Since coming to Leeds for university, I've become a big fan of Bierkeller, partially because it's my dream to one day visit the Oktoberfest in Munich, but primarily because it's a wonderful place to take friends for a fun evening in an eccentric setting.
I've been twice to Bierkeller's comedy nights (held on the last Monday of the month), and a few more times for various university socials. While the comedy nights tend to be more of an opportunity to sit and chat with friends while enjoying the free stand-up show, Bierkeller becomes more vibrant and lively on standard weekdays. While dancing on the tables is strictly prohibited, it's always fun to get up on the benches, raise your stein and really get into the jovial spirit of a Bavarian beer festival.
Food-wise, Bierkeller offer a selection of simple snacks, main meals and desserts before 9pm. On the comedy nights, all food is 50% off, but even on regular nights, the prices are still pretty reasonable. The pretzels and Keller burger are highly recommended, as are the apfel strudel and black forest gateaux for dessert!
On Fridays and Saturdays, a live Oompah band perform, so it is recommended that you book these events far in advance, as they become very over-subscribed.
For drinks, paying a deposit on a stein, then returning for refills of Haus Bier or Haus Cider is always a good deal. For students, the Haus Bier is the better option, as it is good quality and cheap, too. If you are already a connoisseur of German beers, then you will be delighted with the selection available, ranging from weissbiers to something a little stronger. If you are like me, and your knowledge of beer extends as far as Stella Artois, the friendly staff will be more than happy to suggest brands for you (I had to ask my Dad, an Oktoberfest veteran, for his recommendations).
While I am a cider fan, the Haus Cider was not very palatable, and I would strongly recommend sticking with beer (or 'bier') while at the 'Keller. For those with strong stomachs and more expensive tastes, some very high-percentage spirits are on offer too...
For something different and unexpected, Bierkeller will certainly not disappoint.