JLife presents its definitive guide to the best of Chapel Allerton, with a few old favourites tucked alongside a host of fresh faces.
Featured in The Sunday Times’ Top 10 Best Places to Live guide for 2018, the tiny suburb of Chapel Allerton punches well above its weight. The period housing, transport links and community facilities have made it popular with young professionals and families alike. Its main thoroughfare is home to vegan cafes, yoga studios and quirky bars buzzing with a diverse after-work crowd. Its annual arts festival brings acts from across the UK while Seven Arts draws arts lovers from miles around with a varied line-up of live jazz, comedy nights and arthouse screenings.
A beard-trimming parlour, cheese shop and seemingly free-flowing craft beer are just a few of the attractions that have earned the suburb its reputation as a hipster haunt. With an impressive cultural offering and an ever-growing number of independent businesses and eateries, the suburb has become an alluring alternative to the high street names of the city centre.
The original outpost of the legendary North Bar, Further North is well-known for its some might say ‘cosy’ setting. Thankfully it has opened an upstairs seating area, doubling the tiny capacity – but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in big brews.
Chapel Allerton hop-heads can get their fix from a wide selection of pumps pouring the best in independent libations from the north and beyond, with a fridge stocked with enough rare finds to surprise the most discerning aficionado. Only a mile up the road from its brewery, you can bank on its core range hitting the taps super fresh, alongside local usual-suspects Northern Monk, Magic Rock and Kirkstall Brewery.
One for the cool cats, cafe bar and record store Alley Cats arrived on the vibrant Harrogate Road bar scene last year and proved an instant hit. A pop-culture paradise, its walls are decked with guitars, band t-shirts and vintage film posters. Grab a craft beer while you take on your mates on its selection of retro games consoles or flick through its crates of second-hand vinyl which you can try before you buy on its resident turntable.
No-nonsense American comfort food is served on reclaimed wood tables taking an unapologetic stand against the recent healthy eating trend with monsters like the Godzilla, a steak sandwich topped with two different kinds of cheese and homemade JD’s BBQ sauce.
Sukhothai’s founder, Ban Kaewkraikhot spent her youth cooking her mother’s recipes in the street markets of Bangkok. Bringing her culinary expertise to Yorkshire she prides herself on flying in only the freshest Thai ingredients, refusing to sacrifice quality and authenticity to keep her dishes true to her roots.
You’re immersed in eastern opulence from the moment you step through the door of this Chapel Allerton institution, with incredibly-attentive waiting staff dedicated to making every dining experience truly special. Ban puts her own unmistakable stamp on classic Thai cuisine for a unique culinary experience that has earned her national renown, regularly featuring in The Good Food Guide and The Sunday Times Top 10 Thai restaurants in the UK.
Off the back of the closure of Buca di Pizza last summer, Black Market has sprung up to plug the gap with its modern British cuisine. The menu is pared back to a small number of bespoke dishes revolving with the seasons and despite its reputation for fine dining, is accessible and unpretentious. Freshly baked bread slathered with homemade herb or duck liver butter comes up to start while for mains, expect hearty dishes of winter game, such as wood pigeon and guinea fowl cooked in sauces with real heft. Refined dining in a laid back atmosphere, it is easy to see why its covers have remained full since its opening.
The culmination of 10 years of effort, Seven Arts was established in 2007 by a group of local residents seeking to improve community spirit through involvement in the arts. Now in its 12th year, the independent, entirely self-funded arts space provides a 100-seat venue for residents of Chapel Allerton and beyond to enjoy film, theatre, dance, music, words and comedy. As well as showcasing the best local and regional talent, it attracts innovative work from further afield with regular favourite nights such as Kill for a Seat Comedy and JazzLeeds bringing musicians and comedians from all over.
Accessible creative art space, Inkwell Arts seeks to enrich lives through creativity and promoting positive mental health. Challenging the stigma of mental health and celebrating the diversity of its participants, it works with adults experiencing mental health difficulties to improve confidence and wellbeing through its programme of creative activities. At the site of the former Shoulder of Mutton pub on Potternewton Lane, it provides a creative hub for the community with a weekend cafe, community events and social evenings. As well as its various classes, events include exhibition previews, acoustic evenings, jazz afternoons and film nights offering a safe space to socialise and integrate.
George and Joseph
Leeds’ only specialist cheesemongers, George and Joseph offer the finest in Yorkshire cheese, alongside a fastidiously-curated selection of the best from the UK and further afield. Pushing dairy delights since 2013, it has become somewhat of a local institution, voted Best Speciality Cheese Retailer at the 2018 Great British Cheese Awards. It hosts regular tasting events and can also host corporate and social tasting sessions. It also offers bespoke gift hampers, celebration cakes and all the necessary cheese accompaniments including chutneys, biscuits, and fine wines.
Self-described “independent lifestyle design store” Chirpy stocks unique home accessories and goods for all ages with personality, character and style. If you’re bored of the high-street, you can find something that little bit different for an impressive gift or addition to your home that supports independent local craftspeople. It also hosts craft workshops and creative parties in its cool upstairs space, led by the artists whose goodies can be found in-store.
From the founders of city centre gastro-pub The Reliance, Wayward is a bottle shop specialising in natural, organic wines, hand-picked from independent labels. It’s only small, but they pack a lot on to the floor-to-ceiling shelves where you’ll struggle to spot any of its collection in the supermarket. Enjoy an after-work glass while you browse for a bottle to take home. It even serves cheese from George and Joseph to go with it – even more reason to pop in for a quick one!
NEW FOR 2019
Nash’s Traditional Fisheries and Beer Hall
The former Nash’s on Harrogate Road in Chapel Allerton shut in August after the family decided to sell the business, leaving the suburb without a fish and chip shop for the first time since the 1960s. The much-loved chippy has now been taken over by new owners who have relaunched it as a fish restaurant and beer hall while staying true to the chip shop’s heritage.
Set over three floors over on Stainbeck Corner, The Woods bar restaurant offers authentic wood fired pizza, coffee and craft beer. Almost a year since it closed its doors due to a fire, it recently re-opened with a new rooftop terrace bar and garden and hopes to be a day and night time destination with superfast broadband for hot deskers and a new events space with plans for talks from local artists, entrepreneurs and motivational speakers and a ‘Meet Up in the Woods’ networking group.
The Fruit Stall has moved across Harrogate Road to make way for traditional ‘salumeria’ Deliziosa, selling Italian treats including cured meats and cheeses alongside a trattoria-style lunchtime offering of fresh sandwiches, coffee and pasta dishes. Owner Tony Salaris says the deli which will boast outside seating, a conservatory and an art gallery will have an “independent and homely” feel, undoubtedly improved by his mum flying over from Italy to head the kitchen.
Independent family-run art retailer, Smart Gallery is set for a move to Chapel Allerton in an effort to be closer to its many North Leeds customers. Run by Shelley Cohen, the gallery offers a wide array of original and limited edition art, sculpture and design ware. Upping sticks from its previous location in Redbrick Mill in Batley, it is due to take up the site of the former Angels gift shop on Harrogate Road. Watch this space!
The True Briton
The Stainbeck Road boozer is set for a hip makeover as the people behind Belgrave Music Hall, Headrow House and Water Lane Boathouse have had their recent offer accepted. The new venue, yet to settle on a name, has two bars and a roof terrace and will host live music, comedy, art and film nights. Despite looking to smooth the grittier edge worn by its city centre counterparts, the venue will adopt the fast food counters that have proved a hit in Belgrave Music Hall alongside a diverse craft beer selection.
Chapel Allerton Arts Festival
August bank holiday in Chapel Allerton can only mean one thing. Regent Street closes off for a weekend of live music, family activities, street food and craft stalls. Run entirely by local volunteers, the Chapel Allerton Arts Festival works in partnership with local arts venues and businesses to host an eclectic programme of events over the course of a week, from Ukelele workshops to meet the author events.
Last year, Arts Council grants spread the fun throughout the whole of Chapel Allerton with new fringe mini-festivals running alongside the main event. In addition to its annual short film festival there was a poetry festival at Seven Arts, an arts trail in Gledhow Valley Woods, a village jazz festival, and a folk roots fringe. Works of art of a different kind were on display at the festival’s third annual Classic Car Show as blasts from the past including a Ford Mustang, Jensen Interceptor and a Morris Oxford Bullnose were parked in the Well Lane car park for auto enthusiasts to drool over.
Chapel Allerton Beer Festival
Chapel Allerton’s finest drinking establishments are set to join forces this summer to celebrate all things beery. Although dates and details are yet to be confirmed, craft beer geeks can expect tap takeovers, rare bottle lists, street food and ‘meet the brewer’ events across a host of local venues.
Last June, Further North, The Pit, The Woods, Seven Arts and Alley Cats all took part in the week’s festivities. Highlights included a Track Brewing Co. tap takeover at Further North, where exclusive hop-forward Manchester brews were paired with middle-eastern delights from up-and-coming street food vendor MorMor. Magic Rock took over the taps at The Pit while the masterminds behind Ridgeside Brewery held a ‘meet the brewer’ session at Seven Arts.