Look up Leeds: Bar makes its stamp in prime city spot

GRAND: Banyan, in City Square, is one of the most ornate bars in Leeds.
GRAND: Banyan, in City Square, is one of the most ornate bars in Leeds.
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This is possibly one of the grandest settings in Leeds for a couple of bars and restaurants.

Next time you pop into Banyan for a post-work wine or Friday fizz take a minute to look at the spectacular, ornate decoration.

It used to be the Leeds General Post Office and opened in May 1896. There are just shy of 100 windows on the grade II listed building frontage, all in a symmetrical pattern. Stone balustrade balconies span the second floor and two figures by William Silver Frith representing ‘Reading’ and ‘Writing’ are over one entrance, while ‘Reading’ and ‘Philosophy’ are over the other. Four figures above have been said to represent Time, Air, Light and Earth while an owl perches perfectly in the centre of the roof.

Other hand-carved detail shows crowns, letters V and R and scrolls.

A central clocktower dominates the slate and lead roof.

The closure of the Post Office was announced in 2003 and Banyan opened in 2016.