I’d be lying if I said Arc had been my favourite place in Headingley. Sure, it was a great student location with a range of beers on tap, saccharine cocktails and a decent pizza. But it was very much a student bar, it was somewhere that you might pass on an Otley run, or a place to grab a reasonably priced, simple drink after work. I am pleased to report that along with a rebrand to Manahatta Headingley, a few things have changed.

What changed?

In a hasty 3 week turnaround, the site has gone from being a tipsy caterpillar that wanted to join the varsity rugby team, to a butterfly stepping onto its first grad scheme. But if all of this sounds like a negative change, try to take a deep breath and relax. Much of the architecture has remained the same, and the patrons who are terrified of having lost their beloved Arc need not panic. All that’s happened is things have gone a little more upmarket and a wider audience can now be reached. You might even find some young professionals at the tables or clustered around the place as well as the rowdy first and second years who loved Arc in all of its sugar-filled glory.

So what’s the entire experience like? Well, as said, it’s just a little more.

A little bit more grown up. And for cocktails and food alike, that’s a good thing. You should never have any kind of shame about the drinks you’re ordering, but I have to admit that I feel less of a twinge about ordering from the new cocktail menu.

But what about the food?

The food is simultaneously junk food and restaurant food, it strikes a near-perfect balance between the two. The sliders have landed straight from heaven, the pizzas must have descended from a cloud, and the desserts are the antithesis by being devilishly good.

Add to all this the screens dotted around the two floors of the bar, the outdoor areas where you can soak in whatever sunshine we have that day, and the shuffleboard tables and you have a perfect afternoon or evening planned. It’s lively, fun, mature enough to pique your interest for another few years and overall, a good night out.

Honestly, I’m a little worried about when the students claim it again, that will be the real test… but, I live in hope. It’s a great setting, with great staff and a lot of refreshed potential. Let’s see what happens next!

By Parker, Restaurants of Leeds Share this story