Leeds bar The Maven taken over by owners of The Mean Eyed Cat and Verve

A popular city centre cocktail bar has been taken over by an independent Leeds-based firm.

By Emma Ryan
Monday, 12th August 2019, 1:25 pm
The Maven.
The Maven.

Husband and wife team Phil and Mel Harrison already operate six bars – The Mean Eyed Cat and Verve, both on Merrion Street, and Call Lane Social, Tiki Hideaway, Brooklyn, and Cuckoo all on Call Lane and now they have added The Maven to their books.

The previous owner, Nino Lopes, has returned to his home in Portugal and entrusted the bar to Escapism Bar Group.

They say they will continue to operate The Maven, just off Call Lane, as a speakeasy and chilled out cocktail bar with its 1920s prohibition theme.

Mr Harrison said: "The Maven is the original speakeasy cocktail bar and is legendary on the Leeds bar scene. Nino Lopes is a good friend of ours; he poured a lot of love into The Maven to get it where it is. When he had to return to his home in Portugal, we were honoured that he entrusted us to continue his good work.

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    “We will continue to operate The Maven as a speakeasy with the offer of classic drinks, skilled bartenders, and a chilled vibe and we will bring our 15 years’ experience and expertise to help further it.”

    The Maven opened in 2011 and since then has expanded to have meeting rooms and event spaces for private bookings as well as masterclasses and tasting events. An upstairs dining room doing food has also opened.

    Mr Harrison added: "We like to do things differently – each of our bars has a different approach to hospitality. Our very first bar was The Mean Eyed Cat [formerly Reform] which we opened in 2004 - it’s very much a deep south dive bar where you can expect a shrine to Johnny Cash and Boiler Makers; Brooklyn is quite different in that its music focus is Hip Hop and R&B; Verve offers free live music and comedy, and three of our bars offer free pizza with drinks at key times.

    “We believe going to a bar should be all about escapism and enjoyment; to feel welcome, looked after and at ease whilst having a great time which is why we believe The Maven is a great addition to the Escapism family.”