We don’t need to shop, we have to be enticed to ‘want’ to shop – and that means understanding the changing needs of today’s shopper, including hours of opening and much improved customer service.
His First World solution was to call his work iPhone using his personal iPhone – and after much frantic scampering and rummaging under upholstery the phone was eventually located, and we could all go back to our beers.
Perhaps there is something appropriate about a communication breakdown on the site of the former Wellington Street sorting office, once a hub of Yorkshire’s mail. That ugly concrete tower was cleared some years ago as this whole quarter of the city centre was blitzed by regeneration.
Leeds Postal Service is one of a number of bars and restaurants which have popped up in this prosperous space, servicing the needs of those drawn here to live and work. My visit came towards the end of a pub crawl on the eve of a colleague’s wedding. Having endured a chastening experience during his official stag weekend in Latvia, he insisted this should be a rather gentler affair, so I led a tour of some lesser-known pubs nearby – The George, Fox and Newt, Highland, West Riding – before we took a detour into this astonishing development.
Leeds Postal Service is directly outside the sloping steel and glass which fronts the West Point Apartments, though the bar itself is drawn more from the nuclear bunker school of internal architecture. Its main ‘Sorting Office’ space features giant factory striplights, scaffolding railings, discarded beer barrels, high steel tables and simple wooden stools. A giant post office clock hangs above the bar, a meandering trail of ivy is a small concession to nature, while beer cans have been repurposed into a colourful art installation.
Only as you venture further inside, to its ‘Postmaster General’ space do you reach any concessions to comfort, with some lovely low sofas, and TVs primed for drinkers to play video games. On close inspection, the plain concrete walls here have been embossed with an artistic floral pattern to soften its brutalist effect.
There are no cask ales; instead taps on the back bar dispense a range of eight keg ales and lagers, plenty of them cosying up close to the £5-a-pint mark. Thankfully it’s not my round, and I’m soon presented with a curvy stem stem pint glass, brimful of the rick silky Barista Stout from Theakston’s in North Yorkshire, a splendidly luxurious way to round off an evening on the town.
Westpoint, Wellington St, Leeds LS1 4JY
Type: Modern craft alehouse
Opening Hours: Noon-11pm Tues-Fri, 4-11pm Sat, closed Sun/Mon
Beers: Changing choice of craft keg ales from £4.80 a pint. Lagers start with Amstel (£3-pint). Good choice of canned and bottled beers.
Wines: Decent selection available from £4-glass and £15-bottle
Food: Tubs of Northern Bloc ice-cream!
Disabled: Straightforward access and ground floor toilets
Children: Not especially suitable
Entertainment: Video gaming plus occasional special events
Functions: Postmaster’s Office is available for private hire
Parking: City centre car parks nearby
Phone: 0113 430 0232