Leeds bierkeller - more memories

Pictured, Roger and Janet Sowden, Adrienne Lambert, Jaqueline Wade, David Lambert and David Barker.

Pictured, Roger and Janet Sowden, Adrienne Lambert, Jaqueline Wade, David Lambert and David Barker.

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OUR step back in time to the Hofbrauhaus in Leeds has evoked fond memories for readers.

Many recall raucous nights spent foot stomping to the oompah band and dancing on the tables until late.

John Frank, 74, who lives in Cookridge, was an interior designer who worked behind the scenes at the infamous nightspot in the early 1970s.

His research took him to Munich and the discotheques of Dusseldorf as he worked to bring a taste of Germany to Leeds.

“It was a fact-finding job because we wanted to see how they operated, from the service side of things through to the cellars which kept the beers at a certain temperature,” said Mr Frank.

“It was important to recreate the atmosphere and in my opinion ours were more German than the German ones because the surroundings were just right.”

Draped awnings provided a splendid surround to the black wrought-iron light fittings, each carrying nine torches, while deer heads added to the decor.

Mr Frank added: “The place had to be big enough to hold at least 500 people, in order to create the right atmosphere and we had to think carefully about the hefty tables. They had to be strong enough to hold people of all shapes and sizes. They were made of solid wood, 100-feet long, and bolted together.

“If people couldn’t get on the tables they would dance on the benches which simply wouldn’t hold them.”

Mr Frank added: “Because there were no springs under the floor boards, revellers would wake up in the morning with aching legs, feeling as though they had been dancing for two weeks. People left the place absolutely exhausted, after a great night out.”

He wasn’t the only one with fond memories.

Lilian Alderson, of Horsforth, recalled: “I worked at Arthur Harrison’s cloth manufacturers and went to meet a friend for a night out, who suggested going to the Hofbrauhaus. The atmosphere was very noisy and vibrant, when we entered, the oompah band was playing and revellers were dancing on tables, so we joined them with steins of lager in our hands.

“I drank a couple but then was so tipsy I fell over a wall outside the pub.”

John Cudworth, from Beeston, said: “Myself and a few friends used to go every Friday night – it couldn’t come around quick enough. I was 18 and used to tip up my wage to my mother and I got £2 spending money for the week – it went in one go at the Hofbrauhaus.

“There was a great cross-section of ages in there and I don’t remember any trouble, just a fantastic night. The only downside was the German bread, which tasted strange.”

David Lambert, from Drighlington, added: “My wife and I, together with our circle of friends, experienced some raucous but very enjoyable evenings at the Hofbrauhaus, drinking and singing.

“Every 10 minutes or so the leader of the band would propose a toast to which the audience had to respond and drink deeply.

“The toast went: ‘Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, Der Gemutlichkeit. Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, Der Gemutlichkeit. Ein, Zwei, Drei, G’suff.” [Which translates as: A toast, a toast, the cosiness, one, two, three, drink up!]

He added: “The photograph of us was taken on May 6, 1972, the day Leeds United beat Arsenal 1-0 in the Centenary Cup Final. We arrived at the Hofbrauhaus to find song sheets at every place at the tables with all the words to the two recently-released songs that had been written especially for the final – Leeds United and the b-side, Leeds, Leeds, Leeds, (Marching on Together.)

“I will never forget the whole room joining in with our lusty rendition of Marching On Together and the outpouring of emotion of finally winning the FA Cup. What a night!”

Headingley Hill Congregational Church on Headingley Lane. . Picture Tony Johnson.

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