City Buzz: Sneak peak at new cocktail bar at Leeds square

New cocktail bar Be at One, on Millennium Square, Leeds. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

New cocktail bar Be at One, on Millennium Square, Leeds. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

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WITH the recent heatwave it feels like summer is well and truly upon us.

Usually that means grabbing our sunglasses and heading for the park, a bar with a roof terrace or the beach.

But that might all change this year.

Millennium Square is about to undergo a bit of a summer transformation that’s set to bring in even more people to what was once dubbed ‘The People’s Pavement’.

Firstly, one of the square’s biggest events is returning this weekend – the Yorkshire Post Food and Drink Show.

With dozens of stalls offering treats from local eateries and food producers it’s a foodie’s paradise.

Then there are a shed load of concerts planned over the next couple of months (Paolo Nutini, 10cc, UB40, Alfie Boe and Texas to name a few).

And now a new cocktail bar is set to shake things up even more.

Be at One (not to be confused with All Bar One next door) will open its doors to the public next week but City Buzz got a sneak peek behind the scenes at the venue yesterday.

The swanky bar takes over the former Casa Mia and Teppan 260 site and will serve over 150 different cocktails.

Before you start worrying about the queue at the bar, the staff are already undergoing training to ensure service is smooth.

In fact, the training process costs £5,000 per bartender and takes eight weeks to complete to make sure staff (who are all full-time employees) are up to scratch with free-pouring, liquor knowledge and multiple order-taking so they can cope on busier days.

London-based bar group Be at One was set up by three former TGI Friday bartenders who opened their first bar together in 1998, so they know what they’re doing.

It’s since expanded to include 25 bars across the country, and Leeds will be their eighth venture outside of London.

Operations director Andrew Stones said: “Leeds is a great city to be opening in because it already has such a great cocktail bar scene which we really hope to contribute to. 18 jobs have been created for the new bar and we have been training the team in London over the past two months.

“We cannot wait to get them back to Leeds to serve our new guests.”

A cocktail bar where you don’t have to queue for hours on end sounds almost too good to be true and will surely get people popping down to test out the theory.

It seems the perfect addition to the square to get more people paying it the attention it deserves.

With Union J set to perform at the square alongside fellow TV talent show stars Leeds-born Luke Friend, Only the Young, Bars and Melody and Sophie May Williams on July 26 and punk legends Buzzcocks headlining the Leeds Mod, Ska and Punk Festival on July 25, there’s certainly a lot of exciting things in store for the square this summer.

And with Bar 314 in Progress just over the road and Epernay next door, this side of town could soon become a new drinking destination.

Let’s just hope the weather doesn’t let us down.

Be at One is hosting four nights of pre-opening parties before the official opening on June 9.

Visit www.beatone.co.uk/cocktail-bar/leeds for more information.

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