Leeds bar makes a splash with ‘floating beer garden’ plans for River Aire

A CGI image of how the floating beer garden will look at Calls Landing. Image by Leeds-based CAL Architects.
A CGI image of how the floating beer garden will look at Calls Landing. Image by Leeds-based CAL Architects.
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CAST your mind back a few years ago and you’ll remember there was only one go-to hotspot for nightlife in Leeds – Call Lane.

The street attracted a mix of locals, hen parties, stag dos and out-of-towners thanks to its handy location near the train station.

The River Aire, looking up towards Calls Landing in Leeds. Pic: James Hardisty.

The River Aire, looking up towards Calls Landing in Leeds. Pic: James Hardisty.

But nowadays the popular drinking destination is facing stiff competition from other up-and-coming city centre hotspots.

Merrion Street in the Northern Quarter has gone from strength to strength and Greek Street is also making a comeback.

But plans are under way to ensure that one Call Lane venue helps attract more punters to the area.

The Stew and Oyster is looking to set up its very own floating beer garden on the River Aire.

The bar and restaurant is planning to create a pontoon outside its venue at Calls Landing.

Tom Mountain, operations director at Stew and Oyster, was staying tight-lipped about the plans, which are understood to be in the early stages.

However he did tell City Buzz: “We are incredibly excited about the possibility of taking advantage of Leeds’s industrial heritage and adding to the vibrancy of the waterway.”

The plans, which are being drawn up by Leeds-based CAL Architects, would see the venue make the most of the sun-drenched spot on the river.

The exciting plans are not the first time we have seen moves made to help make the most of the Leeds waterways.

The annual Leeds Waterfront Festival puts the river at its core, and is an event that gets bigger and better every year with arts, music, performances, boat races and food and drink.

This year it’s back on June 25 for its ninth event.

The free water taxis, which offer a much-needed link between Granary Wharf and Leeds Dock, have also strengthened the public’s relationship with the river, offering people of all ages the chance to hop on board and see the city from the water.

Leeds Dock has also undergone big changes.

Formerly known as Clarence Dock, it originally launched in 2008 with a mix of leisure and retail attractions.

But after half of its 35 shop units ended up lying empty for years, it was taken on by Allied London in 2012 and has seen major changes to rejuvenate the area.

Now it seems to be flourishing, with events such as film screenings, markets, a new bar, pop-up events and the Leeds Digital Festival, which was held last month.

The former Alea Casino site is also being replaced with a state-of-the-art office building, and it is proving such a big draw for businesses that even Google set up a base there last year.

Other city’s waterfronts are used as one of their biggest selling points but for Leeds it seems to have been an uphill battle to make ours the asset it should be.

There are so many more positive opportunities to be had with what is a beautiful and historic part of the Leeds landscape.

The floating garden is a small step in the right direction to celebrating the city’s waterways and who knows, we could be seeing a whole floating fiesta one day.

Sarah Champion MP

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