Visited this pub on a tour to Leeds in early June, 2007. In fact this was the only Leeds pub listed in the Beerfly that I managed to have a pint in, as my friends were not that keen on drinking at all. But there you go; I still managed to drag them there before hitting back to Sheffield. The visit took place still one month to go before the smoking ban came in force, so both rooms in the pub were really smoky, rendered even more lively by the loud rock playing in the background. But the spacious public bar and high ceiling did in fact neutralise that annoying air a bit.
The centre bar connects the two separate parts of the pub, and so serves both sides. so when it was not that busy I had to wait patiently for the barman to spot me, whereas, when it got really busy, I had to wait even longer in the queue!! A good range of 7 real ales were served on handpump with one real cider, all from the regional micros (incl. Ossett) except Timothy Taylors Landlord and Theakstons Old Peculiar. The ales were served on TOP form, as far as the 5 beers we tasted. The bar staff was responsible and keen to pour me perfect pints, w/o having the froth-making-machine (sparkler) stand in the way b/w me and the honest full pint. All in all, drinking here is a truly nice and genuine real-ale-pub experience, despite the fact that the air and atmosphere can be a bit rough for foreign female punters (like my two friends). Im keen to revisit this pub now that smoking ban is in full force!
The Duck & Drake is a straight forward drinking place just a few blocks away from Leeds' shopping streets and on the way to the diminutive China town. The interior is rather worn down with a front room with lots of standing space and a back room with darts and pool tables. At one end of the front room is a mock fireplace but that's about how atmospheric it gets here. But judging by the selection of cask ales this place has must be a secret meeting place for local beer aficionados. To the left of the bar is a blackboard where the current ales are chalked out. When I visited this list contained 16 handpulled real ales including Taylor's Landlord, Riggwelter Black Sheep and Old Peculiar. The crowd seems to be mixed with all categories from serious beer drinkers looking to go under to elderly couples. A must if you visit Leeds!
This was the first Real Ale Pub that also served Guest Beers from all over the UK that I ever frequented. On a trip back to the UK, I went again for old times sake expecting to be disappointed. How wrong I was!! It was exactly almost how it used to be. Located within easy walking distance of the new Leeds City Bus/Coach Station, I popped in here for a quick pint before I went to the North Bar to meet some friends.
You enter the D&D from 1 of 2 entrances. Most use the rather unusual corner door. This brings you into a bare wooden floor-board lounge. Lounge is a bit of a grand description, for this is a very basic, down-to-earth, no-frills, classic boozer. It has bench seats set against both the walls to both sides, with a few tables in front of each of them. Most of the space remains open for standing; this is for when the place gets really busy. The bar is to your front, slight left, bedecked with rows of Handpumps & set in the midst of the Pub. Doorways either side lead through to the back room, called a Public Bar, though this description could be equally be applied to the front room. When I first came here it was a genuine TFC Free-House & some of the TFC décor is still evident to the trained eye. The back-room was always my favorite, for it has the Dartboards (& sadly now a TV as well I noted).
The beer range usually tops around 12 Hand-pulled Real Ales, all in fine form. Split is - 4 Regular (Taylors Landlord being the best of these) & around 8 always interesting Guest Beers. Serves 2 Real Ciders, often one is on Handpump. Some bottled beers, but this place is all about Cask Beer. A Real Fire in the front room & plenty of Beer Memorabilia complete this genuine Ale House.
Winner of many Awards, the CAMRA Good Beer Guide 2003 describes the D&D as The quintessential example of an Ale House. A perfect description!
When I became a Full-Time Student at the University of Leeds in late 1987, this rapidly became my regular on many nights & every weekend. This was at a time when Guest Beers were a relative rarity in most UK Pubs, & genuine Free-Houses were exceptionally scarce in England. I had my first taste of many cask beers from Breweries located all over the British Isles in this very establishment, long before I was lucky enough to visit their geographical area of origin. My love for Real Ale & Beer-Hunting started right here, some 16 years ago.
Thankfully, I can report that the D&D is as good now, as it was then.