IF YOU’RE a regular City Buzz reader, you’ll know there’s a new bar or restaurant opening in the city centre pretty much every week.
But there’s one particular venue we’ve been waiting to see.
And after a year in the making, the wait is finally over.
Headrow House opens today, and is launching by hosting the Beacons Metro festival, which starts this weekend and runs for three months, showcasing over 100 acts.
The former textile mill at Bramleys Yard, just off The Headrow, has had a multi-million pound investment.
The huge 11,000 sq ft site now includes a cocktail bar, restaurant, events space and more, set across four floors.
The site, which was also previously home to Leeds’ originally penny arcade and notorious bar Big Lil’s, was derelict for 10 years.
But it’s now set to be one of the biggest venues to open in Leeds city centre in recent years.
Belgrave Music Hall operators Ash Kollakowski and Simon Stevens have teamed up with street food operator Ben Davy for the project.
Simon said: “What started as an attempt to find a temporary home for Beacons Festival in 2015 quickly turned into a challenging, year-long restoration project.
“The site is huge and so full of history. The scale was initially a bit daunting but we’ve been able to call on the talents of some of great Leeds companies.
“I think a lot of people will be surprised that a building of this size was left neglected for so long. It’s a real hidden gem and we can’t wait to get the doors open.”
City Buzz was one of the first to get a look around the site yesterday, and after waiting for so long to see it, we were not disappointed.
The ground floor includes restaurant The Ox Club, which serves up steak, fish and more, and opens later this month.
It’s also where you’ll find the beer hall, with four huge copper beer tanks filled with unpasteurised Pilsner Urquell.
The tanks store the beer, which is imported ‘live’ from the Czech Republic, which means it has to reach the bar in 24 hours to remain as fresh as possible.
Headrow House is the first bar to do this in the north of England, with Manchester soon to follow in its footsteps.
Ben said: “The plans for the beer hall are really unique with unpasteurised beer stored in enormous copper tanks [...] and the guys have put together an incredible range of cask and keg beers.”
The German-inspired beer hall is decorated in a minimalist style, with wooden benches, plants , a feature wall of chopped wood and a bar at the end.
Upstairs on the first floor is the events space – where most of the Beacons Metro events will be held – as well as an outside space and another bar.
On the second floor, you’ll find an outdoor bar and a food shack serving up hog roasts and German sausages.
On top of that, there’s a the indoor cocktail bar called Redondo Beach, and the third floor has another roof terrace offering incredible views over the city centre.
This is an impressive new addition to this part of the city, and is sure to get plenty of footfall when the nearby Victoria Gate opens next year.
For more information, follow @headrowhouse on Twitter.