Tabula Rasa in Eastgate, Leeds describes itself on Instagram as a “place where we create and host new experiences.”
It’s an elevated café, aperitivo and cocktail bar focusing on high-quality spirits, and joined a whole host of bars on the Headrow when it opened in 2021.
The Latin term Tabula Rasa means blank slate, and it’s clear the mixologists, headed by owner Filippos Filippopoulos, are allowed plenty of creative expression with their cocktails as if working on a ‘blank canvas’.
The Greek bartender left the Watermark Bar to start the Eastgate venue. Opening from 9am until midnight (2am Thursday to Saturday), the ground-floor bar serves coffee and pastries, and then aperitivo and small plates (salads, sandwiches) in the evening. This transitions to classic cocktails with cheese and cold meats at night.
Marble and gold tables and green velvet stools create a naturalistic, classy atmosphere.
The site seats up to 55 people and is inspired by the roaring 20s in its art-deco design. One particularly intriguing cocktail on the menu called the Pablo Picasso changes colours from pale blue to lilac to violet using spirits and pink sugars.
Other drinks include the Jolly Roger which includes a brownie. Ingredients for cocktails are sourced from Leeds’ Kirkgate Market – one of the biggest indoor markets in Europe.
The coffee programme extends to a house Irish Coffee and a signature Mextaxa-coffee cocktail.
In October 2022 the bar celebrated its first birthday, and also hosted a summer party last August with DJ Leon on the decks and food served by No Fixed Abode. The venue also showcases local art and music.