The Reliance: Leeds bar and 'city's first gastropub' announces it has been sold to new owners after 22 years

A Leeds bar and pioneer of the city’s gastropub scene that later became known for its charcuterie is under new ownership.
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The Reliance on North Street was opened in 2000 by Joss Ainsworth and John Gyngell, and inspired by the 1990s gastropub boom Ainsworth witnessed while living in London. Gyngell later founded the North Bar chain of craft ale pubs in Leeds.

Mr Ainsworth, who ran the venue with partner Becs Winlow and later set up Chapel Allerton wine shop Wayward, confirmed on social media that the business is being taken over by new owners.

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The post read: “It is with very mixed emotions that we, Joss and Becs, announce that our combined 40-year long shift at The Reliance has come to an end.

The RelianceThe Reliance
The Reliance

“It’s been a privilege to work with and serve so many wonderful people over the years but the time has come to make space for other things in our lives. Thank you all for all your support.

“And so a new chapter begins for The Reliance with new owners who you will hear from very shortly with their plans for the future. We’re not going far, you’ll still find us up Wayward Wines so see you around!”

The Reliance was a cafe in a yet-to-gentrify area of the city centre when Ainsworth and Gyngell took it on, and many food writers consider it Leeds’ first gastropub. In 2012, they opened up more space when they got planning permission to remove a partition wall in the dining room. They later learned to smoke and cure meats, and The Reliance developed a reputation for the quality of its charcuterie and cheese selection.