A FEW years ago, if you’d asked a Loiner where the best place to go for a night out was, their answer would have probably been Call Lane.
Packed to the rafters with cocktail bars, indie bars and dancing-on-the-bar bars, it offers punters everything they could possibly want from a messy night on the tiles.
But you may have noticed that the shift of focus in the city centre has gone further north.
Many people are now choosing to venture to Merrion Street with its ever-expanding list of cool restaurants and quirky drinking dens like The Brotherhood, Belgrave Music Hall and Shuffledog.
And with new bars like The Alchemist opening on Greek Street soon, there’s more competition for the nightlife traffic than ever before.
When Elbow Room on Call Lane closed after 15 years, and nearby Baracoa Luxe Bar shut, it felt like it could be the final nail in the coffin.
But thankfully the street isn’t going down without a fight.
As City Buzz previously revealed, Latin American rum bar and cantina Revolución de Cuba is moving into the old Baracoa site, giving it a huge make-over worth around £1.5m – and City Buzz can exclusively reveal the launch date is set for mid-October.
We can also let you in on the fact it will be one of the biggest new bars and restaurants in Leeds, with the venue split over two floors with a ‘showpiece’ main bar, two upstairs bars, a stage for live music and room for up to 700 customers.
The company, which has sites in Manchester, Sheffield and across the country, serve up South American-inspired food and cocktails, with some Latin music to boot.
Brand manager Clint Ghent told City Buzz it will have a ‘Miami-meets-Cuba’ feel.
He added: “Call Lane is a great area to be a part of and with this site, it feels like we’re joining up a few different areas of the city.
“We’re within touching distance of the shopping area, the corporate market is on our doorstep, it’s near a residential area and the train station is just a minute’s walk away.
“We hope our arrival will help inject more life into this side of town, as we feel it has been a bit neglected.”
But besides the Cuban revolution, rumours are spreading that Baracoa Luxe Bar is returning to another nearby Call Lane venue.
The company sold their huge site on the corner of Call Lane and Lower Briggate to Revolución in January after four years in business, and are still keen to stay in the area.
Speaking to City Buzz, Baracoa owner Symon Dean said: “We believe Call Lane is the heart of the city. All the bars are improving themselves and upping their game.
“It has a variation of everything, from independent bars to multi-venue bars.
“The people of Leeds go to that area, it’s all about Leeds and that is our main clientele at Baracoa.”
He added: “We love the city and the support we’ve had has been great. That’s why we want to come back to Call Lane.”
Speaking about his plans for the new bar, he simply said: “It will blow your mind.”
So it sounds like Baracoa could snap up a site near their old haunt – just watch this space.
Now that these two names are heading to Call Lane, we hope it will only be a matter of time before Elbow Room gets picked up too.