New Leeds bar is awash with new ideas

SOAP FACTORY: The new look lounge bar in the Novotel on Whitehall Road.
SOAP FACTORY: The new look lounge bar in the Novotel on Whitehall Road.
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The newest addition to the Leeds nightlife offering opens tonight in the heart of the upcoming business district of the city centre.

Chain hotel, Novotel, has totally transformed its lounge bar after capitalising on the industrial heritage of the area.

The previous stark and minimalist space has been transformed into The Soap Factory which has been decked out with leather chairs, mood lighting, a glowing fire and wooden floors.

On the walls are soap bubbles in a nod to local entrepreneur Joseph Watson of Watson & Sons and his Whitehall Soap Works. It was located at 9 Whitehall Road and was once one of the largest soap manufacturers in England.

Even the menus take inspiration from that era.

A range of ‘Factory Burgers’ will hit the spot, including the ‘Soapy Joe’ — a double whammy of beef patties, smoked bacon, Yorkshire cheddar, caramelised onions, a fried egg and salad.

Other nibbles include Pickin’ Lickin’ Chicken Wings, Tempura Prawns or Pulled Ham Bonbons.

The Soap Factory will appeal to workers heading for post office drinks as it is near to the station and office developments in the area.

Beers, wines and cocktails feature on the drinks menu and a Soap Factory signature cocktail will be revealed at tonight’s launch.

Ludovic & Baz, The Soap Factory Managers, said: “The Soap Factory has a historic connection to Leeds and the new venue and menu take inspiration from this. We are proud to celebrate Soapy Joe’s past through design and an inspired menu. This venue offers something truly unique and we cannot wait to welcome local residents and travellers alike. We’re sure The Soap Factory will become a key part of Leeds’ food and drink scene.’