ha ha bar and grill

Our rating 

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star

User rating 


 2 reviews

The Electric Press,
4 Millennium Square,

(0113) 244 8835 

The ViewLeeds Review

StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
Review bySarah Richardson10/07/2009
If Ha Ha Bar and Grill could make up its mind perhaps there’d more laughter and less confusion in this jumbled bar and restaurant.

The Venue
It's situated in the heart of Millennium Square, and its recent make-over may actually be more of a make-under. It's gone understated and cool, with simple colours and clean lines dominating both the bar and the restaurant.

The bar feels open and bustling with plenty of large groups around big tables, while the restaurant seems to have a cosier feel with lots of closely grouped tables and some inviting-looking leather booths. The large stainless-steel bar is something of a centrepiece with wine bottles stacked from the walls creating an arresting display of alcohol.

It has a nice mezzanine area and seating is divided on two levels with lots of tables and chairs. There's also a fairly large seating area outside - perfect for sunny days and balmy nights - and a further courtyard area in the Electric Press building with low tables and comfy chairs. You’re spoiled for choice but it’s all a little jumbled and confused.

It feels as though this place can’t decide what it wants to be and, as a result, it's a mix of trendy, crowded bar and romantic, intimate restaurant. This indecision creates a muddled kind of effect which can feel disorientating but, in terms of atmosphere, this could be a plus.

The noise and chatter from the drinkers washes over the whole venue and creates a lively atmosphere. It's not too overbearing because the restaurant feels like a separate area despite being under the same roof. Aside from the ambient chatter there’s not much character and although it looks good there’s no soul.

The People
Trendy is one word to sum up the crowd who come here. It’s up to you whether or not that’s a good thing. Cool twenty-somethings make up the majority, although this is by no means the exclusive demographic.

This bar and restaurant attracts plenty of professional types straight from the office, along with families out for a meal. It’s not exactly suited and booted, but everyone looks like they’ve made an effort and there’s not a scruffy punter in sight.

The bar staff capably cater to the busy drinkers and the restaurant staff are equally efficient and serve with smiles on their faces. The service here is good. Everyone is friendly and attentive, and you feel like you’re being looked after without being pestered. They're perhaps self-consciously trendy as there's something of a forced ‘matey’ atmosphere, but the service is always friendly and pleasant.

The Food
The food at Ha Ha Bar and Grill is fine. Unfortunately there's not a lot to get excited over even though there's plenty to choose from. The menu is extensive, it’s just not very interesting.

The tomato bruschetta (£3.95) starter is a well-balanced combination of tomato, pesto and basil with lightly toasted ciabatta, but the tomato lacks the zing that you'd hope for and is in fact a fairly bland plateful. Asparagus wrapped in parma ham (£5.95) fares better, with the asparagus cooked perfectly. Combined with the salty parma ham this is a tasty start to a meal which is complemented well with a light salad and dressing.

The dishes are produced competently, but with an average price of around £10 for a main meal, you may want something a little better than ordinary. Chicken and chorizo tortiglioni (£9.45) is entirely mediocre, with the admittedly aromatic tomato and garlic sauce overpowering what should be an appetising combination of chicken and chorizo, which sadly gets lost somewhere in the mix.

As it's recently been revamped to a Bar and Grill from a Canteen, the grill section of the menu is extensive and steak lovers can go up to a whopping 16oz for £19.95. For less adventurous carnivores the 8oz lincolnshire pork steak (£11.95) is well cooked and meaty although, oddly for a steak, it's reminiscent of bacon in taste. Topped with a lip-smacking rich, creamy sauce and finished off with cheesy mashed potatoes, this is a dish that suggests the grill is probably the way to go, although it’s still good rather than great.

Portions are generous and the dessert menu offers up a good range of rich and sticky sounding puddings. The strawberries (£4.50) are a lighter way to end the meal and are plump and juicy, drizzled with a lovely sweet yoghurt and honey dressing. The summer pudding (£4.50), however, is an insipid dish and fails to be elevated by what is an equally banal elderflower and fruit compote. Ha Ha Bar and Grill’s menu fails to dazzle.

The Drink
There’s lots to choose from on the wine list and bottles start from £12.95. The Sauvignon Blanc Nobilo (£19.95) is a lovely bottle of wine with a crisp and refreshing zesty grapefruit taste. There’s a good selection from sweet to dry, with an equally varied selection of reds and a few good rose choices too.

The cocktail menu is extensive enough to be divided into a few different categories including classic, retro, mojitos, martinis, collins, caipirinahs, and champagne. The majority come in at £5.45 for a glass or £10.95 for a jug, with champagne cocktails available by the glass only at £6.95. The lemon and elderflower mojito is sweetly refreshing with a cool minty bite.

There’s also the usual range of bottled drinks, from around £3 a bottle for beer with plenty of lagers to choose from both on tap and by the bottle. The wide range of spirits form something of an artistic display at the bar and, perhaps surprisingly for a modish bar such as this, there's also a good choice of cask ales, with a hoppy, dry pint of Black Sheep for under £3.

Liqueur coffees are available at £4.50 each to finish off your night or, if you’d rather have a hot drink without the alcohol, there’s a good choice of teas and coffee from £1.70, and all coffees are fair trade. There’s also all the usual soft drinks and juices available, as well as freshly blended smoothies and juices for £3.95.

Ha Ha Bar and Grill goes someway to making up for the average menu with a great range of drinks to suit everyone, and if you knock enough of their cocktails back maybe you’ll be merry enough to live up to their name.

The Last Word
For those who like socialising in stylish, spacious and trendy surroundings, Ha Ha Bar and Grill does what it does very well and is fun and friendly. If you’re after something a bit more serious, especially when it comes to food, take the funny name as a warning - you might just find it's a case of style over substance.
ha ha bar and grill has been reviewed by 2 users

Most Read Today

01 O2 Academy Leeds

There are 32 events listed for this venue

02 The Adelphi

There are 7 events listed for this venue

03 Faversham

There are 4 events listed for this venue

04 Carpe Diem

There are 7 events listed for this venue

05 Bar Fibre

There are 9 events listed for this venue

Content updated: 17/12/2010 01:27

Latest Pubs & Bars User Reviews

  • Yates's
    Been to Leeds for shopping day food at Yates was good value for m...
    StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
    Tigra on 12/12/2010 @ 21:17
  • Scotts Arms
    Oops. Forgot to rate the pub properly. Would have given 5 stars, ...
    porlusmetalcafe on 12/12/2010 @ 17:03
  • Scotts Arms
    Just been here today for a mid lunch meal. I really dont know wha...
    StarStarStarNo StarNo Star
    porlusmetalcafe on 12/12/2010 @ 16:59
  • Brown Cow and Dragon
    We visited the brown cow & dragon with friends. The bar was extre...
    Gimli on 29/11/2010 @ 21:44
  • Lazy Lounge
    I have been to Lazy on many occasions, both with friends and in g...
    eveysummer on 25/11/2010 @ 13:35