IT SEEMS like a new bar is opening every five minutes on Merrion Street.
The destination has become the go-to nightspot in Leeds, meaning its rival Call Lane has had to up its game to keep up with the competition.
It’s been a tough ask and some venues haven’t been able to weather the storm and sadly we’ve seen a couple of old favourites shut up shop.
But others are still determined to see Call Lane come out on top in the city’s battle of the bars.
That’s great news for us punters as it means we get to see great new venues like Revolucion de Cuba setting their stall out and investing in prime spots.
And this weekend, we are even going to see a comeback kid re-enter the fray when Baracoa Luxe Bar makes its big return.
The company previously had a prime spot on the corner of Call Lane and Lower Briggate, but made the tough choice to sell up to Revolucion de Cuba in January last year.
However it wasn’t long before they snapped up a new site – just a few doors down at the old Rock bar.
After a year of refurbishment work, the new Baracoa is finally opening to the public.
The bar has been completely ripped out and replaced with wooden floors and luxury fabrics and furnishings.
There are even plans to open a rooftop bar at the venue this summer.
Brothers Jimmy and Symon Dean are behind the business and told City Buzz that despite viewing several other spots across the city centre, they were glad to be returning to the street.
Symon added: “We cannot wait to see all of our loyal customers again, who enjoyed great nights with us at the previous venue.
“We are incredibly happy with how the venue looks and we are so looking forward to getting our doors open now.
“The rooftop will add another edge to our bar.
“We are opening a year exactly since we closed our former site and we are really looking forward to the opening weekend, it is going to be really special.
“I hope more and more people will be choosing to party with us!”
Baracoa’s return isn’t the only exciting news for the street.
As previously revealed in City Buzz, a new guitar café is in the pipeline.
The plan to expand the Northern Guitars shop got the green light from Leeds City Council licensing bosses back in December and will include a bar, café and stage area for small gigs.
It is expected to open later this year.
All of these new arrivals are going to boost the Call Lane area even further.
The only question mark left for the street now is what will happen to the neighbouring Elbow Room site.
Since closing its doors back in April last year, it has been left empty.
It would be great to see a big-money revamp similar to Revolucion de Cuba, which spent a whopping £1.5m on refurbishing their Call Lane site.
But for now, we will just have to wait and see.