The Golden Beam review: Here's what I thought of my drinks at the £3.2m new Headingley Wetherspoons
When I moved to Leeds as a student six years ago, there was already excited chatter that the abandoned school building on Otley Road would be turned into a Wetherspoons.
Perfectly positioned between the student heartlands of Hyde Park and Headingley, it would have been an ideal place for pre-drinks, hair of the dog or a Sunday roast to nurse my frequent hangovers.
Alas, the Spoons never materialised while I was a student, but after a £3.2million restoration the Golden Beam finally opened its doors last month.
I visited with an old uni friend for a catch-up after work and we had a quick nosey around the building before taking a seat in the wraparound outdoor seating area.
I’ve driven past the derelict former Elinor Lupton Centre for years, and even seen inside on an episode of Police Interceptors when it was ransacked by thieves, so the restored Grade-II building took my breath away. It’s huge.
The pub has retained the original auditorium with its impressive high ceilings and it’s littered with historical pictures and artwork, which we took great interest in (much to the amusement of a group of lads downing their pints).
The church organ facade has been repurposed as a feature fireplace and even the toilets are snazzy, with chaise longues and a big gold mirror - which I can imagine will be used for many a drunken selfie.
There is ample seating and a surprising mix of people - students, yes, but also older couples and there was a pleasant atmosphere. It was a weeknight and not too busy, but the long queues to get in on the opening weekend prove there were many others waiting for this place to open.
Once seated in the sunshine, we ordered using the Wetherspoons app. The menu doesn’t need much explaining - there’s every drink you could want, and it’s cheap. Very cheap.
We went for a couple of Kopparberg ciders (one alcohol-free) and they arrived at record speed. There are more scenic locations to enjoy a drink al fresco; the traffic on Otley Road was noisy and there isn’t the personable service you can expect from the city’s independent bars and pubs. But for a total bill of £4.64, we had no real complaints.
While I love exploring the many quirky bars in Leeds or luxury rooftop terraces, sometimes life (and my bank balance) calls for a Spoons. And this is a grand old Spoons indeed.
Address: The Golden Beam, Headingley Lane, Headingley, LS6 1BL
Telephone: 0113 278 8521
Opening hours: Sun-Mon, 8am-10.30pm, Fri-Sat, 8am-11pm