time to bite the bullet.

As the Champagne cocktails weren't ready we were just ushered down to the bar. The waitress, busy with the fruit puree, didn't look too sure what to do with punters. Down in the bar it seemed like a cocktail presentation was in full swing. The bar itself was almost inaccessible: bar stools with bodies made the pumps tantalisingly out of reach. As I waited to order drinks some women arrived who had the temerity to laugh too loudly. A member of the bar crowding-stool hogging crew turned and issued a stern "shush!". Oh dear - no fun allowed here!

Pints of Amstel in hand (£2.95 each) we shuffled off to find a table and settled down. It turned out that we'd actually stumbled into the middle of a cocktail making competition!*

By the time we'd acquired drinks, realised what was going on and inspected the food menu (£3.50 for some bread perhaps?), the not-so-early-arrivals were turning up and popping downstairs with Champagne cocktails in hand. Andy nipped out for a cigarette and on return asked about a drink. He was told that the bar was downstairs ...

Now, I'm not particularly fussed if I get a free drink or not - after all, I'd more or less stopped in on my way home and a couple of beers is not going to break the bank. However, what irks me is the "come early" on the invitation and the subsequent realisation that the Champagne cocktails were clearly for some but not for others. Don't bother having a launch party if you're not going to get organised.

On that note, we finished off our rather flat Amstel, waited for the results of the cocktail competition and took our leave. At this stage the bar was less than half full.

It speaks volumes that as we left the two staff members on the door were absorbed in messing around with fruit puree and bubbly and completely ignored us.

1. Trio, 44 North Lane, Headingley, LS6 3HU, phone: 0113 203 6090, map.

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* It turns out that the competition, for bartenders from across the north of England, was for a trip to Venezuela to visit the Santa Teresa Distillery (they make rum, rum being quite a theme for Trio) and I'm pleased to announce that the final standings were ... (drum roll ...):
  • 3rd place - shared by Nino from Jakes in Leeds and Tom from Menzels in Sheffield
  • 2nd place - Lee from Mojo, Leeds
  • 1st place - Alan from Socio Rehab in Manchester
Congratulations to you all - but particularly to Alan - I hope he enjoys the trip!
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Blogger Italian Wine Blog said...

When did Leeds turn into a foodies paradise?

Great blog, clearly I've been missing from Leeds too long.

If you've got any good wine bars up there maybe we could hook up for a wine bar/restaurant craaaaawl!

Take Care

2:47 pm  
Blogger Alex said...

Not sure about the wine bars per se but plenty of good places to eat with excellent wine lists!

Which gives me an idea ... maybe I should start looking out for bars with decent wine lists ...

1:54 pm  

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