IF you haven’t heard about the Northern Quarter’s regeneration, where have you been?
It’s pretty much all people are talking about when it comes to the city centre these days.
The area is already home to some much-loved stalwarts such as award-winning vegetarian curry restaurant Hansa’s and popular bar The Reliance.
With Merrion Street churning out a seemingly endless supply of new bars and restaurants, these North Street venues have seen a lot of change in recent years – and they’re about to see more.
Plans are underway to revamp a former Christian centre just a stone’s throw away.
The old Divine Exchange Christian Centre has been taken over by four Leeds entrepreneurs, who hope to turn it into a pub as well as a relaxed dining area and arts space.
Taking its name from local streets, it will be called The Brunswick, and will open in the middle of September, creating around 15 jobs.
Nick Lofts is one of the team taking on the project.
It will certainly keep him busy, as he also co-owns Tall Boys Beer Market, which opened at the Thornton’s Arcade in Leeds city centre last year.
Speaking exclusively to City Buzz, he said revamping a former place of worship into a pub is a big project but they are up for a challenge.
“There’s nothing to really worship in there any more – the building is 140 years old, ” he explains.
“It’s quite snug but it has definitely got potential.
“We’re stripping it out completely and starting again.
“We all really believe in it and can’t wait for it to open.”
The Brunswick’s ground floor will be a bar area, with the first floor being used as a relaxed dining area.
The second floor will be an arts space, with work by independent groups such as ‘I Am Collective’ and the Village bookshop being showcased on two-monthly rotations.
The team behind the venue have a wealth of experience in the industry, from The Brudenell and Belgrave Music Hall to Nation of Shopkeepers and Northern Monk.
Speaking about scooping a site in such a sought-after location, Nick added: “The focus has really turned to this end of town and it’s just getting busier and busier.
“We’re hoping to tap into that but with a more grown-up and relaxed atmosphere, focussing on really nice food and drink rather than a big party on the weekend.
“We think it will be a nice side of town to be in, with neighbours like The Reliance.
“We really like it as an area and when you look out of the window, there are great views of town and the Belgrave area on one side, and the more industrial side towards Mabgate on the other.”
It sounds like a pretty foolproof plan, as neighbours BrewDog are set to open their new site at Crispin Lofts (pictured) very soon, which is sure to bring even more people to this side of the city centre.
With the arrival of pool bar Slate on Merrion Street and nearby pop-up bar Rum Shack, the area isn’t showing any signs of slowing down.
There are still a few units available, so we very much doubt The Brunswick will be the last to join the city’s thriving Northern Quarter.