Hyde Park Book Club has always intrigued me, whether I’m zipping by in a taxi or crawling past on the bus. Even though I’ve been a student in Leeds, and worked at two of the three Universities, I’m sad and a little ashamed to say that I’ve never visited. A dreary Saturday provided the perfect excuse to try it out and here are the reasons you should go too…
1: The Food
In the ideal spot, just off Hyde Park Corner, the Book Club offers an amazing menu. Using plant based products from the Vegetarian Butcher, chef Helen has crafted ideal choices for either a pit stop or longer, lazier, stay which are bound to appeal to everyone, vegetarian or otherwise.
Heralding from the Netherlands the Vegetarian Butcher aims to satisfy the hunger for meat, without the need to eat animals. Jaap, the Vegetarian Butcher himself, hopes that even the most devout meat eater can give up meat a few days a week and not miss out on taste or the nutritional benefits thanks to his range of meat free sausages, burgers and more.
As well as brunch, HPBC offers food throughout the day up until 10pm including burgers, sandwiches and sharing platters. If you’re visiting for lunch try the Classic Burger, or if you fancy something to go with a glass of wine the halloumi plate sounds incredible too.
2: Book club
The clue is in the name really, but Hyde Park Book Club is also… a book club! Next to the fancy dress shop, there is a haven for book lovers, filled with titles for all ages and tastes. Astonishingly, I found several books, with which I could chart my reading from a young age to the last book I read. The library has new books as well as those ones that come free with the scent of nostalgia.
Anyone can donate books they no longer want to the Book Club and it’s a fantastic way of picking up new titles to read cheaply. If, like me, you dine alone from time to time, you have the added bonus option of books for company.
3: Bottle shop
As well as having a large selection of books to buy, Hyde Park Book Club also runs a bottle shop. I’m not big into beer, (it’s one of my many character flaws), but even I know they have quite the formidable selection, from near and far including IPAs and… other beers too, as well as a couple of wines. If you’re stuck for choice remember you can always ask for a recommendation too – Helen selects the beers for the shop herself!
Within the venue are also several events spaces, including a basement gig area, with the biggest disco ball I’ve seen this side of the year 2000 and separate rooms upstairs. Coming up in March they have a pretty impressive calendar of events including Lelo, Jaggedy Ants and Hayley McKay as well as regular jazz nights.
Hyde Park Book Club also host regular Board Games events with Cards or Die where you can even request games to play – just make sure you try Exploding Kittens at least once. Separate to the events, there are also have a range of games to hand so if you fancy a lazy Sunday or a break from studying here is the place!
5: The Staff
Everyone that I met whilst at HPBC was so warm and welcoming. Both Jack, the owner, Helen, the chef, and the other staff who were present on my visit made me feel like a regular, even though it was my first time. They’ve really succeeded at creating such a friendly and relaxed vibe, which is perfect for either a lazy weekend or weeknight blow-out.
…So what are you waiting for? Get yourself there!
Hyde Park Book Club can be found at 27-29 Headingley Lane in Leeds and opens 10-11pm each day.