Excitement as Government confirms Leeds beer garden reopenings can go ahead for Merrion Street, Chophaus and Chow Down

Hospitality owners in Leeds have expressed their relief after Boris Johnson confirmed that restaurant and pub beer gardens can reopen as planned.

Wednesday, 7th April 2021, 6:00 am

The Prime Minister confirmed yesterday that shops, hairdressers and pub beer gardens will reopen from Monday, April 12 in England.

Businesses across the city have been preparing for the reopening since the roadmap guideline was announced in February.

Many have spent several months optimising their outdoor spaces, creating more room for customers.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Bars and clubs on Merrion Street have teamed up to create the city's largest outdoor drinking area. Pictured: Last year's festival.

Chophaus, in Princes Avenue in Oakwood, has completely redesigned its heated outdoor terrace, creating room for up to 80 guests.

It has also introduced a new menu by chef Lee Murdoch, who in known for his work at Crafthouse and Angelica.

Co-owner of Chophaus, Chris Walsh, said: "The primary emotion is relief.

"The worry that was always there in the back in your mind was that the Government would be forced to not let us reopen and we would have just thrown a load of money that wouldn't be able to be used.

The new terrace design at Chophaus.

"We've invested heavily in transforming the outside area with things like new outdoor furniture and now its a super exciting place for people to come and meet.

"There isn't really anything like it in Oakwood and we've already had a really good response from the community and on social media.

"We are getting fully booked at a really quick pace.

"Lee's new menu is a little bit different, more of a Pan Asian twist, which is really exciting.

Chow Down festival in Temple Arches, Leeds.

"We are looking forward to seeing how the crowd takes to it."

He added: "But it is not just about us, it's about the wider industry, the people that supply us whether thats the butchers or the produce suppliers.

"Lots of our buyers are small independent, local businesses that rely on the trade.

"They've had such a such a difficult time as well so the trickle down effects can be immense across the industry.

"It's great news for everyone and hopefully the gears are starting to turn on the full road to recovery."

Read More

Read More
Leeds bars: 10 of the best sun-drenched rooftop terraces in Leeds which are set ...

In preparation for the reopening, seven independent businesses have joined forces to install a 50m canopy over Merrion street.

It will create enough space to seat up to 200 people.

The bars and restaurants involved are Manahatta, MOJO, Verve, Mean Eyed Cat, Roxy Ball Room, Yard & Coop, Zaap Thai and Liv Bar.

Founder of Arc Inspirations, Martin Wolstencroft, said: "We’re delighted Boris has confirmed the opening of our external areas from next Monday.

"This is a fantastic reward for all the hard work and effort the operators of Merrion Street have put in to create a go to place for eating and drinking in Leeds.

"We look forward to welcoming everyone next week and seeing Boris for pint very soon".

Chow Down co-founder Simon Fogal said: "We can’t wait for it to be back. Essentially excitement levels are up for us and the staff.

"Been working hard behind the scenes to get it ready.

"Bookings for us and the rest of hospitality reopening have been reassuring after the pandemic."