Bars: The Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds
Leeds’s burgeoning northern quarter has a new addition to its growing list of hip hangouts.
But, while bars such as Sandinista, Santiago’s and Mojo have all held their own at the top end of town for years, the Belgrave Music Hall offers something altogether more grandiose.
A chic neon sign beckons you into the unusually spacious and comfortable downstairs bar which, along with its roof garden, sits considerably more than most other live music venues in the city.
The bar has its quirks – from a fish and chip counter to a smattering of UK garage numbers from the DJ – but manages to retain a comfortable atmosphere and not alienate its guests.
The beauty of the Belgrave, however, lies in its live offerings. Despite being new on the bar scene, founders Simon Stevens and Ash Kollakowski have been putting on gigs for years, and have clearly flexed their contacts to have an impressive array of live acts.
The upstairs music hall offers excellent pressure-cooker acoustics and upcoming listings include bands such as Future of the Left, Spectrals, Múm and even American hardcore legends Biohazard. Leeds band Blacklisters’ set on the opening weekend suggested the venue should be well suited to hard rock acts looking for an intimate live environment.
Kollakowski said: “Leeds already has some great venues but we think there’s room for something new alongside places like the Brudenell Social Club and the Cockpit. When looking at what makes an amazing venue today, people’s expectations have definitely changed. It’s not just about the music any more. From the artwork to the way bar staff interact with customers, every element of the venue is really important to us.”