MUSIC fans in Leeds have been somewhat deprived of cool places to socialise recently.
With The Cockpit gone, Fab Café closed and Carpe Diem shutting for good last month, the city centre is rapidly running out of alternative live music venues.
But that could be about to change.
Plans are underway to create a new Guitar Café on Call Lane, complete with a guitar shop, guitar-themed café and bar area and a stage.
The idea is to give local musicians a place to perform and socialise with other like-minded music fans.
Northern Guitars is behind the concept, and hopes to adapt their shop on Call Lane for the project.
The shop has been there for more than 25 years and has proved hugely popular – gaining fans as far away as New Zealand.
Speaking to City Buzz, owner Dave Baguley said: “This would be a unique type of venue.
“We aim to be a café/bar/guitar shop run by musicians for musicians, with good food and craft beers in a relaxed atmosphere – not for the party crowd.”
There are plans for a small food menu, as well as coffee, cakes and craft beer.
Dave believes there’s very much a market for it, and told City Buzz that when bands come to the city to perform, many of them make time to stop by the shop.
“Guitars and bands are a lifestyle,” he says.
“We have been in the music business all our working lives in various ways.
“With the new arena and the O2, we get the touring bands calling in looking at guitars and this would be a cool, relaxing place for them to hang out.”
Members of Status Quo have visited Northern Guitars in the past, and the business has sold over 10,000 guitars since it launched.
He added: “Over the years many great bands have formed from meetings in cafés and bars.
“We have done our market research, spoken with our customers, local promoters, studios and other people in the music business who all think it’s a unique idea.”
Explaining why he feels a change is needed, he said: “We have been selling guitars successfully on Call Lane for 25 years as an independent retailer and we want to move with the times.
“A café/bar would complement the guitar shop and the other music bars on the lane.”
He added: “I could go on for hours about what we want to do. Guitars and music are our passion.”
The shop has seen a lot of change over the 25 years.
When it opened, most of the businesses on the street were retailers – and three of them were guitar shops.
However, it’s stood the test of time and managed to stick it out through the recession.
But it now finds itself surrounded by bars and clubs and is the only shop still standing.
Being a daytime retailer surrounded by what is now predominantly a night-time trade must be tough, and the fact they have survived amongst all this change speaks volumes.
It’s good to see independent businesses take some initiative and expand their offering. We wish them the best of luck.
Visit northernguitars.co.uk or search for ‘Northern Guitars’ on Facebook for more.