Leeds: Underbelly of arcade is set for Pit bar revival

The Pit which is to open in the basement of the Grand Arcade.
The Pit which is to open in the basement of the Grand Arcade.
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The basement of a shopping hub which has been in decline is being given an £800,000 face-lift to become Leeds’s newest bar.

The 3,500 sq ft unit, which is currently being transformed into an urban bar to be accessed from Merrion Street, will open to the public as The Pit on August 31.

After laying empty for over two years, it will soon comprise of a double-height main area visible from the street with an open kitchen, white function room and dedicated table tennis room called The Den.

The venture, which will employ 35 staff, will be operator Arc Inspirations’s eighth bar in Leeds and its first in the city centre.

Martin Wolstencroft, managing director of Arc Inspirations, told the YEP: “With the arena coming to this side of the city and also the Victoria Gate development, this is definitely a growing area.

“It’s very popular with young professionals that want a quality product and a better night out that’s different and independent.”

The stripped-out basement still bares some of the mixed level features from its time as part of the Grand Arcade, which was initially built in 1897. In more recent times it has housed Rio’s nightclub, was the basement to Heaven and Hell and before that was known as Ricky’s.

Barbecue-style American food will be the focus of the food menu, with steak, burgers, ribs and even lobster likely to feature, while cocktails, wines and beers including the venue’s own Pit Canary brew will be on the drink menu.

Mr Wolstencroft added: “We’re not about followers, we enjoy our independence and so do our customers.

“They want the best but also we want our customers to expect the unexpected.”

Established in 1999, Arc Inspirations opened its first bar, The Arc, in Headingley, in 2000.

Visit: www.arcinspirations.com/the_pit or follow @ThePitLeeds on Twitter for further information.

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