Leeds bars team up to host bank holiday street festival

Merrion Street, Leeds.
Merrion Street, Leeds.
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YOU’VE been working hard all week and deserve some well-earned time off. And if you haven’t been beavering away, who cares? It’s the bank holiday!

And if you haven’t been beavering away, who cares? It’s the bank holiday!

That means no work for THREE days – and no Sunday night blues either.

However, that also means we need to find something decent to fill our time with or risk returning to work on Tuesday with nothing better to brag about than binging on an entire season of Breaking Bad (that you’ve already seen) and sinking into the sofa for hours on end.

Luckily for us, the bars of Merrion Street have got it covered.

The Merrion Street Festival on Sunday, May 3, will involve a full-blown street party.

That means live music, comedy, sunshine (hopefully), street food and drinks from local venues served from midday right through until midnight.

Table service will be available on the street, so once you bag a chair there’s really no reason for you to leave.

It’s family-friendly too, so there’s no need to leave the kids at home.

The free event makes the most of the pedestrianised area at the bottom of Merrion Street and has seen old favourites like Verve, Reform and Mojo team up with relative newbies The Pit, Manahatta and Bar Soba for the occasion.

And let’s face it, the whole area has quite a bit to celebrate at the moment, having experienced something of a meteoric rise in the last couple of years.

Not so long ago it was just a busy street that was used as a rat run, with just a handful of bars and clubs.

Now the city’s ‘Northern Quarter’ has come into its own and is home to Belgrave Music Hall, Brotherhood, Blind Tyger and a pop-up bar, not to mention the huge Crispin Lofts development.

And there’s more still in the pipeline, with BrewDog set to open nearby on the corner of North Street and New York Road.

The pedestrianisation of the street has opened up a plethora of possibilities and there’s no doubt this area has secured itself as one of the places to be in Leeds for a good night out, acting as a good rival for places like Call Lane.

There’s also a real sense that the bars around there are all in it together too, and it’s great to see local venues supporting each other in this way rather than butting heads.

It’s all too easy for the industry to fight over footfall and custom these days, and by using their initiative and working together for such an event, hopefully it will help them all gain some more exposure and fans.

With this being the street’s first summer event, there’s possibly more scope to expand the festival to involve other bars, and perhaps even other streets.

The new additions could also add something different into the mix.

It’s sure to be exciting not only to be a part of the event this year but to also see the festival continue to grow.

So make sure you ditch the sofa this weekend and back away from the box sets because the city’s bars are here to save your bank holiday.

l For more cool ways to spend your bank holiday weekend, make sure you check out today’s ‘Top 5’ picks in the City Buzz section, over on page 33.